Big Ben traces its roots back to the opening of a retail pipe and tobacco shop in 1870. The business grew and as there were no factories producing briar pipes in the Netherlands at the time, Elbert Gubbles Sr. saw an opportunity in transforming the business into an import wholesaler of briar pipes, primarily brought in from France and England. WWII brought hard times to the Gubbles family business by cutting off foreign suppliers. During this time Elbert Sr. began drawing up plans for the war’s end, with an eye towards reducing the family business's dependence on imported goods. As soon as the war in Europe was over those plans to found their first factory became a reality. The English name survives to today, there's no doubt about the Scandinavian style found throughout Big Ben’s modern offerings. Smooth contours and great contrast finishes are abundant, whether in the form of a shapely bent Apple or a diminutive "Pipo" Nosewarmer, or tall and trim Dublin and Acorn shapes that call to mind certain Kriswills and Stanwells of the 1960s, for that matter.