The Humble Baccyflap
I was intrigued when I came across an article about the baccyflap recently, and so I carried out a little of my own research. It turns out that the rarity of the item in question is somewhat at odds with the abundance of column inches dedicated to this most unusual of pipe smoking paraphernalia. So here’s a reproduction of one of the most concise, care of A Passion for Pipes…
“Like a lot of pipe smokers, my pipe drawers are brimming with pipe-related stuff. It is amazing how much I’ve accumulated. There are tampers, pipe knives, wind screens, calipers, loupe, pipe cleaners, roll-ups, various zipped pouches, waxes, cleaners, polishes, windscreens, vintage pipe boxes, and all kinds of other things. But when it comes to the few really cool, must-have thingys, few things rival the Baccyflap.
Baccyflap. What a ridiculous name for the object to which it is attached. For one thing, there is nothing flappish whatsoever about it. The word sounds like it was invented by an archetypal geezer. Come to think of it, I wonder who coined the word? Every time I pull out one of my two baccyflaps from my pocket or bag to fill my pipe, those around me cannot help but want to take a closer look.
“Let me see that thing, Neill.” So, I find myself waiting to fill my pipe while it is passed around, fondled, scrutinized, unscrewed, sniffed, then re-screwed. It amazes me how much everyone loves the thing. “This would fit perfectly in my pocket” is a near universal proclamation uttered by anyone who encounters the baccyflap.
Indeed, one of the best things about the baccyflap is its ultimate portability. It is a perfect little tobacco-safe. I use my light one to carry rubbed-out Virginia flake and I use my dark one to carry rubbed out Stonehaven.
Both of my baccyflaps were made by Wunup. Wunup – here is another peculiar moniker. I suppose it least makes some sense, however, given that anyone who owns a baccyflap definitely is one-up on those who do not.
I understand that baccyflaps were also manufactured by Parker, but I have never seen a Parker version.
“Where do you buy one of those things?” is another question I have answered repeatedly. I am not a particularly good person to ask, however, as every time I have tried to purchase a baccyflap someone else has beat me to it or outbid me for it. I wouldn’t own a baccyflap were it not for two good friends taking pity on me.
I honestly think one of them was worried that I was going to steal one of his, so he gave me one to save us both the embarrassing scene of his having to demand its return, me lying, and his having to turn me upside down and shake me until the baccyflap rattled to the floor. His instincts were good. I had indeed begun plotting but his generosity saved me from larceny.
All my pipe friends and I have agreed that the baccyflap’s manufacture should be resumed and as soon as possible. I am convinced that one of the reasons the baccyflap is so cool is that it is made of bakelite – the first plastic.
I have occasionally pondered whether the baccyflap would be as cool as it is were it made of some accessible plastic. I’m not sure why, but there is something cool about the fact that the baccyflap is made of a type of plastic that isn’t widely available because its manufacture is very problematic due to the toxicity of the process. Oh yeah, dangerous tobacco should definitely be safeguarded in something dangerous.
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably hooked. Admit it: you WANT a baccyflap. The only thing I can tell you about buying one is that they seem to occasionally come up for auction on websites. Good luck. I’ve never won a baccyflap auction yet.”