Alfred Dunhill Pipes This is a work in progress. Please feel free to contribute if you are a Dunhill expert or knowledgeable enthusiast.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 A Brief Timeline
- 3 Some Rarities
- 4 History
- 5 Just One More Thing
- 5.1 About Dunhill Today
- 5.2 Video Interview with Richard Dunhill
- 5.3 Dunhill Commercial
- 5.4 About the Spot
- 5.5 About the Inner Tube
- 5.6 About Sets - Pipe Cases
- 5.7 About Shapes
- 5.8 About Dunhill in France
- 5.9 About World War II
- 5.10 About Pipe Tobacco
- 5.11 About Curiosities
- 5.12 About Additional Stamps
- 6 About Rarities
- 7 Finishes
- 8 About Different Pipes
- 9 Dunhill Patents - Archives
- 10 Dunhill Articles & Catalogs
- 11 Miscellaneous
- 12 Dunhill Collections
- 13 A Dunhill Pipe Dating Guide
- 14 Pipedia in Press
- 15 Contact information:
- 16 Off site links
- 17 Bibliography
For the everyday smoke what more is there to say than this, that it is, in its essence the Pipe of Peace? This idea we find embodied in the folklore of simple peoples one example of which is the story taken down by Mr. Torday, the eminent anthropologist, from the lips of Bilumbu, an old Bushongo savage in the remote Congo village of Misumba, and quoted in “The Pipe Book” of Alfred Dunhill.
According to this tale an adventurous young Bushongo named Lusana Lumunbala had fared forth into the outer World and was lost to his tribe for many years. He returned suddenly and after much feasting, he was asked what treasures he had found.
The traveler searched in his bag and produced from it some dried leaves of tobacco and a little packet of seeds.
“Men of Bushongo,” he said solemnly, “thank me from the bottom of your hearts, for I have brought you this.”
The elders passed the leaves from hand to hand and shook their heads; one of them said sternly:
“Do you think, Lusana Lumunbala, that this is the time for jesting? What good is this weed to us?”
“I fear” said another mockingly, “that this man has not gained anything by his much-vaunted travels, and that the hardships which they have entailed have made him lose something...” And he tapped his head significantly.
Lusana Lumunbala smiled. “I have not lost my reason, O elders of Misumba, for this weed of which I have brought you a sample is very precious indeed.”
“Is it good to eat? ”
“It is not.”
“Is it a remedy for some sickness?”
“It soothes them all. Its smoke, when inhaled, is to the suffering soul as a mother’s caress to an ailing child.”
Saying so, he took a pipe out of his bag, filled it with a little tobacco, kindled it with some embers, and began to smoke, and as he did so his countenance beamed with happiness.
The elders talked all at once: “Surely our brother has become demented; he now earth fire and drinketh smoke.”
But one of them, more courageous than the others, asked him to let him try this Wonderful weed and taking the pipe inhaled a big whiff of smoke. He was taken with a violent fit of choking and fell to the ground gasping for breath. When he recovered he abused the traveler, and threatened him with his fist.
“You are,” Lusana Lumunbala rebuked him, “like an infant who chokes at the first mouthful of solid food his mother gives him, and yet, as he grows accustomed to it, becomes a brave companion at the trencher. You were too greedy. Little by little one filleth the basket, as the proverb says. You ought to have tried a little; if you do this you will soon enjoy the magic effect of the smoke as much as I do. For this weed, called Makaya (tobacco), is man’s greatest joy. I have learned its use in the land of Pende, whose inhabitants, the Tupende, have learned it from a strange people coming from beyond the saltwater. O Makaya, Makaya, what Wonders you can Work!” And Lusana Lumunbala shut his eyes in ecstasy. “As the fire will soften iron, so Makaya will soften the heart. If one day your brother has wronged you, and the blood rushes to your head in anger, and you reach out for your bow and arrows to slay him - take your pipe and smoke. Your ire will fly before its fragrance. You will say, ‘Surely I must not slay the son of my mother, him who is of my own blood. I will beat him with a big stick to teach him a lesson.’ But as you rise to fetch your cudgel, take your pipe and drink its smoke. And half-ways you will stop, and smile and say, ‘No, I cannot beat my brother, the companion of my youth. It is more becoming that I should scold him - lash him with bitter words instead of smiting him with a stick.’ And as you go to do so, smoke, smoke. And with every whiff, your heart will become more charitable and forgiving, and as you come up to the trembling culprit you will throw your arms around his neck and say: ‘Brother, brother, let bygones be bygones; come to my hut, and let us drink and eat together and be merry, and love each other.’”
“And all of you know,” concluded Bilumbu, “that Lusana Lumunbala spoke the truth; whenever your heart rises in wrath or sinks in sorrow, drink the smoke of Makaya, and peace and happiness will reign in it again.”
From "The Pipe Book" - Published by Messrs. A. & C. Black, Ltd.
While there are many opinions on who makes, or who made the best pipes, few would argue against Dunhill being the most recognized pipe brand, or that the founder, Alfred Dunhill, was not a marketing genius. In the preface to the second reprint of Dunhill's About Smoke, An Encyclopedia of Smoking", publisher Gary Schrier states the following:
What Alfred Dunhill--son of a leather-harness and canvas-tarpaulin maker--created in 1907 when he opened his first tobacconist shop in Duke Street, London, was something extraordinary: he set a new standard for smoker's products of the finest quality, and he forged a new hallmark for exemplary customer service.
The forward of the original About Smoke includes the following:
Smoking is undoubtedly a pleasure of the senses, primarily of taste and smell, but secondarily of sight and touch. For the highest enjoyment, therefore, it is essential to use objects which delight the senses.
All of the many Dunhill inventions prove that practicability is readily allied with artistic design.
Each Dunhill patent has been evolved to meet some expressed or anticipated need, but in the production of the article itself beauty of form and coloring have certainly not been neglected.
In the fashioning of every article the highest possible standard of design and workmanship has been maintained.
As with most any famous persons, articles, or firms, a good deal of lore and myth combine with no little speculation and make it difficult to separate facts from myth. It can also be difficult to separate true quality from the marketing genius behind a famous brand such as Dunhill. In this article we attempt to navigate this, or at least give an indication of the challenges for readers to use their best judgment in discerning the merits of the information.
What follows is our revised and expanded article on the most recognized pipe brand. Many thanks to Yang Forcióri who has done the vast majority of the work on this extensive revision. --sethile (talk) 20:50, 7 August 2019 (CDT)
A Brief Timeline
The genesis of the family business: the Dunhill ancestors were small farmers and shopkeepers in Nottinghamshire, Thomas Dunhill, being the first to take a break from this part of the country. He left Newark-on-Trent early in the last century, at about the time of Waterloo, bringing his young bride to London where, in Oxford Street, on the site now occupied by Debenham's, he opened a draper's shop. He must have quickly realized that the vast number of horses in the London Streets offered him a better livelihood than the linen trade: possibly, from his country boyhood, horses were something he knew about. At any rate, he transferred his energies to building up a harness-making business in the Euston Road which, before a tablet in Islington Church commemorated his long years'enterprise, enable him to support a household of Victorian proportions, including seven sons and five daughters. This was the first Dunhill business of any consequence. Frederick Dunhill inherited it, passing it on to Henry Dunhill.
1861: Frederick Dunhill (1807-1876) was a sacking manufacturer; his youngest son (of 5), Henry (1842-1901) was a commercial clerk. In 1870 at Frederick's death, Henry was in business as a dealer in sacking and he added an extra dimension to his business by selling canvas tarpaulins and shop-blinds. He also later became a dealer in pianos and music. The sacking business was run from Euston Road, which also made, among other things, accessories for horse-drawn vehicles. And this is where Alfred Dunhill begins his historic journey:
1887: The third of Henry's son, Alfred, was apprenticed to his father's harness-making business.
1893: At the age of 21, Alfred Dunhill starts managing the business with his father.
1895: Alfred Dunhill married Alice Mary Stapleton.
1896: Alfred Henry Dunhill born; Locomotives on Highways Act passed.
1897: Henry Dunhill retired. Alfred Dunhill took over his father's business. A harness and motor accessory business opened at 145-147 Euston Road, London. Vernon Dunhill born.
1899: John ("Jack") Dunhill born.
1900: The Discount Motor Car Company (selling motor accessories by mail order) established at 145-147 Euston Road, and then expanded into 108 Euston Road, London.
1901: Henry, Alfred Dunhill's father, died. Motor Mart Employment Agency, which serviced and repaired motor cars then became "Motor Mart Ltd" - established at 108 Euston Road, London.
1902: In July, the first Dunhill's Motorities shop opened at 2 Conduit Street, London.
1902-6: Alfred Dunhill designed and built houses in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire.
1903: Alfred Dunhill Ltd (the 'predecessor company') incorporated. Alfred Dunhill's first dashboard clock marks their entry into the timepiece arena
1904: Dunhill's Motorities shop opened at 5 Conduit Street. Head office, wholesale and export departments opened in new buildings at 359-361 Euston Road - London. Application for “Windshield Pipe” patent.
1905: Alfred Dunhill's Patent Development Company established at 8 Argyll Place, London. Dunhill's Motorities shops opened in Edinburgh, Manchester, within Hotel Cecil, London.
1906: Mary Dunhill born.
1907: First Dunhill tobacco shop opened (7 July or most likely, 9 or 10 September) on 31a Duke St. Late in the same year, My Mixture book was started.
1908: Dunhill's Motorities shop opened in Glasgow. Cigarette manufacturing by hand begins.
1909: Dunhill began an in-house pipe repair business.
1907-1910: Dunhill imported the bulk of his pipes from France. Unsatisfied with the quality of these, he also bought pipes from Charatan (1909/10) reportedly at exorbitant prices, to ensure he had some of the very best pipes for sale in England.
1910: First known Dunhill catalog produced; Alfred Dunhill enticed Joel Sasieni away from Charatan and opened a small pipe workshop of his own at 28 Duke St. -- two rooms upstairs providing the humble beginning. The focus was to use the finest quality briar, and expert craftsmanship to make pipes that would provide a superior smoke, and last a lifetime. The cost would reflect these principals, which was against the current trend of inexpensive pipes of lessor quality; the Bruyere finish is first introduced.
1912: Alfred Dunhill becomes Alfred Dunhill Ltd; Herbert Edward Dunhill (1884-1950) joined his brother in the business; The "White Spot" trademark first appeared on pipes. The famous white spot was introduced so customers would know which way to insert the handmade vulcanite mouthpieces on straight pipes (the spots face up). Pipe-making moved to Mason's Yard, London.
