Ardor pipes are about quality craftsmanship, artistic excellence and strong familial bonds
by Stephen A. Ross
Dorelio Rovera has seen a lot of changes in his nearly 60 years as a pipemaker. As a
boy, he enjoyed watching his father, uncles and their 50 or so employees feverishly
toiling at water-powered bandsaws, lathes and disc sanders at the busy Rovera pipe
factory. Everyone at the factory worked hard, desperately trying to keep up with
the seemingly insatiable post-war international demand for Italian pipes by producing
thousands of pipes each month. There was little time for innovation, and the factory churned out a limited selection of a dozen or so shapes with molded stems to keep up with demand.
When he was 13, Dorelio joined the family company while business was still booming, but he witnessed the demand for pipes slow throughout the years. With the blessing of his father, Angelo, he reinvented the family business. The lessening demand for pipes gave him and his father more time to follow a more artistic approach to pipemaking. The father-and-son team established the Ardor brand, taking its name from Angelo’s initials, AR, and the first three letters of Dorelio’s name.
Now, the 70-year-old Italian works with his own sons, Damiano and Dimitri, in crafting one of today’s most respected and best-loved Italian brands. Annually, the three men produce about 1,000 pipes—a far cry from the old Rovera production capacity, which amounted to as many pipes in just a few days. With a working environment less hectic and more collegial than in the old days, the Rovera trio have time to visit with one another each day to discuss what’s going on in their lives, solve the world’s problems and talk about the pipes they are making. Each man works independently, but they are bound together through their respect for one another and their love for their family’s profession. Indeed, a love for pipes has been a strong bond through four generations of Rovera family history.
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