One of the oldest London pipe makers, Charatan was for years Dunhill's chief rival. Rather than using frasing machines to shape their pipes, Charatans were made by hand on the sanding disk, much as the Danish carvers do today. Charatan struggled along through the post World War II decline in the pipe market. In 1960, the company was purchased by Herman Lane, the tobacco distributor. Lane brought much needed energy and creativity to the marque, along with the dreaded "Double Comfort" bit, which some loved, and many hated. After Lane's death, the company was finally purchased by their arch-rival, Dunhill, who basically sat on the brand for some years, perhaps as punishment. Recently they have begun to resuscitate the brand under the auspices of the talented Colin Fromm, and have begun to reintroduce some high-grade, well made pieces, albeit at very high prices. It is good to see this fine old brand regaining its dignity and quality.