1913: Vernon Dunhill (father of Richard Dunhill) joined the business.
1914: First World War begins; Alfred Henry Dunhill leaves the business and joins the war effort.
1916: Shop address becomes 30 Duke Street; factory and offices purchased in Notting Hill Gate, London (the pipe-making operations are transferred there);
1917: Shell Briar pipe patented; Alfred Dunhill created his sandblasted pipe, and first introduced the "Shell" Finish. Dunhill developed the oil curing process at this time, which many feels contributes significantly to Dunhill's excellent smoking qualities.
1918: Alfred Henry Dunhill won the Military Cross (MC at Frégicourt 1 Sep 1918 - 31158/1 Feb 1919), 7th Bn Royal West Surrey Regiment - World War I.
1919: Alfred Henry Dunhill rejoined the business; factory and offices purchased at 20 Pancras Road, London; fire at Notting Hill Gate pipe factory; Dunhill and Sasieni part after serious conflicts. Dunhill stopped buying bowls turned in France in favor of those turned in London at Notting Hill Gate pipe factory.
1920: Wholesale and export departaments moved to Notting Hill Gate.
1921: Alfred Dunhill of London Inc. formed in New York; First registration of "Alfred Dunhill" signature as a trademark; First Royal Warrant received, as Tobacconist to Eduard, Prince of Wales. 2760,000 pipes were sold in the Duke St. Shop.
1922: Alfred Dunhill of London Inc. formed in Toronto; first New York shop opened; The Parker Pipe Company Limited formed, to become a subsidiary of Alfred Dunhill Limited.
1923: Alfred Dunhill Limited formed, with an initial authorized share capital of £300,000 (Alfred and his brother Herbert served as directors); "White Spot" trademark registered; shop opened at 27b Throgmorton Street, London.
1924: Mary Dunhill joined the company; Société Anonyme Française Alfred Dunhill (SAFAD) formed; shop opened at 15 rue de la Paix, Paris; The Pipe Book by Alfred Dunhill published; Unique lighter introduced.
1926: Shop opened in Toronto; Mary Dunhill Limited Formed (shop opened in Bayswater); new cigar humidor room opened; watch lighter introduced; Richard Dunhill born.
1927: Herbert E. Dunhill last attended a board meeting, but remained managing director until 1950. Alfred Dunhill launches the revolutionary Unique lighter, the first to be operated using just one hand.
1928: Alfred Dunhill retires; Alfred Henry Dunhill succeeds him as chairman; first Dunhill clock introduced; Captive watch and Belt watch introduced. Alfred Dunhill begins distributing the Namiki pen company's maki-e lacquered pens.
1930: The Root finish is introduced. D.R. "dead root". Denotes Dunhill straight grain pipes. The Bruyere finish was used on these pipes through 1929; root finish was used thereafter. "D.R." stamped on the shank; leather factory opened in Notting Hill Gate; agreement signed with Namiki for the introduction of writing instruments.
1931: French and Canadian Dunhill companies purchased. | Root Briar finish was introduced.
1932: H. L. Savory & Co. Ltd purchased.
1933: Stationery introduced in USA.
1934: Registered office moved from 137 Notting Hill Gate to 30 Duke Street, St. James.
1935: Duke Street, St. James, shop extension commenced.
1936: Large shareholding in Hardcastle Pipes Ltd purchased after a ten-year relationship; the factory was in Walthamstow. The famous Facet timepiece, based on Alfred Dunhill's car head-lamp designs, is launched.
1938: Royal Warrant received from George VI; Vernon Dunhill, Richard Dunhill's father died.
1941: Duke Street shop bombed; it was extended and rebuilt in the 1950s and recently renovated.
1943: Mary Dunhill appointed director.
1944: Alfred Dunhill Limited purchased Mary Dunhill limited; the business of Wise & Greenwood purchased.
1948: Richard Dunhill joined the company.
1949: D.Rs are graded with ascending letters "A" to "J".
1950: Herbert E. Dunhill died, Mary Dunhill succeeded him as managing director. | DRs became associated with Root Briar finish, were stamped DRR.
1951: Shop opened in Beverly Hills, CA.
1952: The Tanshell finish is introduced. | The number/letter shape code has been introduced.
1953: Duke Street shop was finally completely rebuilt after being bombed in 1941.
1954: The Gentle Art of Smoking by Alfred H. Dunhill is published.
1955: Alfred H. Dunhill elected Master of The Worshipful Company of Tobacco, Pipe Makers, and Tobacco Blenders.
1956: Rollagas lighter introduced.
1957: New headquarters and shop opened on Duke Street, St. James, 50 years after the first shop opened; "Bill" Carter completed 50 years of service.
1959: Alfred Dunhill, the founder of Alfred Dunhill Limited, died on January 2. Bill Taylor starts working for Dunhill as a boy
1960: Shop opened in Philadelphia.
1961: Alfred Henry Dunhill retired as chairman; appointed president and succeeded as chairman by Mary Dunhill; Richard Dunhill appointed director; shop opened in San Francisco; Alfred Dunhill Tobacco Ltd formed (factory in Plaistow).
1963: Dunhill Toiletries Ltd formed; Royal Warrant received from Queen Elizabeth.
1965: Interest in the company acquired by Carreras Ltd; silk ties introduced.
1966: Shop opened in Hong Kong; Queen's Award for industry received for export achievement.
1968: Hong Kong company formed; shop opened in Sydney; controlling interest in Molyneux purchased (sold in 1970); shop opened in Düsseldorf, West Germany.
1970: Shop opened in Kuala Lumpur
1971: Alfred Henry Dunhill died; shop opened in Singapore.
1972: Carreras renamed Rothmans International; the Redbark finish is introduced. (Pipedia Sysop note: Some sources indicate the Redbark was introduced in 1973 while other sources indicate the Redbark was introduced 1972 See example).
1973: Controlling interested in Richards & Appleby Ltd purchased; first Dunhill International Conference in London.
1974: Mary Dunhill celebrated 50 years of service to the company; shop opened in Dallas, TX; Queen's Award for industry received for export achievement; Anthony Greener appointed as a managing director. | D.R. first stars appeared, but for group size.
1975: Mary Dunhill retired as chairman; Richard Dunhill succeeded her; Mary Dunhill appointed president;
1976: H. Simmons Ltd, London, purchased; menswear department opened on lower ground floor at Duke Street, St. James; Brentford Distribution Centre opened; Lane, Ltd., New York, purchased together with subsidiaries F. Charatan, Ben Wade, and Grosvenor Pipe (Lane alone sold in 1987). | The number/letter shape code was discontinued and replaced by a 4 or 5 digits code.
1977: Shop opened in Houston, TX; controlling interest in Montblanc-Simplo GmbH, West Germany, purchased; Dunhill pipes Ltd formed; Bill Taylor works as administrator and overseer in the Dunhill Factory.
1978: Shop opened in Atlanta, GA; temporary controlling interest in Collingwood of Conduit ltd; Mary Dunhill retired from the board of Dunhill Toiletries Ltd. | Collector Series was introduced (001 nomenclature) | D.R last year using stars for group size and letters for grade. Dunhill started again to hand-turn (HT) bowls (Collector and D.R series only).
1979: Our Family Business by Mary Dunhill published; shop opened in Washington D.C. | Collector Series were stamped "002", and after 1979 this special stamp was dropped. D.R. series are graded with stars and also an “XL” stamp was added.
1980: First Dunhill Pipe Dealer's World Conference, in London; the Cumberland finish is introduced; shop opened in Dubai; sponsorship of Alfred Dunhill Queen's Cup polo tournament commenced.
1981: Shops-within-shops opened in Selfridges and Harrods, London; shop opened in Munich; tobacco manufacturing moved from Sewell Street to Murray Sons & Co. Ltd, Belfast; Dunhill Tobacco Ltd sold; Alfred Dunhill eyewear introduced.
1982: Dunhill Holdings plc acquired Alfred Dunhill Limited under Scheme of Arrangement; Rothmans International plc controlled new holdings company; pipe manufacturing transferred to Walthamstow; shop opened in Melbourne; Alfred Dunhill Scotch Whisky introduced; shop opened at 14 Poultry, London.
1983: Shop opened in Vancouver. | The 5 digit shape numbers ended.
1984: Edition of men's grooming products introduced; Bill Taylor leaves Dunhill to become Bill Ashton-Taylor
1985: Inauguration of Alfred Dunhill Cup golf tournament; Dunhill Tailored Clothes Inc, New York purchased.
1986: Shop opened in Montreal.
1987: Redbark finish officially retired; shops opened at QE2 in Sloane Street, London; redesigned Duke Street shop opened.
1988: Mary Dunhill died; The Englishman's Companion: Alfred Dunhill Exhibition in London.
1989: Richard Dunhill appointed chairman; Michael Nicholson appointed managing director; shops opened in Costa Mesa, Honolulu, Tokyo, Osaka, and Wall Street.
1990: New York shop relocated to 450 Park Avenue; shop opened in Hamburg; Alfred Dunhill Museum opened in Burlington Arcade, London.
1991: Lord Douro appointed chairman of Dunhill Holdings plc, succeeded Edmund Skepper; shops opened in Boston and Seattle.
1992: Shops opened in Geneva, Madrid, and San Diego; Alfred's Dunhill business completed one hundred years of trading.
1993: Alfred Dunhill celebrated it's Centennial worldwide; the Vendôme Luxury Group was created with Alfred Dunhill Ltd and Montblanc-Simplo GmbH as two of its principal subsidiaries; all tobacco interests sold to Rothmans International plc; the centenary watch range was introduced, inspired by Alfred Dunhill's watches of the 1930s; Alfred Dunhill opened its first store in China; the Alfred Dunhill Shooting Season was held in some of Europe's most prestigious locations; Alfred Dunhill Open Golf Championship held in Knokke-le-Zoute, Belgium; François Poirel appointed managing director.
1994: New store openings in Europe and Asia brought the total number of Alfred Dunhill stores to 96; Alfred Dunhill collection of humidors launched.
1995: New retail outlets were established in Taiwan and distribution strengthened throughout the rest of the Pacific Region; Namiki lacquer writing instruments which originally appeared in the 1920s were reintroduced as a limited edition to considerable interest from collectors. | The pipes logo was changed: "Dunhill" inside an ellipse.
