Many pipe smokers start off with a Big Ben Pipes due to their excellence, reliability and design style. Not only is a Big Ben the first pipe many smokers first trial, but is often their favourite – showing the quality and popularity of these pipes.
Elbert Gubbels Sr started a retail shop for tobacco pipes and other smoker’s equipment in 1870. Come 1924, Elbert Gubbels Sr, now father/grandfather of the present owners, transformed Big Ben pipes into a wholesale trade business. The company grew steadily and imported pipes from various countries as there were no factories producing briar pipes in the Netherlands. The most important suppliers came from France and England.
When German military troops occupied the Netherlands in May 1940, a period of almost five years began in which the Gubbels family could hardly operate their business at all. During this time, they were forced to rest business, where Elbert Gubbels had a notion to become independent of foreign suppliers and he drew up plans to start his own production of tobacco pipes after the second World War.