Becker - three generations of pipe makers - Fritz Becker created Becker pipes in the late 70's. His traditional German name is uncommon for an Italian pipe carver. Originally an Austrian Jew, he fled just before the advent of WWII to England and was an allied intelligence officer during World War II. Once the war ended he landed in Rome and lived there until his death in 1991. Becker was a man of many talents, a painter, sculptor and designer and a superb pipe maker. He, also, was the World Jewish Congress Representative to the Vatican, a protocol rank same as ambassador.
Becker and Paolo, his son, began making pipes in the late 1970s using XX grade Calabrian plateau briar from Southern Italy. XX plateau is the top grade and is one of the worlds best. In 1979, they introduced their make with Becker stamped on the shank, early pieces were unmarked. Fritz was a very talented artisan and Paolo learnt the skills from his father. From then on both of them worked on Becker pipes, until Fritz's death in 1991.
Aesthetically, Becker pipes exhibit a fusion of Italian design and inherent artistry; numerous pipes from the Becker’s have a clearly recognizable profile. Pipes whether smooth or sandblasted, have certain consistent motifs. Bowls are often standard shapes with a delicate pencil shank or have the line from bowl to a shank with a definite waist. The transition from mass to line creates a refinement and lightness that is a signature of Paolo. He used both acrylic and vulcanite for the stems and any shank arnamentations were always understated - a thin band of boxwood or ring of silver - never garish. Briar was the most common material for Paolo to use. Later pioneered the use sandblasted Morta and strawberry wood . In due course both materials became part of his repertoire.
Paolo graded his pipes with the nomenclature of playing cards. The higher the number of the suite, or if you will the better the hand, the more select the pipe. Paolo Becker died in late 2014. The Becker name had come to be one and the same with Paolo in the minds of many, Becker remains - a family brand. Frederico, Paolo's son is the 3rd generation Becker pipe carver. His style and aesthetic follows that of his family tradition, with the same engineering excellence.