1996: First Alfred Dunhill outlet opened in Russia and a new store opened in the city of London; Alfred Dunhill's headquarters relocated to 27 Knightsbridge in London.
1997: Flagship store in Duke Street, London, refurbished and relaunched at 48 Jermyn Street incorporating the Alfred Dunhill Museum which is opened to the public for the first time; partnership with Aston Martin to design the limited edition Alfred Dunhill DB7 sports car; Callum Barton appointed chief executive.
1998: Richard Dunhill celebrated 50 years with the company; Alfred Dunhill Museum acquired the last surviving Alfred Dunhill motor car, the "Tweenie", first sold in 1914 by Dunhill Motorities; Alfred Dunhill opened in the Czech Republic with stores in Prague and Carlsbad; 14th Alfred Dunhill store in China opened; Alfred Dunhill's largest store in Asia opened in Osaka, Japan; new stores opened in Bombay and New Delhi, India and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; number of stores stands at 160 in 26 countries. Alfred Dunhill Edition Aston Martin DB7 – 78 (of an announced 150) "Dunhill Silver platinum metallic" cars with a built-in humidor.
2005: Savile Row tailor Richard James, watch dealer/designer Tom Bolt, casual-wear designer Nick Ashley, and leather-smith Bill Amberg are brought on board to help revitalize the brand.
2007: First Home of Alfred Dunhill opens in Tokyo, Japan.
2008: Alfred Dunhill announces the appointment of menswear designer Kim Jones as Creative Director, a role Alfred Dunhill has not offered before. Second Home of Alfred Dunhill opens in London, UK, in Bourdon House. Third Home of Alfred Dunhill opens in Shanghai, China, in The Twin Villas.
2010: Fourth Home of Alfred Dunhill opens in Hong Kong, China, in Prince's Landmark.
2011: First Voice campaign launched.
2012: The pipes logo was changed to: "Alfred Dunhill's The White Spot" - March 2012. Trafalgar by Alfred Dunhill is presented in Shanghai, China. For The Love film is released.
2016: Richard Dunhill died on Aug. 26, 2016, at the age of 89, having been a Dunhill employee for 68 years.
Note: The vast majority of this information were extracted from Balfour, Michael, Alfred Dunhill, One Hundred Years and More (Weidenfield and Nicolson, London, 1992).
The Man Behind the Curtains
Alfred was born on September 30, 1872, in the Haringey neighborhood, part of the suburban district of Hornsey, north of London. Alfred was the third of five children born to Henry Dunhill (1842-1901) and Jane Styles (1843-1922), his first cousin.
Grandma always contended that he couldn't go to school until he was about eight because he couldn't talk properly. As she also said that he was too far troublesome a child to be left in anyone's care, I conclude that his restless temperament asserted itself at an early age. At any rate, by the time he was fifteen, Father was a tall, thin boy with a quick intelligence, though poor sight (and a late start) prevented him from achieving any distinction at school and from being much of a reader for the rest of his life. Henry spent all his spare money on the education of his younger sons. The truth is that Father, at fifteen, was itching to get down to a practical job of work. The school classroom, he often contended, was simply not for him.Dunhill, Mary, Our Family Business (The Bodley Head - Great Britain, 1979).
Sadly there is a little information on Alfred's early life predating his entrance to the family business. There are sparse information and no reliable references. One, in particular, quoted a column called "Mr. A. Dunhill " In the Times, published on January 5, 1959, and mentioning:
Alfred Dunhill was educated at a private school in Hampstead and assisted by tutors until age 15. At 16, he becomes an apprentice in his father's horse-drawn business.
Two years after the start of his professional career, in 1895, Alfred marries Alice Mary Stapleton (1874-1945). His first son, Alfred Henry was born a year later, in 1896. Vernon was born in 1897, John in 1899, and Mary in 1906.
With great energy and creativity, Alfred was also involved in building construction in mid-1902, concurrently with the motor business, and in 1905, after he sold his interest in Dunhill's Motorities, he opens a patent office. At the end of 1906, he was forced to leave this project to direct his energies to the growing demands of the tobacconist.
Alfred was fascinated by architecture and design and submitted his houses (in the city and the countryside) to frequent changes during his retirement. He also looked into the possibility of investing in the sweets and toy businesses but did not have a chance to pursue them.
(...) my father had moved from London in order to build houses in what was then a small Buckinghamshire village. Although he knew little about the building trade, this was one of several commercial ventures he packed into the first thirty years of his life. The point behind this one was that the new railway line from Marylebone to Aylesbury had already passed through the village, its hourly trains making it possible for more prosperous commuters to move into deeper country. As they were likely to need better houses than Great Missenden could provide, my father bought a few acres of land close to the station, made a deal with a local builder to put up half a dozen fairly conventional houses to his design, took the first of them for himself and, over the next couple of years, sold the lot. As part of a larger Great Missenden, those houses are still standing. Yet I am fairly sure that, when the profit on the cost of houses at that time had been split, my father made little money from the venture. It was not one of his more imaginative enterprises, though it illustrates his readiness to speculate on an idea he believed in.Dunhill, Mary, Our Family Business (The Bodley Head - Great Britain, 1979).
After much work and dedication, the first version of his book, "The Pipe Book" was published in 1924 (the same year as the 5th edition of "About Smoke"). The Pipe Book contained 262 pages in its first version, it suffered a decrease to 207 pages in the revision of 1969, although with the addition of the preface by Alfred H. Dunhill. It's a real treatise on the history of the pipes. Illustrated with 228 drawings, 30 photographs, and 3 maps containing detailed descriptions.
On November 23 (in the same year of the release), a column in the New York Times entitled "Books and Authors" congratulated Alfred Dunhill for making the pipe "a gentlemanly art". Alfred was also elected a member of the Royal Society of Arts in 1925 as a consequence of this work. The book has been available for several years in several versions. It was printed by several publishers over the years (1924 – 2011), varying between colored or black-and-white versions, simple or sophisticated.
Alfred retired in 1928, at the age of 56, due to health concerns. There are no historical details on his possible afflictions. During his retirement, he spent most of his time in his cottage, titled "The Old Barn". He loved the sea, sailing, and fishing on the coast of Sussex on his motor yacht, Poppy, where he enjoyed hours of pleasure and relaxation. He liked music, too, and was reportedly an excellent pianist. Alfred Henry thus turns the protagonist, leaving the Dunhill company to go on without him while enjoying a seemingly private retirement.
Alfred Dunhill died in a nursing home in Worthing on January 2, 1959, and was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium, leaving gross assets worth £74,117 (equivalent to £1,693,744 in 2018), reported in the obituary of the Times on June 22, 1959.
Alfred Henry Dunhill
In a small house in Cricklewood Alfred Henry was born in 1896. The Alfred's Dunhill firstborn. A tall and stately man, that became Chairman of the company on his father's retirement in 1928 - a post he held for 33 years.
My eldest and favorite brother - Alfred Henry, as I am calling him to distinguish his name from my father’s - was a thin lad of seventeen when he first went to work at Duke Street, quiet and shy like Father but with a sense of humor and a dry wit that endeared him to his colleagues.Dunhill, Mary. Our Family Business (The Bodley Head - Great Britain, 1979).
In 1912 Alfred H. Dunhill joined the business and began his journey in the company as an apprentice (then at the age of 16) but, in 1914 the First World War began and Alfred Henry Dunhill leaves the business and joins the war effort. in 1918 Alfred Henry Dunhill won the Military Cross (MC at Frégicourt 1 Sep 1918 - 31158/1 Feb 1919) during the Battle of the Somme. He entered as a private and was discharged at the end of the war with the rank of captain. He was decorated with Military Cross, a third-level military award awarded to officers and squares of the British armed forces. He resumes its position in the company in 1919.
Alfred Henry, who was just over eighteen when war was declared, came home one day in the summer of 1914 in the uniform of a Private in the Queen's Royal Regiment. I remember that the tunic was much too short for his lanky body and that, before he kissed me goodbye, he showed me how he wound on his puttees. We didn’t see him again until he returned on leave after several weeks in the front-line trenches without once having the chance of taking his boots off. I screamed when he showed us the lice wriggling in the seams of that tunic with its short sleeves. Mother, I remember, made him strip in the garden, taking the uniform into the kitchen where she baked it in the oven.Dunhill, Mary. Our Family Business (The Bodley Head - Great Britain, 1979).
On his next leave Alfred Henry returned with a Sam Browne belt and the shoulder badges of a Captain who, apparently, for such was the death toll, had already had to act as Colonel. According to the hilarious story he made of it, he had had to parade on a spritely horse during a marchpast of his battalion after spending no more than a couple of hours in the saddle. Never a word about the mud, the rats, the deprivations, the terrifying bombardments and the unimaginable butchery of the Western Front. Like thousands of other boys who had gone to the front, Alfred Henry was one of those who returned with the face of a man who never spoke of what he had seen and felt.
His bravery was mentioned in a column of The London Gazette:
"2nd Lt. Alfred Henry Dunhill, R*. W. Surr. R. (Spec. Res.), attd. 7th Bn.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to ' duty on 1st September 1918, in the attack on Fregicourt. After encountering considerable opposition, he maneuvered his company skilfully in a flank attack, which,
though harassed by heavy machine-gun fire resulted in the capture of over 200 prisoners. This success was largely the outcome of his coolness and daring." London Gazette, 1 February, 1919.
During World War J. Mr. Dunhill entered the army as a private and ended as a captain with the Military Cross. Once, in the Second World War when a bomb wrecked the company's offices in 1941, the chairman sat among the debris selling the remnants of the pipe stock to passers‐by.The New York Times - July 9, 1971, Page 34. See more about it here WWII Phase.
In 1st February 1941 in the edition of Tobacco, Arthur E. Todd wrote in his column, "Tobacco Notables" Interview No. 6: "The Story of the Dunhill Family".
Business That Grew from a Chance Idea in the Days of Draughty Motoring - Alfred Henry Dunhill in the Shop That is Their pride - 400 Prisoners Won Him the M.C. - Lamentable Case of Madame Le Brun.
Alfred Henry Dunhill puts me in mind of a young priest in charge of a temple full of things he treasures and would like you, also, to enjoy. I know he will forgive me for saying this; for this tall slim man with the bushy nearly-black beard has a sense of quiet humor somewhere behind his wide: apart dark eyes. He could, I think, he grand company, if you got him away from “shop,” not in the way of noisy bonhomie, but in the way of stimulating conversation that would be full of thought. The chairman of Dunhills‘ smiles only occasionally, a wide smile that shows between curling mustache and curling beard - not, often when he is talking of the firm, the family, his father, and his grandfather.
