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Bjarne Nielsen

Bjarne was a larger-than-life Dane who was so engaging and gregarious that he had earned the nickname, “The Ambassador of Pipes.” He had worked as a minister of commerce for the Danish government in the seventies, helping importers make connections with Danish companies to buy products. This was during the boom years of freehand pipes, and coincidentally, Bjarne had begun making pipes as a hobby. One day while trying to help an American pipe shop find a maker to supply them with freehands, he realized that everyone was operating at capacity and couldn’t take on any more work. It occurred to him that he might be able to help by filling the order himself. When he asked the buyer how many pipes were needed, he told Bjarne that he wanted twelve. Bjarne thought that he could handle the order and accepted it, after which he realized that the buyer wanted twelve dozen. Worried that he wouldn’t be able to fill the order, he enlisted the help of a couple of carvers from another company and Bjarne Pipes was born.

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