NORTH AMERICAN SOCIETY OF PIPE COLLECTORS (NASPC) HISTORY

Phil Bradford and Regis McCafferty founded the Ohio Pipe Collectors in 1993 with the goal of producing a newsletter and an annual show. Regis edited four small newsletters (June, 1993, December, 1993, March, 1994 and June, 1994) and one show, in August, 1994. The club had pretty good support from the local smoke shops.

At the end of 1994, Phil wished to step down as president, with Regis moving up to the position. At that time, Bill Unger volunteered to become secretary/treasurer and newsletter editor. Actually, the newsletter was what he was interested in. Being a freelance editor/writer by profession, he had written quite a few articles for various magazines. However, magazine writing is a lot of work for very little money. Unger decided that, if he were going to put a lot of energy into something without much back in the way of income, he'd forego the income all together and devote himself to something that really interested him. Hence the newsletter.

At that time, the OPC had maybe 20 members or so. Unger realized that, if he were going to put out something that made a difference and was a lot more than the few pages that most clubs send out about meetings and such, he needed to recruit a lot of members to pay for printing and postage. So that was his first goal--get the word out about the organization through every means possible (local shops and the appearance of Steve Masticola's email Digest were a great help). This effort succeeded and continues to succeed.

Then Regis, who worked in computers for American Electric Power, was transferred from Columbus up to Bolivar in northern Ohio, and producing the show fell onto Unger's shoulders. Had he but known, he might have re-thought the whole thing, but he took on the job. His fears proved groundless. We sold out all the tables that first year and have done so or come close ever since. Moving our date up to August was a good move. Our membership has grown, and we've made money on the show each year. We have a comfortable bank account to keep publishing our newsletter and to plan the shows without too much worry about going broke.

NASPC, which developed out of the OPC when our membership in the U.S. and Canada began to grow, is not a club. We do not have meetings. In addition to our annual show, what holds the membership together is receiving our newsletter, The Pipe Collector (TPC), which has also gone through a couple of name changes over the years. As its editor, TPC is what Unger was especially proud of for its contributions to our hobby.

Actually, "newsletter" is pretty much a misnomer for TPC. Each issue is professionally laid out and printed by Jeff Knoll and Eddie Fliess, pipe smokers, NASPC members, and owners of The Graphic Touch, a graphic studio in Ohio. We now publish six issues a year. Over the years, membership contributions to TPC have increased in number and quality. Subject to good taste and relevance to pipes, members continue to submit articles on a wide variety of topics. We do accept ads, but we do not suffer space constraints based on the needs of an advertising department. Thus, we tell writers to take as long as they need to say what they want to say, and we try to publish everything that we receive. Regular and popular contributors include Regis McCafferty, Rich Esserman (known for his encyclopedic knowledge of pipes and collecting), Lou Zisholz (with his tobacco reviews), Marty Pulvers (known for his trenchant, sometimes sarcastic, wit), and others.

We don't shy away from controversy either. The pages of TPC kicked off the brand versus briar and fills in high-grade pipes debates, both of which generated quite a bit of heat before they tapered off. We don't encourage controversy for the sake of controversy, but we do feel that, in addition to its wonderful friendships and fellowship, our hobby does have important issues--upon which reasonable people may disagree--as well. So we edit TPC, but we do NOT censor its contributors.

John Tolle, NASPC's president and the other board members all feel that TPC is a major contributor to our hobby of pipe collecting and pipe smoking and that our membership dues are a major bargain. We currently have over 1000 members and are always looking and working for more. Our major regret is that so many members of the pipe world have not yet heard of us.