Through Those Hitler Countries
His surroundings are extremely different from theirs. You feel when you go into the large low-ceilinged shop in Duke-street (it has two separate floor-levels, with a step-down, being on the slope of that brief but aristocratic West End thoroughfare) that if you were to give five minutes, on the average, to examining, appreciatively, all the articles there are in it, it would take you about a fortnight working eight hours a day. It has hosts of glass cases such as jewellers affect; the walls are all glass-cases; and displayed - say rather, disposed - in the cases, and on them, and all about, are what, tobacconists call fancy goods chosen, evidently, with meticulous care. That is a small wonder. For wherever Hitler is now, in Europe, there (and, as the Yankees say, many places else) Mr. Dunhill has been, collecting, choosing, for the customer - say, rather, clients - such little possessions as men like to have by them all their lives.
I should call the carpet of the shop, a plain carpet, light bronze. The whole effect of the place is light brown. It has delicately-ornate wood-work. How much plate-glass there is in it altogether I hesitate (in these explosive days) to think. The commissionaire at the Jermyn-street door-way is in a dark reddish-brown uniform, gold-braided, with a woven gilt “A.D." on his lapels. No one would dare to just pop into Dunhills’. You are ushered in. Let all be done (the shop seems to say) decorously and in a proper manner: there is no hurry; you have come not to buy so much as to select; and of course you have the money to pay. Whereupon you wish you had - to pay for everything you can see.It is important to place Mr. Dunhill in his shop; for I fancy the shop is his whole life - it, and the providing of it with pleasant things to sell. Not for him - again I am guessing - the dull business routine or the storm of quickfire buying and dealing. Keeping shop is to him a fine art. And who shall say that it is not?
The company's growing exponentially as an international tobacco and pipe‐making under his administration. In recognition of its export achievements, his sister, Mary Dunhill won the Queen's Award to Industry in 1966 and 1969. Alfred Henry was a scholar and sequenced his father's work, as we can see here:
Mr. Dunhill maintained that tobacco was as rich and rewarding as wine or food, and he published several books on the subject. They included “The Gentle Art of Smoking” (1954) and “The Pipe Book,” a revised survey of the pipes of the world, first published by his father in 1926. The New York Times - July 9, 1971, Page 34.
For over forty years The Pipe Book seems to have appealed to both pipe smokers and the general reader interested in smoking as an aspect of social history. As a study of the pipe from earliest times, I believe it still has no rival., Alfred H. Dunhill, 1969.
I am therefore glad to introduce a revised edition with new illustrations based mainly on pipes in the Dunhill collection. Apart from minor changes, the text is as my father wrote it in 1924.
The book “The Gentle Art of Smoking” looks at the history of Tobacco (growing, preparation, etc) and moves on to Pipes and Cigars.
It is not necessary to be a member of the Tobacco Trade to realize that the world-wide practice of smoking is rapidly becoming, except for a small minority, a lost art and a limited pleasure. Indeed, many smokers in the furious tempo of modern life have freely admitted that it is only an essential narcotic for frayed nerves. For them choice Havana cigars, hand-made cigarettes and lustrous meerschaum pipes, which graced the smoking-rooms of fifty years ago, must seem almost as remote as the elaborate smoking paraphernalia which brought such excitement to Elizabethan England. Today the ubiquitous cigarette has robbed most of us of these former glories and gripped us by the throat. Smoking has become habit, and habit, proverbially, blunts the edge of pleasure.Dunhill, A. H. The Gentle Art of Smoking (1954 and later reprints).
To one whose business it is to interest the public in the whole realm of smoking, all this is a very great pity. Yet it is not wholly explained by the economic problems of the day. He who smokes at all can afford to vary the way in which he smokes and to learn a little more about the pleasure which, to say the least of it, is expensive enough. But having tried to cater for the whims and caprices of smokers for many years, I am sure that a little sound knowledge of tobacco and some spirit of adventure are the very qualities that the majority of smokers lack. Deeply conservative, so many are prepared to pay large annual sums without considering how they may get the most enjoyment in return. Smoking is held to be something that you learn about instinctively, or a habit that requires little investigation. People with such an attitude shut their eyes to what they spend and what they smoke. As a result, cigars are bought, mishandled and sometimes wasted. Pipes which are the product of many years of skill and craftsmanship are bought by people who have little more than fancy to guide their choice, and smoked in ways that make it impossible for them to give satisfaction. Some brands of tobacco give delight to a few, but are never sampled by the majority. Cigarettes are sometimes selected as though the only distinguishing feature was the color and shape of the box.
He retires in 1961 (chairmanship was taken over by his sister Mary Dunhill) and dies ten years later.
My brother, Alfred Henry, who had become President of the Group on my appointment as chairman, died in 1971. Having worked in the firm for almost sixty years, he had been chairman for thirty-three of them and, in my view, had done more to promote the original business, as Father and Uncle Bertie had known it, than any other man in its history. When he joined the staff at the shop in 1912 the profits were £1000 per annum. By the time of his death, they were over £1 million. The fact that they had risen to over £4 million by the time my nephew, Richard, succeeded me as chairman in 1976 is an indication of our growth rate in the early ’seventies, especially in the foreign markets I have mentioned. The business today is not only larger than it was during Alfred Henry’s time; it is differently managed and somewhat different in character. I therefore regard the end of my brother’s career as a kind of watershed which, historically, separates the earlier business from what it has become.Dunhill, Mary. Our Family Business (The Bodley Head - Great Britain, 1979).
Alfred Henry Dunhill (Aged 75 years.), president of the Dunhill Tobacco group, and a leading figure In the British tobacco industry, died today at Hove, Sussex. He was 75 years old.
He is survived by his widow, Phyllis, and a sister who is chairman of the company. London, July 8 — published in The New York Time - July 9, 1971.
About the Family Business
The challenge of a Dunhill history is to separate myth and legend from history. This, however, may be impossible. The story of Alfred Dunhill is so tied up with myth that the myths are now part of the history. Alfred Dunhill, being aware of this phenomenon, probably perpetuated many of such myths. Nonetheless, let us try and begin at the beginning in the early 1900’s. Smokingpipes.com
In 1861 Frederick Dunhill (1807-1876) had a coal merchant at 2 Barnsbury Place, in north London, but by 1839 he was also manufacturing sacking (packaging company - manufacture of covers and woven bags) in which to sell it. Henry (1842-1901) The youngest among his five children, worked as an apprentice. In 1870, with Frederick's death, Henry takes over the business. Later he also became a piano merchant. The business was located on Euston Road (a road in central London that goes from Marylebone Road to King's Cross) where he also began to manufacture, gaining emphasis, accessories for carriage and riding, such as saddlery and harness.
The first mention of the company was as long ago as 1793 when a Dunhill ancestor was "concerned with outfitting for horse traffic". The next 100 years passed relatively uneventfully until, in 1893, 21-year-old Alfred Dunhill took over his father's business, which sold horse leathers, saddlery and accessories for carriages in the Euston Road, London.Weird and wonderful - Telegraph by David Burgess-Wise in 16 Aug 2003.
Although he had served an apprenticeship in harness-making and travelled with a pony and cart selling carriage blinds, Alfred was quick to abandon horse traction for motor cars as soon as the 1896 Locomotives on Highways Act raised the national speed limit from 4mph (with a red flag man walking in front) to a slightly less restrictive 12mph.
In 1896 the automobile revolution began to occupy its space in the streets of London. Henry soon realized that this movement posed a future threat to his business. At 55 years old, he was no longer well in health and considered his retirement. When a fire destroyed a section of his store in 1897, Henry decided it was time for his son to take over the business. Mary reported, on a certain occasion, that her grandfather told that in one night, he came home and said: "So you want to take it over, Alfred?". Astute and already glimpsing the market, Alfred said yes and they shook hands. A few weeks later, Henry retired.
And here is where Alfred Dunhill begins his historic journey. In 1887, Alfred, Henry's third son, became an apprentice in his father's harness business. In mid-1893, then at the age of 21, Alfred emerged as an entrepreneur after taking over the saddlery business of his father, which ends up dying a few years later.
Father was driving to and from his business in the De Dion motor-car which was his latest infatuation. He claimed that it was the third car to enter the country and, though he never became the sort of enthusiast who was prepared to spend more time under the bonnet than in the driving seat, he soon turned his passion for cars to practical effect by opening, close to the Easton Road premises, another enterprise.Dunhill, Mary, Our Family Business (The Bodley Head - Great Britain, 1979).
In 1897, the harness business is expanding and now has accessories for motor vehicles on Euston Road 145-147, London. In 1900 the business is expanding and extended with the founding of the Discount Motor Car Company, directed to the sale by correspondence of automotive accessories established on the 108 of Euston Road. In 1901, the Motor Mart Employment Agency, specializing in the maintenance of automotive vehicles, starts operating at the same address.
To cater for this growing clientele, Dunhill set up an employment agency for motor mechanics, a motor discount company and published a magazine called Motor Mart.Weird and wonderful - Telegraph by David Burgess-Wise in 16 Aug 2003.
Through the Motor Mart Alfred also sold many cars in those days, but the manufacturers supplied him cars without any of the essential accessories, he soon moved out of car trading and began yet another business called Dunhill's Motorities. That same year, Henry, Alfred's father, dies. In July 1902, seeing beyond car and correspondence sales decides to open the first store fully specialized in automotive accessories. It was the "Dunhill's Motorities" on Conduit Street, N. 2-London. In 1903, Alfred Dunhill LTD (its predecessor company) is incorporated.
The business was the biggest of its kind in the country and Father, handicapped by lack of funds, was obliged to ask an associate to join him and form a limited company. This enabled them to extend the Euston Road premises and open two shops In Conduit Street, in the West End, which specialized in fur-lined coats, footmuffs, gauntlets, dust-veils, and all the other paraphernalia that these early motorists required.Dunhill, Mary, Our Family Business (The Bodley Head - Great Britain, 1979).
Alfred, responding to the growing demand for automotive at that time, developed a line of accessories called "Dunhill's Motorities". His first collection included horns, lamps, car headlights, jackets, leather overcoats, goggles, picnic sets, watches etc. His motto was: "Everything But the Motor ".
In a few years, the business has advanced, becoming a reflection in the market of luxury automotive accessories, resulting in the opening of two stores of Dunhill's Motorities in Mayfair, a central area of London, in the district of Westminster. At this point, Dunhill had become known not only for commercializing car parts, but also to provide clothes and other motoring accessories. The catalogue of the "Dunhill's Motorities " presented more than 1,300 items at the time.
