About William Ashton-Taylor Pipes
In 1959 a lad of 15 signed on with Alfred Dunhill Ltd as a capstan-lathe operator. Thus began the career in pipe making of one "William Ashton-Taylor", maker of the ASHTON smoking pipe.
In the early 1980's Bill strongly felt the need to form his own company in order to return both pipe making and the finished product to the very high standard formerly held. From the time the first pipe bearing his name was made to the present, ASHTON pipes have been manufactured of the best materials and with the utmost skill. And because no one today knows more about the criteria for making fine briar smoking pipes than William Ashton-Taylor, there is no more convincing guarantee for the high quality of ASHTON pipes than the man himself.
Bill used Calabrian briar for his smooth finished pipes because the wood is both hard and light, coming as it does from a light, sandy soil. Often he took these straight grain plateau blocks and turned them on their sides in order to fashion beautiful cross grain/birds eye pipes which are widely believed to smoke cooler than straight grains.
Briar from Tuscany is used for the ASHTON sandblast finishes, as this type of briar takes on a rich, deep patina after the soft grain is removed by the sand-jet. Ashton sandblasted pipes are often compared to early Dunhill Shell pipes, which are highly prized for their deep, craggy sandblasting. While Dunhill seems to have, by and large, abandoned the deep sandblasting technique as time has progressed, Ashton revived the practice, as can be seen on Ashton sandblasted pipes.
William Ashton-Taylor passed away on September 16, 2009. Jimmy Craig is the only person that carries on William's traditions in crafting pipes the “Ashton” way and this can only be verified by you, the pipe community as you experience his work. It is hoped that Jimmy will continue William's legacy, as the art of crafting smoking pipes is now a very rare skill indeed. Ashton-Taylor Pipes hopes that you agree that the quality of Jimmy’s work is indeed that of William, for William was very proud of the work that Jimmy was producing for him in 2008 and 2009.
Pipes by William Ashton-Taylor