History

A blacksmith and engineer by trade, Erik Nørding knows his way around pipe-making machinery.

Strangely, it was not his love for woodworking that propelled Erik into the pipe- making field — it was his terrific skills with machines. "I started as a blacksmith at age 15," he says, sitting comfortably in the game room of his home outside of Copenhagen, Denmark. As he smokes his pipe, his stong, powerful hands seem to overpower the simple tasks of lighting and tamping. "My father was also a blacksmith and an engineer," he says. "He had a razor blade and garden tool factory and passed away when I was 16 years old.”  But by the time he finished his university education, Nørding had lost interest in the family factory. "That's because I had started making pipes," he says, holding up the Nørding hunting pipe he is smoking. "And pipes are much more interesting than razor blades."

Already long before he graduated from engineering school he was a more experienced pipe smoker than most men his age, and often visited W.Ø. Larsen’s shop in Copenhagen to buy supplies for his newly found hobby and source of relaxation source and occasionally to have his pipes repaired. Most of the repairs were done by a man called Skovbo, who was eager to start his own business, but lacked the necessary machinery.  Hearing that Nørding was a trained blacksmith and was studying to become an engineer, Skovbo asked Nørding if he could make some machines for him. "I told him I could make anything he wanted," says Nørding. "But I didn't have any money. So I borrowed about 200 USD from my mother to buy some bearings, and I scoured junkyards for old broken machinery. I bought inexpensive housings and put in new bearings and new shafts."

It was Nørding’s first assignment and he worked hard to make the machines exactly to Skovbo’s specifications. Once they were finished, Skovbo came to inspect them and was very satisfied.  However, having no money and not being able to convince Erik to give him the machines, they entered into an agreement: Skovbo would make the pipes and Erik would sell them. The first pipes carried the name ''SON", which was an acronym for the combination of the names Skovbo and Nørding. The cooperation started in 1963 but only lasted about two years. Erik took over the company himself, changing the name to Nørding.

He began visiting pipe shops, asking if any of them had customers who wanted pipes carved to specific designs, and he found that the need was there. These pipes, made to a customer’s specifications, were a great success.  It was the start of the golden era for Danish fancy pipes.
Nørding kept working and kept improving. Finally he received his engineering degree, but was too embroiled in pipe-making to pursue this career. And of course by that time he was having too much fun making pipes to consider going back to the family razor blade factory.

When the rest of the world found out about the fancy pipes in Denmark, there was no limit to the demand. In 1967 Erik hired his first employee and the business quickly expanded. Over the years many Danish pipe-makers like Tao, Poul Ilsted, Søren Eric Andersen, Peter Rafn, Svend Selius and Peder Jeppesen have worked at the factory……and I am proud that many of them today are among the very best pipe-makers in the world.

Erik developed a series of classics shapes, which were successful in Denmark and abroad.
Later on he took over Peterson, the Irish pipe factory, since the factory was about to be moved from the Isle of Man to Ireland and many workers weren’t willing to move, wanting instead to start on their own. Nørding was willing to run the factory as he had just bought the Danish Kriswill factory in Denmark and had a lot of machines to spare. Nørding ran the factory for five years, and he admits with a smile that it wasn’t always easy.

In 1995 Erik Nørding launched the first pipe in a series called Hunting Pipe; since then a new pipe in that series has been produced every year, using as a theme an animal for every new shape. The pipes are delivered in a tube, which also contains a drawing made by the artist Mogens Andersen.

New pipe designs have been developed continuously to meet the market requests from new markets like China who became seriously interested in briar pipes in the early 21st century.   

Today we are a small but dedicated team working hard to produce a wide range of pipes from the Danish freehand style to more traditional shapes (both big and small) and of course our hand cut master pieces......always with the a Danish twist.

Innovation is as important as ever, even in a traditional industry as pipe-making. We continuously work on new designs, colours, finishes and new materials to make the pipes even more beautiful. One of our latest innovation is the Eriksen Keystone filter pipe that combines traditional briarwood with black or coloured bottom part making this striking pipe the “perfect smoking tool "says Nording.

Nørding has his house and factory just outside Copenhagen in Denmark, where he lives and works. The walls in the living room are covered with trophies (Brown bear, Black Bear, Mountain Sheep, a world record Moose Wild boar and many deer) from his various hunting expeditions around the world. He caught a four meter tiger shark in Florida in 1977. As it’s unusual to catch these sharks, Erik was pictured together with his catch in several newspapers and on TV. Perhaps the most famous of his more unusual achievements, though, is the giant Nørding pipe fashioned from hundreds of other pipes and mouthpieces. This pipe has been on display in several public venues, including the Copenhagen airport, and has been named the world's largest pipe by the Guinness Book of Records. That's just one more example of Erik's tireless creativity. In all his pursuits, he strives to excel. "I enjoy everything I do," he says. "I live hard, play hard, and I work hard."