In 1903, Alfred also ventured with timepieces. Dunhill were selling timepieces as early ago as 1903, explains Simon Critchell, the worldwide president of Dunhill. Typical of Alfred Dunhill’s ingenuity was the remarkable item known as Dunhill’s Speedograph. This highly specialised timekeeping instrument offered its user a sophis- ticated fly-back chronograph, the seconds hand of which made two revolutions per minute, thus enabling the user to count off fractions as small as a tenth of a second, while another feature enabled the user to read in miles per hour the speed of an object being timed. Such accuracy and function- ality would be remarkable on a mechanical timepiece today... not least in 1903. See the full article here: "Mechanisms For the Modern" by Nicholas Foulkes, QP Magazine 2007.
In 1904, another Dunhill's Motorities store is open on Conduit Street, N. 5. Also that same year, a department of wholesale and export was opened occupying two buildings on the Euston Road-359-361.
In 1904, Dunhill's headquarters moved in a more fashionable direction along the Euston Road to an impressive corner site that incorporated showrooms, workshops and offices. Presumably it was where the chauffeurs and footmen came to try on their liveries.Weird and wonderful - Telegraph by David Burgess-Wise in 16 Aug 2003.
Still in 1904, after careful registration of patent, Alfred launches a pipe with a protective shield that aimed to combat the effects of the wind in open car - was the famous and iconic "Windshield Pipe".
The first wind-shield pipes were patented in 1904 and sold from 1904/05 onwards, while Alfred Dunhill operated his “Dunhill's Motorities business. The Duke Street tobacconist store did not exist yet, it only opened in 1907. Therefore, those early pipes, to my best knowledge, were stamped on the stem with DUNHILL’s over PATENT (patent number App 25261, applied in 1904, issued in 1905).Hener, K. S., Product Line Director - The White Spot Smoker's Accessory Division and Walthamstow site.
The promotion flyer said:
A Joy to Outdoor Smokers.
Is indispensable to the sportsman, the yachtsman, the automobilist, the billiard player. It is, indeed, a boon and comfort to every pipe smoker.
"(...)hoping to combat some of the difficulties a smoker would face while driving. It was this sort of innovation in response to the customer’s needs that would make Dunhill Pipes the leader in its field. "Smokingpipes.com
"the initial windshield pipes were not a success. Within a few years, many were recut to a flat top bowl and sold off at a discount." Loring, J. C., The Dunhill Briar Pipe - The Patent Years and After (self-published, Chicago, 1998).
It wasn't a tremendous success but had a catalyst effect on young Alfred. In 1905, Alfred left the automotive business and opened another company for the development of patents, at Argyll Place, N.8 - London. At the same time, other stores at Dunhill's Motorities have been opened in Edinburgh, Manchester, and the Cecil Hotel in London.
He turned his interest in gadgets and marketable ideas into a small but lucrative business. 'Little ideas properly worked bring fortunes' was the slogan in a press advertisement offering the public his opinion on the merits of minor inventions in return for a small cash payment.
The gadgets and the notions that poured into Argyll Street kept my Father in an element he loved. Cameras, gramophones, cine-projectors, piano-players, the latest in tin-openers - throughout his life he had to bring home every novelty he could lay hands on just as he had to have hobbies ranging from model trains to fishing and table tennis to acting.
And onto his desk, one day came that all-important pipe with a wind-shield which first turned his thoughts in the directions of the tobacco trade. Dunhill, Mary, Our Family Business (The Bodley Head - Great Britain, 1979).
Since his apprenticeship to the family harness-making business, he had already built up and sold his interest in an enterprise called Dunhill's Motorities which had seized upon a market still in its infancy by selling special clothing and accessories to the earliest motorists.Dunhill, Mary, Our Family Business (The Bodley Head - Great Britain, 1979).
Richard Dunhill reports in the foreword of "Alfred Dunhill - One Hundred Years and More" that his grandfather left the automotive segment aside after some disagreements with his associates. Alfred Dunhill decided to go further and opened his first tobacco shop in London at Duke Street-N.31A in 1907. It was only the beginning of what would become one of the biggest brands of tobacco and pipes in the world.
Notwithstanding that lack of initial success, Alfred Dunhill sold his own car to raise the capital to open a tobacco shop at 31a Duke Street.Loring, J. C., The Dunhill Briar Pipe - The Patent Years and After (self-published, Chicago, 1998).
In an article called "Weird and wonderful" for The Telegraph, published By David Burgess-Wise in 16 Aug 2003 - It's a humorous and interesting historical summary.
Today's drivers want CD players and sat-nav systems. But the motorists of yesteryear equally craved their 'toys'. David Burgess-Wise recalls the impact of Dunhill's stores for motorists. True to its Edwardian slogan "Everything but the Motor", coined in the days when it supplied pioneering "automobilists" with a host of accessories for their horseless carriages, the luxury goods company Dunhill this year sponsored the Goodwood Festival of Speed's Soapbox Challenge, where motors are forbidden.See the full article here.
New Phase - Duke Street Era
Highly innovative, Alfred starts his new journey in 1907, exploring his other interests by opening a cigar and tobacco shop in London on Duke Street-31A. It would take three years for Dunhill to start his pipe manufacturing, in the meantime, he marketed third-party pipes (French and, lastly, Charatan).
Alfred did not know much about the tobacco business but was learning as he dealt with his clients. Of keen sensitivity, he soon realized that most of the pipes available on the market were of low quality and that he could market better quality products at twice the price. In the early days, Alfred faced some financial problems, like most traders at the beginning of their ventures. His tobacco shop wasn't the only one in the area. There was strong competition, but his competitors lacked quality offerings. Alfred exploited this market deficiency, establishing a new standard of quality and service.
At first, the focus was on tobaccos. As he defined in his first catalog, published in 1910, called "About Smoke ", he was an expert in making blends, which he exhibited prominently in his entry window: "Tobacco specialist". Alfred Dunhill was a born merchant, and when he opened his first tobacco shop, he knew exactly where he wanted it to go.
In the following images - probably taken by Alfred, we have his three assistants (Bill Carter on the left, Mr. Jelley and Mr. McEwan) with whom he shared the tasks. He used to go to the store every day in the afternoon. The second color image (the third in order), is part of Dunhill's Centennial commemoration Set of 2007.
Each customer could come and create his own recipe, noted in a little book entitled “My Mixture.” This is a prime example of Dunhill’s ability to tailor itself to the customer’s needs. Developed in 1907, the Mixtures guide by Alfred Dunhill, the "My Mixture Book ", came to count 36,700 variations. Always attentive to the details, he talked to all the customers and noted the preferences with precise indications.
Alfred Dunhill, however, was unsatisfied with the current quality of available pipes. The pipes coming in from France were highly varnished and consequently clogged the pores of the briar. They were simply not doing justice to his creative blending." Smokingpipes.com
According to Balfour in: "Alfred Dunhill One Hundred Years And More", initially the Tobaccos were obtained from George Dobie & Sons, a manufacturer of blends located in Paisley, west of the Midland Valley in Scotland and also of some cooperatives producing Tobacco. Creating blends is more than just mixing sheets in different proportions. There are techniques to develop a mixture, for example, cooking, roasting, pressing, mattering, etc. and can hardly be made at the shop counter. After five years, in 1912, his youngest brother, Herbert Edward Dunhill (1884-1950), joins the business. He was an insightful merchant and is soon ahead of the company's financial issues (a function he exercises until his death in 1950), allowing Alfred to give his creativity to the development of new products.
Alfred was restless and always wanted to hone his products, taking him (in 1912) to leave the blends tailored in the background. This was when Alfred presented his own mixtures "in-house", they were: the "Royal Yacht" (Virginia), "Cuba" (Cigar Leaf) and "Durbar" (Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia). Products acclaimed up to the present day.
Alfred opened a small factory of his own in 1910. He set down two principles that would guide the production of Dunhill Pipes. First, pipes would be made of only the finest quality briar, with exacting care by expert craftsmen. Secondly, the pipes would be priced accordingly; the customer would recognize the value of a superior product. This ran counter to the current trend of inexpensive pipes of lessor quality that one simply discarded after a short while. The Dunhill pipe was made to last a lifetime and always with an eye to the utility. It must smoke well and continue to do so with age. To this end, Alfred invented the aluminum ‘inner tube’ to keep the innards of the pipe clean. When the pipe became dirty the tube could simply and easily be replaced. Note, of course, that this innovation predated the widespread use of pipe cleaners.
In 1912, the famous white spot was introduced for very practical concerns. With straight pipes, customers had trouble knowing which way to insert the handmade vulcanite mouthpieces. So Alfred Dunhill ordered white spots to be placed on the upper side of the stem. This very practical solution would become a definitive trademark of Dunhill pipes. The “white spot” soon became known as a symbol of quality. Smokingpipes.com
Before the war, Alfred faced many difficulties, in this period a member of his team stands out, as Mary related:
"During the years we lived in Harrow before the First World War, I was too young to take in much about the new business. Nor did Father later say very much about his hard times; I think he preferred to forget them. So I have gathered many of my impressions about his activities at that time from a jovial man called Bill Carter who, having been taken on with the other two members of the staff as a boy of fourteen, looked back on those days with the pride of a pioneer. As a senior member of the Duke Street sales staff in later years, Bill Carter had formed lasting relationships with almost everyone he had ever served, from Indian princes and royalty to the customers who bought cigars one at a time. He even became persona grata at 10, Downing Street during the last war because it was his business to ensure that Winston Churchill was well supplied with his favorite cigars, often a conspicuous part of his V for Victory salute. Even so, I’m certain that this kindly, cheerful man, even in his sixties, still thought the most exciting moment in his life was the day he persuaded Father to take him on at a wage of nine shillings a week.
And how Bill Carter had to work for those twenty-three pounds a year. All-day he was occupied in tidying, polishing, everlastingly putting pipes back in their mahogany cabinets, answering the telephone, sweeping up every shred of tobacco that fell onto the green carpet, dressing the window after closing time, presenting himself punctually every morning with polished shoes and a clean collar. If he was shouted for, he dropped whatever he was doing and ran. Yes, ran, for Bill Carter spent half his life on the run. Something of an athlete in his youth, he would leave his home in Wandsworth in the early hours of the morning and jog-trot the three and a half miles to Duke Street, returning by the same means at night. If there were parcels of cigarettes and cigars for delivery, as there usually were, he would put the penny he was given for the horse-bus into his pocket and start running towards Regent’s Park or Kensington or wherever he had to go. Nor did Father ever ask him for his penny back. He must have thought his delivery service cheap at the price.
