The Story of EA Carey

The year was 1948.  The president was Harry Truman.  The cold war was underway.  Max J. Doppelt of Chicago was issued U.S. Patent 2,440,396 for his “Smoking Device”.   The EA Carey  “Magic Inch” pipe was born.

There was only one problem with this initial design.  It wouldn’t work.  By placing the absorbing material on the outside of the pipe shank the moisture, tar, and nicotine would accumulate on the outside of the pipe.  The pipe was redesigned and introduced in 1952…  Always direct to pipe smokers, always a billiard shape.

Max’s patent also included cigarettes.  His patent attorney, Irwin Altier, conducted a legal review years later and advised Max that he had a claim on any cigarette that used a filter.  Max died soon after the review.

In any event Max chose to pursue the pipe aspects of the business.  At the end of WW 2 pipe smokers were in abundant supply. Max would redesign his smoking pipe to the design that is used today.  In due course Max Doppelt was issued US Patent 3,267,941 in August 1966.

Records indicate that Max purchased the molds for the Carey stem and connector February 1952, although his final patent would not be issued until 1966.  He used an injection molded nylon stem for strength, durability, and precision.  Records of Carey Ad placement date to 1952 for verification.

Max had no desire to distribute his Carey Magic Inch Pipe by traditional means of wholesaling to smoke shops. Max was, first and foremost, an inventor.  His patent interests were in many other areas, such as an index card printer, a draft beer machine, an outdoor cooker using radiant heat, etc.

Max chose to sell his Carey ‘Magic Inch’ pipe by direct mail.  You mail Max the money and he mails you the pipe.  At that time, there were no 800 toll free telephones, no credit cards, and very little mail order compared to today.  TV advertising was just making its debut

There was one other condition.  Max offered only a billiard shape.  If you wanted another shape or style you should buy someone else’s pipe.  Max didn’t want to complicate his life.  At that time his pipes were made for him by Comoy of London.

To find pipe smokers Max used magazine advertising. The headlines varied but were some variation of “Try my Pipe FREE for 30 days”.   If you don’t like it send it back.  It costs you nothing.  Some of his ads also emphasized the point with “If you don’t like my pipe smash it with a hammer and send me the pieces…”.

The ad worked well and provided Carey with growing sales for over 30 years.  These ads, plus the selection of a billiard pipe only, defined the company until Max’s death in September,1969.  At one time the Carey Guarantee was mentioned on the Dave Letterman Show as an example of wacky guarantees.

On January11,1964 the Surgeon General’s report on the danger of cigarette smoking lifted the smoking pipe sales and, as a result, EA Carey’s sales.  What Max Doppelt would have done to  capitalize on this in the long run is unclear.  Max died in September, 1969, and a new era in the history of EA Carey was begun.

Max was related by marriage to the Pritzger family (Hyatt Hotels). After Max died EA Carey was inherited briefly by Jay Pritzker, who then sold Carey to Arthur Mostow, a boyhood friend, in 1970.

Mostow was an accomplished, flamboyant, and capable entrepreneur with varied business interests.  Under Mostow EA Carey expanded the line of Magic Inch smoking pipes and began catalog mailing.  Catalogs were just coming of age in the 1970’s. as there were no 800 numbers and no credit cards. Orders were mailed to Carey with an order slip and a check enclosed.  Since catalogs were beginning there were fewer of them that you see today and often considered unique by the consumer.  Carey sales of Magic Inch pipes approached 100,000 pipes per year.

Mostow then expanded Carey throughout the 1970’s to include EA Carey (Canada) in Toronto, EA Carey (Europe) in England, and started EA Carey in France.

With the expansion of Carey pipe sales Mostow turned his attention to the tobacco business.  In the 1970’s Carey began shipping a small half ounce sample of Carey Classic Black Aromatic tobacco with every pipe sold.  Its tobacco business expanded rapidly ad more blends were added to the catalog.  By 1984 approximately 20 tons of pipe tobacco were sold annually by Carey, mostly in half pound and full pound bags, all direct to consumers.

In 1980 Mostow sold EA Carey to GRI Corporation of Chicago. GRI then sold EA Carey to William Miller in September, 1984.  At that time, Miller owned a pipe company called Duncan Hill Ltd.  Duncan Hill manufactured and sold a patented smoking pipe, the Aerosphere, in a manner similar to Carey.  Miller held a US patent for his Aerosphere smoking system.

EA Carey continues today on much the same basis as before, and still sells direct to pipe smokers as it has been since 1948.

The Carey Magic Inch pipe is the same design as it was in 1952, uses the same injection molded nylon stem, and features the same ‘Papyrate’ cylinder that is the heart of the Magic Inch system.  (The Papyrate cylinder is shown here as item 2.)  The pipe smoke passes through the “Magic Inch” system and the tars and moisture are absorbed in the Papyrate tube.  Additionally, there are 6 vents which allow fresh air to be admitted into the smoke stream through the Papyrate cylinder, which is constructed from specially designed laboratory filter paper.

The company today still features its Carey ‘Magic Inch’ Smoking Pipes and its Carey Brand tobaccos in over 30 different blends.  Its Classic Black Aromatic tobacco remains the best seller as it was in 1980.

All of this is sold direct to pipe smokers, the same as Max Doppelt did when he began in the 1950’s.  Catalogs have been replaced by Carey’s Internet site at However, Carey’s basic message has remained the same…

“Try my pipe for 30 Days!  If you like it keep it.  If you don’t like it smash it with a hammer and the trial will cost you nothing.”