New in the collection: Dr. Grabow pipe filters

Red box with image of pipe and the words Dr. Grabow Filters
When Dr. Grabow Pre-Smoked Pipes relocated from Chicago to Sparta in 1944, it became Alleghany County’s first manufacturer. Its starting payroll of 65  would grow 10-fold before eventually shrinking to barely a dozen as once-loyal smokers either died off or lost interest in keeping their briar bowls lit.

The most recent of Grabow’s several owners abandoned “presmoking” as pointless, although the name on the old water tower hasn’t been updated.

Pipe filters are a necessary side product at the Sparta plant — a single machine operator cranks out 155,000 a day — although this box of filters is labeled Greensboro because the company kept its sales office there until 1982.