What Father didn’t reckon with was the long-term credit most of his well-to-do customers took for granted. For if, as Bill Carter explained, every item of merchandise in the shop had to carry a tag to save customers the embarrassment of having to ask the price, what would have been their reaction if confronted with an account simply because it had been unpaid for several months? Father knew only too well. If tailors and other West End merchants could somehow arrange their business so that impertinent requests of this sort didn’t have to be made, why not a struggling tobacconist? Of this situation all too many customers took advantage with the result that Father extended their credit far beyond the limits of his own.
His creditors quickly realised what was happening. It was not a situation they were likely to tolerate for long. Within the first two years of trading they called meeting after meeting until Bill Carter was the only assistant Father could afford to keep on. On one occasion, when bankruptcy seemed inevitable, one friendly cigar importer saved the day for him by praising Father’s enterprise and originality, urging his fellow creditors to give the business the benefit of a few more weeks." Dunhill, Mary. Our Family Business (The Bodley Head - Great Britain, 1979).
With the advent of the First Great War in July 1914, many of its customers ended up in the trenches of northern France, where Dunhill sent boxes of tobacco, pipes and hygiene items. Alfred sent the sealed boxes, declared and labeled "castor oil", which smelled strong and penetrating, to avoid miscarriage and ensure that it reached the front. Inside the box, in addition to the courtesies, Alfred suggested in a letter that some items would be shared with other officers. Invariably, these items were part of the parallel trade that existed in the theater of war. In addition to French – obviously, there were Americans, Canadians, and Belgians (among others) in the region. The confluence of these factors favored the diffusion of the brand around the globe.
The company grew exponentially after the war. It is estimated that in 1914 Dunhill had sold 10,000 pipes, jumping to 30,000 in 1916, 134,000 in 1918 and 276,000 in 1921. In 1923 the international demand was gigantic, resulting in the creation of an exclusive export department. Dunhill also initiated numerous partnerships with Cuban cigar manufacturers (Dunhill Cigars), selling exclusive brands. With the success of his store in London, he expanded to New York in 1921 and Paris three years later.
Alfred Dunhill’s most revolutionary innovation was the Shell pipe in 1917. How this technique of sandblasting came about is somewhat of a mystery. The story often told is that Alfred Dunhill went down into his basement in the wintertime to make a couple of pipes and accidentally left one, a half-finished piece, by the heating boiler. He returned sometime next summer, having suddenly thought of the pipe, only to find some of the grain had ‘shrunk’, leaving a relief pattern. Obviously, this is apocryphal, probably resulting from the ‘shrunken’ look that sandblasts (especially the gnarly ones of that era) frequently have. Some say the name “Shell” came from the shriveled look the pipe took on after the sandblasting process. Alfred realized Algerian briar, then considered inferior, could be used in this new process. The softer wood could be ‘blasted away’, leaving behind only the harder briar and the beautiful natural pattern of the wood. Originally, the Shell pipes were not stamped because the sandblasting technique, not yet been refined, made recognizing the standard shape much more difficult. Though the Shell finish certainly did not arise from accidentally forgotten pipes in the cellar, it was definitely an important innovation on Dunhill’s part.
Another new technique ended up ensuring the quality of Dunhill pipes. Before the sandblasting process, Dunhill would have the Algerian briarwood bowls immersed in olive oil for several weeks. Afterward, they were left to dry, with the excess oil being occasionally wiped off. This method was originally developed for aesthetic reasons, but it turned out that the oil caused impurities to be forced out of the wood, resulting in a faster curing process. A further consequence of this process was the briar became incredibly durable, making the occurrence of burnouts much less frequent. Smokingpipes.com
In 1923, a remarkable year, the company opened its capital in the stock exchange authorizing an initial capital injection of 300,000 pounds sterling (GBP). The 1920s and 30s were successful years. Dunhill developed ties with the royalty, supplying George VI with tobacco through the thirties. Later during WWII, the company kept Winston Churchill constantly supplied with the cigars (Dunhill Cigars) that would become such an essential part of the famous British icon.
The company expanded, offering specially designed pipes during the 1920s that would be marked OD for ‘own design.’ This concern for marking and always having patent numbers on pipes is what allows for much of the dating process today. The stamping during the twenties was inconsistent and some of the early shell pieces lack marking altogether. In the 1930s there was a desire to standardize. A shape chart was developed that used numbers and letters to signify a specific shape. Each new pipe would be stamped to identify its size and shape. Smokingpipes.com
Alfred retires in 1928 with health problems, leaving his brother Herbert ahead for a few months until his first son, Alfred Henry could take his position. Richard Dunhill (the Firstborn of Vernon), years later, gives the understanding that Herbert was the head of the company until his death in the ages of 1950. He lived in Monte Carlo and participated in the management of the business through correspondence – letters, telegrams, and punctual visits. Alfred Henry, like his uncle Herbert and his brother, Vernon, began his journey in the company as an apprentice in 1912, then at the age of 16. In 1914, with the beginning of the war, he was absent from the business to serve the army - he resumes its position in the company in 1919. Mary, Alfred's youngest daughter, joins 1924, 18 years old. Alfred Henry and Mary begin to have more effective participation in 1929, facing the difficulties of Uncle Herbert with modern commercial practices. Between 1923 and the beginning of 1970, 95% of the company's revenues were related to tobacco consumption, the accessories accounted for only 5%. After expansion and strategic reformulation in the years 70, these numbers changed order.
World War II presented some problems, the Dunhill shop at Duke Street was destroyed during the Blitz in 1941 and had to be relocated. The supply of briar became more tenuous. Italian briar was restricted by the Italian government to be used only by Italian carvers. The Algerian briar became more difficult to acquire. The war also left Europe in a shambles. Depressed financially, there was no place in Europe for high-end luxury goods. Consequently, the American market grew and American taste determined the direction of Dunhill pipe making. Large pipes and traditional shapes were in demand and so Dunhill created a new line of pipes called the “800” OD series, recycling the old OD stamp. Smokingpipes.com
Dunhill has always been creative in its designs and finishes. It is, however, Dunhill’s principle of absolute quality achieved through unrelenting quality control that has set Dunhill apart from the rest.
The chairman, Richard Dunhill would say later, in 1981:
“It’s easy to make a cheaper product, but the reason we’re here today is that we resisted the temptation. Quality comes first.”
Dunhill pipes regardless of shape, size, and finish must always smoke well. This principle laid down in the early days of the company continues today. At the Dunhill factory, just outside of London, pipes are made by 15 full-time expert craftsmen who boast a cumulative work experience of 260 years. Knowing a high-quality product must begin with the best possible material, the briar used by Dunhill is from carefully selected burls from bushes a hundred years old. Even with selecting only the highest quality briar with the finest grain, once the briar bowls begin to be carved certain flaws are exposed and many bowls have to be discarded. At every stage of the process, there are mandatory quality checks that ensure a Dunhill pipe will smoke well from the first to last bowl of tobacco, regardless of age. Each step in the six-week process is done by hand. Over 90 different steps are required in a process that has changed very little since the days of Alfred Dunhill almost a century ago.
Dunhill Pipes are now prized collector pieces and the most famous pipes in the world. Alfred envisioned the Dunhill Pipe to be something special, a pipe to be coveted for its quality, sophistication, and refinement. Alfred Dunhill’s vision continues today. To smoke a Dunhill is to experience this tradition, a tradition of excellence that is perhaps the greatest in the world of pipes." Smokingpipes.com
Parts of this article are courtesy of Smokingpipes , and used by permission
Loring stated in his book that between 1907 and March 1910 (before establishing the manufacturing facility) Alfred's pipes were not made by him. He bought fully manufactured pipes, (most probably) made out of varnished Algerian briar, in four shapes. These were thick shanked, thin shanked, military mount billiards, and a bulldog. After this period, the pipes came from France.
These third party made pipes initially carried in the Duke Street shop in 1907 were given shape numbers running from 1 through 30, with shapes 1 and 3 being copied by Dunhill in 1985 for its seventy-fifth anniversary of pipe making set. The pipes came with and without silver banding and in three quality grades (high to low: "B", "A" and "popular").Loring, J. C., The Dunhill Briar Pipe, The Patent Years and After (self-published, Chicago, 1998).
I do not presently know how these 1907 pipes were stamped, but if I were to hazard a guess it would be DUNHILL over DUKE ST. S.W. on one side, with the shape number either on that side or the reverse.
In 1909 Dunhill began an in-house pipe repair business and a year later, in March 1910 expanded to a two-man pipe making operation, primarily using bowls shaped in France.
Bob Winter joined Dunhill to handle pipe-repair work in 1909: he came from F. Charatan & Sons Ltd (of which company an account will follow). He was keen on the idea in the back of Dunhill's mind that a factory should be started, and introduced Joe Sasieni (also from Charatan), an amber and meerschaum worker, who joined the team for 50s a week, on 7 March 1910.Balfour, Michael, Alfred Dunhill, One Hundred Years and More (Weidenfield and Nicolson, London, 1992).
He had continued to make headway as a tobacco blender, though, until 1910, he was still without a pipe to do justice to the quality of his blends. The calabash and finely carved meerschaum pipes in his show cases were too fragile for everyday use, and customers had long been complaining about the taste of the cheaply varnished Algerian briars which, as I pointed out, were about all any tobacconist had to offer.Dunhill, Mary, Our Family Business (The Bodley Head - Great Britain, 1979).
Alfred doesn't mention to anyone, Mary reports, but he was investigating the pipe maker's craft from end to end. Alfred Dunhill enticed Joel Sasieni away from Charatan (including Joe Sasieni who was to form his own distinguished pipe company in 1918. The first five Dunhill pipemakers all came from Charatan) and opened a small pipe workshop of his own at 28 Duke St on 7 March 1910. - two rooms upstairs providing the humble beginning. The focus was to use the finest quality briar, and expert craftsmanship to make pipes that would provide a superior smoke, and last a lifetime. The cost would reflect these principals, which was against the current trend of inexpensive pipes of lesser quality (the Bruyere finish is first introduced).
