Hans "FORMER"  Nielsen



The picture was made, when I meet Former first, in 2001. He is a very kind and communicative fellow. He reflects his life's work with his pipes very modestly, although he have trained so many well-known carvers.  He has completely wrongly never achieved the hyped state of some other Danish carvers.

Former has hardly created many pipe shapes which enjoys great popularity today, although unfortunately, in many cases it´s unknown, that the particular shape was introduced by himself. Exemplarily only one pipe shape which is called "Blowfish" erroneously today, ("disc" is, in my opinion, a better term) should be mentioned here. This lovely shape was developed by Former already long before it reached today's popularity . 

A famous picture by Lars Kiel, with kind permission

There are, moreover, a large number of well-known pipe makers in Denmark which were trained by Hans "Former" Nielsen,  receiving his support until today. He has even immediately "trained" many carvers as a workshops head at W.O. Larsens. Together with Sven Knudsen,  who is, unfortunately, almost completely into oblivion now, Former belongs absolutely in the first row of the quite outstanding pipe makers who immediately got active after the grand-masters Poul Rasmussen and Sixten Ivarsson.

The Former pipes are of excellent processing, stylistic beauty and plain elegance.

Former is making 3 pipe lines at the moment: There are, under the brand "Former Handmades",  completely hand made pipes of a rather classic style and his "Freehands", which are obliged to the Danish Freehand tradition, which Former substantially developed itself. There is not any grading in the two lines.

The pipes are available with normal drilling and fitted for 9 mm filters. Former uses german vulcanite for the stems and, starting during the later 1990ies, also acrylate. Nobody, with the only exception of Rainer Barbi, knows to make such delicate stems also at 9 mm filter pipes!

The prices for the hand made pipes moved in 2004 between 400.- and 2.000.- € . Former finally make the brand "Bentley - Formers Design" . Top pieces of this brand are quite equal to the creations of the "Former"-lines, although they are noticeably less expensive


Many thanks to Uli Wöhrle for the pictures of Former´s workshop






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Former`s  workshop

Some pipes from the different lines:
 "Freehand"; "Handmade" and "Bentley"

Bentley: A very beautiful pipe 
fitted for 9mm-flters