Journeying back to 1825, well before the discovery of briar wood, the COMOY family were already making pipes. Manufactured in the small village of Avignon near to Saint-Claude, in these times pipes were made out of boxwood. The primary consumer for these pipes were the “Grumblers” of Napoleon’s army. The discovery in 1856 of briar woods potential use for pipe-making, particularly the special treatment it required, was a game changer. Saint-Claude would become the birthplace of briar pipe manufacturing and known as the world capital of pipe-making.
The next key moment in the CHACOM history came in 1870 when Henri Comoy, a prisoner of war in Switzerland, met his cousins the Chapuis. Together they ruminate on the idea of an association. Nine years later, Henry Comoy emigrates to London. Taking with him some of his technicians from Saint-Claude he establishes the first English pipe factory, H. COMOY & C° LTD. The Saint-Claude factory supplied them with briar wood and pipe bowls.
In 1922, after the First World War, the association COMOY and CHAPUIS was realised. The Saint-Claude factory became CHAPUIS COMOY & Cie. Henri COMOY died in 1924. His sons Paul and Adrien assumed the direction of the factories in Saint-Claude and London, assisted by their cousins Emile and Louis Chapuis.
By 1928 in London they were able to produce their own pipes. In order to develop the Saint-Claude factory, the brand CHACOM was created. The first three letters of the COMOY and CHAPUIS families were galvanised to create the brand name. Until 1939, CHACOM was exclusive to the French market.
In 1932 the world economic crisis reached Saint-Claude. To weather this problem, Chapuis Comoy & Cie joins with another company by the name of LA BRUYERE. This union saw them form the biggest pipe concern in the world, with a workforce of 450 skilled workers. Big trucks were needed to transfer the briar blocks from the drying shed to the factory.
After the Second World War CHACOM goes into the vaults and resumes its entire commercial library, launching a complete and modern range of pipes. One year later CHACOM became the principal brand in France and Belgium. Between 1947-1948 CHACOM was the number one pipe-maker in Scandinavia, Germany and their high quality products even reached as far as the United States.
Come 1957 in face of the commercial preponderance of the brand, CHACOM the company La Bruyère returns to the name of CHAPUIS COMOY & Cie.
1964 marked the death of Adrien COMOY. His son Pierre went on to succeeded his position at the London company. Meanwhile Mr Reed is the Chairman and Managing Director in Saint-Claude.
In 1971 the company had recovered its independence from COMOYS of London Yves GRENARD, the second cousin of Pierre COMOY, took over the position of Director of Chapuis Comoy & Cie. At the same time he bought the exclusive sales rights of H. COMOY & Ltd, in France. In 1978 the company employed the hand of Pierre MOREL, an independent free-hand pipe maker. For them he created a line of completely hand made pipes, the Chacom “Grand Cru”. He is also renowned as the creator of the free-hand shapes; “Naja” & “Fleur de Bruyère”. Almost a decade later Pierre MOREL joined the team Chapuis-Comoy as a full-time pipe-maker.
In 1997 Chacom became the first French pipes to be exported to Russia and Eastern European countries. In 1999 The Pipe Trade Association signed a contract with the authorities for developing pipe industries.
In 2001 Yves Grenard designed for Chacom the “MILLENNIUM”. A new celebratory line that saw a new shape designed each year. In 2002 Chacom is introduced to Chinese market.
Come 2007, Yves’s son Antoine Grenard takes over the management of CHAPUIS-COMOY & Cie. A fresh graduate from Design University, he creates several new models; “Sphère”, “Vulcano” & “Monza”. These are unapologetically modern shapes, made with the same renowned know-how and quality of all CHACOM pipes.
2010 – Present
In 2013 Chapuis-Comoy & Cie obtained the Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant (EPV) label. This is a prestigious mark of recognition by the French State. It was created and put in place to reward French firms for the excellence of their traditional and industrial know-how. Then in 2016, after more than a century in the Faubourg Marcel (the pipe maker’s area in Saint-Claude), the company CHAPUIS COMOY & Cie leaves its old mythical factory.
Moving only a few kilometers away to Villard-Saint-Sauveur, the new building is perfectly adapted for contemporary activity. Chacom’s new ambition is to show the manufacturing of pipes the skills that have barely changed in almost two centuries. This new location has seen the opening of a factory store and a museum, a place that deftly mixes tradition and modernity, telling the story of an iconic name in the industry.