From St. Claude, a small town in the Jura mountains which is the French home of the briar pipe industry, Father could obtain the wood he wanted. But from the day he began to study the effect of sunlight on immature bowls in his shop window, he had become obsessed with the subject of wood, its nature and the business of seasoning it. This is why it had taken him three years to evolve the heat treatment processes that are peculiar to the Dunhill pipe and which have a fundamental effect on its smoking properties and on the lasting, natural finish that is given to its grain.Dunhill, Mary, Our Family Business (The Bodley Head - Great Britain, 1979).
Loring also defended, at this time, that Dunhill Bruyere pipes were generally finished from French turned bowls until 1917, when the Calabrian briar started to be used, but not completely. Only in 1920 did Dunhill take the final step in its pipe making operation and began sourcing and cutting all of its own bowls, proudly announcing thereafter that "no French briar was employed".
Hener believes that in the beginning the pipes were obtained from English wholesalers.
I understand that the pipes sold in the period since the opening of the Duke street store in 1907 until opening of his own manufacture on 7 March 1910 were obtained from English wholesalers, possibly from wholesaler Alfred J. Nathan (for the less expensive varnished qualities made from Algerian Briar) and from Adolph Posner (for more expensive Straight Grains). As to the manufacturing origin of those early pipes and if they were manufactured in the UK, France or otherwise, I have no knowledge.Hener, K. S., Product Line Director - The White Spot Smoker's Accessory Division and Walthamstow site.
And after March, with the factory ready to produce, most Dunhill pipes were completely made in-house.
With the opening of its own manufacture, most pipes were completely made in-house. Some of the bowls selected and graded in the first of the manufacturing processes in 1920 possibly came from St. Claude in France. However, as perhaps those were of lessening quality or becoming too expensive, Alfred Dunhill established a bowl-turning unit at 20 St. Pancras Road near King’s Cross station.Hener, K. S., Product Line Director - The White Spot Smoker's Accessory Division and Walthamstow site.
The first pipes were made by two men on the upper floor of Nº. 28 Duke Street. By 1912, when the pipe was well and truly on the market, Father had about half a dozen hand-picked craftsmen in a workshop in Mason's Yard, a short distance from the shop. They worked from eight in the morning until seven at night and, when required to finish pipes the shop would sell next day, later than that. No question of a five-day week or of water to wash with. Like every employee, they received a small commission based on sales and they worked hard because, with the ginger-haired man they called the Guv'nor bounding up the iron staircase several times a day, they were in no doubt about the urgency and importance of their work.Dunhill, Mary, Our Family Business (The Bodley Head - Great Britain, 1979).
In the beginning, Dunhill's pipes were limited production straight grains, hand-cut from over century-old briar burls and fitted with hand-cut 'push' vulcanite bits.
These pipes were individually priced from ten shillings sixpence to over four pounds.· I am not sure how these pipes were stamped but most likely DUNHILL over DUKE ST. S.W. appeared on the shank with either a "B" or a "DR" near the bowl. A "B" stamping is possible since at that point in time "B" denoted Dunhill’s highest quality pipe. On the other hand I believe "DR" more likely as that stamping was being used to denote straight-grained pipes by at least as early as 1915. While these pipes in time became a high-end subset to the Dunhill 'Bruyere' (and later the Root) line initially they should be distinguished as these straight grain pipes were hand-cut in London from burls as opposed to the Bruyere line which was generally finished from French turned bowls until 1920. (The qualifier 'generally' is used here because any pre-1920 OD, HW or letter shape Bruyeres were most probably also carved from burls in London).Loring, J. C., The Dunhill Briar Pipe, The Patent Years and After (self-published, Chicago, 1998)
Hener's information corroborates Loring's, and expands with information about the Motorities pipe production:
If we talk about the earliest Dunhill pipes during the Motorities period (1904 – 1907), there were 3 qualities: A Quality (“First quality Briar, with finest vulcanite hand-finished mouthpiece”), B Quality (“specially selected Briars, hand-made”) and a Popular quality, which was lower grade and price.Hener, K. S., Product Line Director - The White Spot Smoker's Accessory Division and Walthamstow site.
Later, once his own production started, the nomenclature was similar: A Quality, the more expensive B Quality and the much more expensive limited production Straight Grain pipes.
Mary also related that Micrometer measurements have established everything that they needed to know about the shapes and design of bowls. Every Dunhill pipe should have its own specially designed mouthpiece, hand-cut from the finest block vulcanite.
In an article, on fumeursdepipe.net called "Genèse et histoire de la société Adolph Frankau & Co Ltd" it is mentioned that Dunhill also used briar from other English wholesalers.
Richard Esserman thinks that Dunhill subcontracted to BBB the manufacturing of the bowls for his Bent Magnums until 1923. In fact, when the companies of the CIL stopped fighting each other, all the bowls were turned in. The new factory was located in Stratford, Carpenters Road. CIL also bought Zuckerman machines as they were more efficient. The finishing workshops closed, and the pipes were finished at Aldershot and sometimes at Shoeburyness. At that time, it was common practice in commerce to offer other companies surplus stummels at agreed prices. Cadogan used to sell Grade A to Dunhill, and buy him Grade II, III, and IV stummels. But they did not finish the pipes for the other companies: to sell stummels of grade A to Dunhill was more profitable than to make them pipes!See the full article here
Just One More Thing
About Dunhill Today
Alfred Dunhill is one of the brands of the Richemont group and we, The White Spot division, are one of the product divisions within Alfred Dunhill Limited (like Menswear, Leather Goods, Hard products, etc). The pipes are stamped Alfred Dunhill's THE WHITE SPOT. All Dunhill tobacco-related interests (cigarettes, cigars (Dunhill Cigars), pipe tobacco) were sold a long time ago to Rothmans (who many years later merged with BAT). They still belong to BAT today.Kalmon S. Hener, Product Line Director of The White Spot division. May-2019.
- The factory is located in a district in northeastern London, Walthamstow, since 1982. See pictures and video here: Dunhill Factory
In the magazine Pipes and Tobaccos - fall 2010, there is an article By Stephen A. Ross called: "A century of excellence" that talks about the past, the present and the future of the brand. It also talks about the current manufacture of Dunhill pipes and a little about Mr. Kalmon Hener, one of our contributors and Product Line Director of the White Spot Division.
A century after Alfred Dunhill opened his first pipe workshop, Dunhill pipes continue to be synonymous with English excellence. Guarding the flame a century after Alfred Dunhill provided the spark is Kalmon S. Hener, the general manager of Alfred Dunhill Ltd.’s smoking accessory division, now known as the White Spot Division; Stephen Wilson, the production manager who has been with Dunhill for more than 40 years; and approximately 20 employees who make pipes and leather goods at Dunhill’s legendary factory on St. Andrew’s Road in Walthamstow, an area in northeast London not far from White Hart Lane, home stadium to the English Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.Pipes and Tobaccos - Fall 2010.
Dunhill’s position atop the pipe market is strong. According to Hener, 2009 sales in the United States alone were up by more than 60 percent, making it the top market for Dunhill pipes.
- See the full article here, from page 8 to 11.
Current Dunhill Catalogs
- The White Spot - Product News, July 2017 (2017-1) here.
Video Interview with Richard Dunhill
The following video is a wonderful interview of Richard Dunhill from 11-14-1984. Richard is referred to here as "Old Alfred's Grandson".
Note: Richard Dunhill, the grandson of the founder of Alfred Dunhill Ltd., died on August 26, 2016, at the age of 89, having been an employee for 68 years. A son of Vernon Dunhill and grandson of Alfred Dunhill, Mr. Richard, as he was respectfully addressed by most staff, joined the Company in March 1948. He was appointed Executive Director in 1958, Full Director in 1961, Chairman of the Group in 1975 then President in 1989. He celebrated 50 years with the Company in 1998 and became its life-long honorary president.
- See more about Richard Dunhill: "For London's Richard Dunhill, Life's a Lovely Pipe Dream" - People.com (04/13/1981) here
From the day Bill Carter accidentally dropped one onto the green carpet and they had noticed how this colour enhanced the appearance of the grain, pipes were always presented on a green pad under a strong light by salesmen wearing cotton gloves. And so that salesmen could give undivided attention to his costumer, his colleagues - including Father himself - tidied the counter for him , putting away unwanted pipes in the drawers of their cabinets.Dunhill, Mary, Our Family Business (The Bodley Head - Great Britain, 1979).
The following video is a commercial that shows us a bit of Dunhill in 1981.
About the Spot
Although Alfred Dunhill was brilliant, he certainly did not imagine that this indicative dot would become his trademark. In 1923, Dunhill had to go to the courts to defend his creation, which was being replicated by VAUEN. Dunhill was successful, while Vauen had to restrict its use to the German and Austrian borders. The White Spot trademark was first registered in 1923, eleven years after its introduction.
(...)One small problem emerged, however, as customers could not tell which way up to insert the hand-cut vulcanite mouthpiece of straight pipes into the stems of the pipes. Alfred Dunhill therefore ordered white spots to be placed on the true upper sides of the mouthpieces, and thus a world-famous trademark was created.Balfour, Michael, Alfred Dunhill, One Hundred Years and More (Weidenfield and Nicolson, London, 1992).
According to Bill Carter, the White Spot was introduced soon after the pipe-making unit was moved in 1912 from 28 Duke Street to 6 Mason’s Yard, about 40 yards down Duke Street on the left. Mason’s Yard is an interesting and ancient enclave. It was originally called St Alban’s Mews, after the Earl of St Albans, whose trustees were granted the freehold of the whole area in 1665 by the Crown. It was probably renamed after Richard Mason who, in the 1730s, was granted a victualler’s license for the house that became the Mason’s Arms.Balfour, Michael, Alfred Dunhill, One Hundred Years and More (Weidenfield and Nicolson, London, 1992)
By the early 1920's the White Spot had become identified with Dunhill and a trademark for the same was obtained in 1922. In 1923 the company prevailed in enforcing the mark against the white dot of another pipe manufacture (Wolf), and about the same time in America (but not in Europe) against the blue dot of the then new Sassini pipe. On some bits however, mainly amber and ivory, the Dunhill White Spot is really a small black circle that effects the appearance of a White Spot.Loring, J. C., The Dunhill Briar Pipe, The Patent Years and After (self-published, Chicago, 1998).
At first, this rounded marking was thinner and made in celluloid, a species of an acrylic predecessor, which was used until the mid-40s, when it was replaced by high-quality acrylic. Because of its appearance, it was defended for years and by many, that the point was made in ivory. However, that is a widespread legend that lasted for years, as evidenced by the information and tests executed in the Pipes Magazine Forum, in a post called "Dunhill White Spot Drama". See the full article here.
