Learn | 11.28.2023

The Evolution Of Proto Pipe: From The 60s To The Modern Day

Here's a brand that's managed to stay relevant for half a century.

It’s not every day that a smoking accessory stands the test of time. By that, we mean remaining relevant for over 50 years while evolving with market trends to suit the wants and needs of smokers in the modern day.

We’re talking about the Proto Pipe Classic from Proto Pipe, a true star in the smoking realm that’s impressing connoisseurs with all the needed features to elevate their sessions effortlessly and enjoyably.

Below, we’ve included a brief rundown of this special pipe and the in-depth story behind it. Read on to learn more about the Proto Pipe Classic and its journey through the decades.

Meet The Proto Pipe Classic

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Designed over 50 years ago and still relevant today, the authentic Proto Pipe Classic comes complete with everything you need for a truly convenient and enjoyable session. It’s a beautiful piece of shiny brass that features permanent screen holes, a lid to snuff your bowl out, a removable poker, a stash pod, and a tar trap.

The poker comes in handy for cleaning resin and debris out of the solid brass bowl when the screen starts clogging. When it comes to cleaning your device, it’s effortless. Simply remove the tar trap and soak it in iso alcohol along with the pipe itself.

For authenticity, each Proto Pipe Classic is stamped with an address in the stash pod hole, and the PP stamped on the lid. It’s a top-of-the-line pipe that’s stood the test of time, continuing to satisfy smokers to this day. But where did its journey start? Let’s take a trip back in time…

Where It All Began

Photo courtesy of P R O T O P I P E ®

The birth of Proto Pipe takes us back to 1968 when inventor and amateur machinist Phil Jergenson had a “Eureka” moment after trying the herb for the first time.

In an era overflowing with techy James Bond-style gadgets, Jergenson wanted to create one for smokers. More specifically, he wanted a pipe design that included a poker, a permanent screen, a cleanable tar trap, and a storage pod. So, he set off on his pipe dream and never looked back.

Having moved to San Francisco in 1971 and launched the first pipe called the Contrivance, Jergenson was in need of some cash. Aside from taking a carpenter job, he dropped $200 for an ad placement in Rolling Stone Magazine in 1972.

It wasn’t until a few months later that his post office box was overflowing with orders. By 1973, Jergenson and his brother Richard took to the streets of SF to sell their pipes. The Contrivance was a hot commodity, but it didn’t take long for the team to hit a bump in the road.

While selling the Contrivance on the streets, Jergenson was approached by an investor who wanted to market the product. So, he gave the investor 50 pipes. Before he knew it, they started popping up all over the Bay Area and sold in tin cans labeled “Tomato.”

Things didn’t let up. Due to their effective advertising and popularity in the illegal cannabis realm, local authorities targeted and harassed the company as “paraphernalia manufacturers.” So, they gave the business over to a tobacco-smoking friend who could rebrand the company for tobacco users. But on one condition: to pick back up when legalization was coming.

In 2014, when Jergenson and his then-girlfriend, Bess, were living off-grid in the country, he felt compelled to create a new generation of Proto Pipes based on the classic design smokers know and love. With four new design improvements, the two eventually landed on the Mendo, which later became the Rocket (that’s still satisfying smokers today).

Fast forward to today, the original team with Phil, Larry, and Richard are back and better than ever, making their pipe dreams a reality in their original warehouse on Franklin Ave. 50 years after the first design, Proto Pipe has fought for its well-deserved spot as a leader in our industry.

So, you ask, what makes the Proto Pipe Classic so special? Aside from its 50 years of relevance, you’ll have to find that out for yourself.

For more products and information about Proto Pipe, visit their website at protopipellc.com.

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