Hartmann's mainstay for the next decades were cheap and small pipes in drugstore quality with Nylon stems. Called "Mutzenpfeifen" in German, they were mainly used to smoke shag tobaccos. This slowly changed for the better after pipe maker and designer Lothar Schirwitz, who had joined Hartmann in 1954, became the head manager of the pipe production at the end of the sixties. Thanks to Schirwitz' efforts Hartmann pipes adopted more modern designs orientated to Danish pipemaking. According to the German smoking habits pipes got the typical 9-millimeter filter system. But doubtlessly the significant improvements on quality enforced by Schirwitz made the pipes a growing success. Around 1975 the brand name db - Design Berlin was adopted to underline the new image. Lothar Schirwitz also made very fine one of a kind freehand. Today these db pipes wearing his name stamped are highly sought for after he retired having worked almost fifty years for Hartmann / Design Berlin. According to his potential he might have been one of Germany's praised high graders, but he preferred to stay in the background un-boastfully. In the early 1980s db was taken over by the Dr. Manfred Obermann Company from Berlin and afterwards administrated by PLANTA Tabak-Manufaktur, one of Germany's biggest tobacco companies. The name was changed to Pfeifenstudio db - Design Berlin. Planta's international business contacts helped a lot to increase exports to England and the United States. Switzerland and Austria are also important customers and recently db is selling well in many East European countries. Today the annual production is around 30.000 pipes, ranking db as Nr. 2 in pipe making behind Vauen. The numerous series lines are complemented by many special models. db is especially eager to create fresh and modern shapes that are considerably popular among the younger pipe smokers.