Note: All the stems were made by hand until 1976. They have since been machine made due to labor costs.
About the Inner Tube
In the early 20th century, many pipes were set aside after a long period of use due to obstruction of the airway when they became clogged for lack of maintenance. In 1911 Alfred Dunhill developed a solution to this problem by inserting an aluminum tube, which could be replaced as soon as there were signs of clogging. In this way the use of the pipe was prolonged. The Inner Tube was heavily produced until the 1930s. With the advent of "Scovillions" (or pipe cleaners) the innertubes gradually fell from use.
- 5861/12 was the first patent registered. However, there are other patents for these same tubes, with records in different countries. Examples: 1130806/15-158709/14-116989/17-1343253/20-197365/20-491232/19.
Aluminium inner tubes for the Dunhill pipes were patented in March 1912, but they were being fitted about eighteen months earlier. They sold at one shilling for a packet of six.Balfour, Michael, Alfred Dunhill, One Hundred Years and More (Weidenfield and Nicolson, London, 1992).
The aluminium tubes are still being manufactured (for straight pipes only) and can be purchased from authorised White Spot retailers worldwide. The product sku is PA3104 or now DUPA3104. Hener, K. S., Product Line Director - The White Spot Smoker's Accessory Division and Walthamstow site.
About Sets - Pipe Cases
The first setup (see images on the right.) contains 7 pieces for the weekly rotation, where the days of the week related to each of the pipes, and other cases, including the "Book-Case" (with prices from the 1920s).
In the following images (originally published in the United States Tobacco Journal, the most important in the tobacco industry) we have the Set which was presented by Alfred to the 29th president of the United States in 1921. Warren G. Harding was editor and owner of an important newspaper in Ohio, "the Marion Star ", as well as a member of the Senate before occupying the position of President.
Next, a survivor Set - Alfred Era. It is a set of 3 pieces with a case, made from a single block of the best briar available at the time. Shapes: Billiard-60; Billiard-35; Dublin-42. Ao Series (Bruyère) introduced in 1910. It was the best-quality line, directed at the British nobility. On one side of the shank its stamped "Dunhill London", On the other side: "Inner Tube" Pat. No. 5861/12 5. This patent was used between 1913 and 1926. Therefore, these pieces are from 1925. On the stem: Reg. N °: 654638 and in the case: PAt. N °: 141486/19.
Currently 35 shapes. Occasionally a piece of briar is just asking to be carved into a different shape.
- Here we can see a little bit about them: Dunhill Shapes
- If you want to see the finishes, click here
- If you want to see catalogs, click here
The system of codes and acronyms was introduced in the early 1920s and remains to this day, however, modifications have occurred over time. We had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Hener, who is the product line director of The White Spot division (the Dunhill pipe part of the company), who kindly clarified some issues.
- See more about it here: Dunhill Shape Chart
About Dunhill in France
Dunhill had to diversify its offerings in order to enter the market in France due to a monopoly in the French tobacco industry. Alfred circumvented this challenge very cleverly, by diversifying his offerings (something that was previously practiced back with Dunhill's Motorities). Because the tobacco market was restricted, Dunhill positioned its tobacco offerings in the background of its advertising, while featuring male accessories in the foreground (valise, umbrellas, suits, etc). Thus begins the new phase of Dunhill accessories, and its success entering the tobacco market in France. Some French Flyers:
DUNHILL PARIS. During World War II Dunhill London was unable to supply the Paris retail shop. As a consequence it appears that the Paris shop sourced pipes during those war years from French carvers, stamping the bit with a "D" inside a diamond (very much like the Parker bit stamp which is a "P" within a diamond) - Loring.
About World War II
In mid-1941, during the infamous Luftwaffe Blitz bombing of London, the Alfred Dunhill store (and many others in the surrounding area) were bombed and almost totally destroyed. The restoration was not fully completed until 1953. A popular piece of lore from that period is that Dunhill employees called Sir. Winston Churchill at 4:00 a.m. to ensure him that his private collection of cigars (Dunhill Cigars) housed in the store's humidifier had been transferred safely out of danger.
The Second World War was a difficult time. The rationing that the war promoted was so draconian that Dunhill suffered from the scarcity of raw material until the beginning of the 50 years in the post-war period.
- See more about this phase (including pipes stamps) here: WWII Phase
About Pipe Tobacco
When Alfred Dunhill opened his shop on Duke Street in 1907 it was a tobacco shop. He was a tobacconist, or as he put it in his first catalog a “Mixture Specialist”, prominently displaying a sign in his shop window reading: “Tobacco Specialist”. But first and foremost Alfred Dunhill was a marketer and when he opened his tobacco shop he knew exactly where he wanted to go. In short order, however, he recognized that he had set his sights too low, this is a part of that story.
- See more about this story here: DUNHILL PIPE TOBACCO: 1907 – 1990
- See more about tinned tobacco here: On Dunhill Tinned Tobacco
- See more date tins here: DATING ENGLISH TINNED TOBACCO
- See our Tins Gallery here: Dunhill Tins Gallery
In 1921, only fourteen years after Alfred Dunhill opened his doors, his firm received its first Royal Warrant, as Tobacconist to Edward, Prince of Wales. To mark the happy and commercially valuable event, Alfred commissioned a new Shell Briar pipe shape, shape 314: it had an apple-shaped bowl and a slightly curved stem. Naturally, he named it the 'Prince'. Balfour, Michael, Alfred Dunhill, One Hundred Years and More (Weidenfield and Nicolson, London, 1992).
The Royal Warrant Holders Association was formed in 1840. Its main objective is to ensure the continued existence of the Royal Warrant as a treasured and respected institution. A Royal Warrant of Appointment is a mark of recognition of those who have supplied goods or services to the Households of HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh or HRH The Prince of Wales for at least five years, and who have an ongoing trading arrangement.The Royal Warrant Holders Association.
Dunhill's most important early customer was Edward, Prince of Wales and Dunhill maintained a 'Royal Drawer' in the Duke Street shop in order to have the Prince's usual requisites always at hand. In 1921 Edward gave Dunhill it's first English Royal Warrant and Dunhill proudly displayed the same on it's "About Smoke" catalogues and numerous pipe related accessories and packaging until 1936, when after briefly ascending the throne, Edward abdicated. Edward continued to be a life long customer but following abdication dealt with the Paris and New York shops.
In honor of the 1921 Royal Warrant and with the Prince's permission, Dunhill designed and named a pipe in his honor, the 'Prince' (shape 314, a squat apple with a slightly bent, thin shank). It also blended a new pre-packaged tobacco blend in his honor, the 'Prince of Wales'. Additionally at the Edward's request, Dunhill carved a special 'Ol)' pipe for him in the shape of his profile and with a triangular shank. While both the Prince pipe and the Prince of Wales blend proved quite popular, particularly with Americans, Edward himself, at least in the 1920's, preferred the number 302 pipe shape because it accommodated the Dunhill pipe tobacco cartridge. Loring, J. C., The Dunhill Briar Pipe, The Patent Years and After (self-published, Chicago, 1998).
No doubt the Royal Patronage, first granted in 1921 largely through the custom of Edward, Prince of Wales, a keen pipe smoker, caught their attention just as it attracted members of other royal families. Actors, politicians, writers, lawyers - members of just about every profession were becoming regular customers.Dunhill, Mary, Our Family Business (1979).
- Note: Dunhill received it's first English Royal Warrant from Edward, Prince of Wales in 1921. Thereafter into the 1990's, a Royal Warrant has frequently been displayed in connection with pipes and pipe accessories (most notably pipe cases and tobacco tins) and can often be a useful dating tool. Loring.
In 1921, September 19, Alfred filed patent for self-filling cartridges in US, registration No.1490808. (The British patent was granted in 1920, Patent No. 172198/20. Unfortunately, I did not find the original patent file to know - exactly - when it was registered and granted). This invention relates to improved means for charging or filling pipes for Smoking. The patent was granted in Apr. 15, 1924 in the United States.
For this purpose it has already been proposed to provide a cartridge formed from a cylindrical wad of tobacco furnished with a wrapping or envelope of paper or other material which can be readily torn and with a suitable length of tape or the like secured to the said wrapping or envelope and so disposed with respect thereto that the tape, will when pulled serve as means for tearing the wrapping or envelope and for removing the same either before or after the insertion of the cartridge into the bowl of the pipe.UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE - ALFRED DUNHILL, OF LONDON, ENGLAND. MEANS FOR CHARGING SMOKING PIPES. Serial No. 501,552.
My present invention relates to an in proved form of cartridge, which is easy to manufacture and simple and convenient in use.
The product appears in "About Smoke" catalog - "Dunhill Tobaccos" section.
— the cool, dry, mild smoke of a cigarette combined with the satisfying qualities of a pipe.About Smoke.
- See more about patent registration int the US here.
The Dunhill developed a seal to assure its customers that the service had been executed at the factory. Here we have two examples: the first, with seal and label (Bruyère 1965). The second, only with the seal.
A SEAL is attached to every Dunhill Pipe after it has received attention in the Dunhill Factory
In 1938, Dunhill licensed the production of tobacco to a major company in Germany, the "German Tobacco Company Von Eicken ", in a negotiation that evolved slowly, beginning in 1926.
The curious fact is that this licensing occurred during the Nazi regime and the production continued until mid-1943, when the factory was bombed by the Allied forces in Hamburg. Observe at the bottom of the can: "Hergestellt in Deutschland ", which translated would be: "manufactured in Germany ".
See the full article here: Vintage Dunhill tobacco made in… Germany!?
In 2004, Ben Rapaport made a trip to Richard Dunhill office to conduct a formal appraisal of the library that his grandfather had amassed, because it was headed to auction along with the antique pipe collection. The auction took place shortly thereafter on Wednesday 12 May 2004 at 10.30 am. The catalog description:
|Christie’s South Kensington, London.|
|Furniture and Decorative Objects including The Private Collection of Pipes, Tobacco Jars and Books of Mr. Alfred Dunhill (FRN-9840).|
|May 12, 2004|
On March 8th of the same year, Will Bennett announced the auction in his column in The Telegraph:.
"Mr. Dunhill began buying pipes, tobacco jars and books on smoking to put in a display cabinet in the shop in St James's but what began as a commercial tactic soon turned into a private passion. A pipe smoker himself, Mr. Dunhill collected pipes and tobacco jars from every corner of the world.
The archive is keeping a few pieces but 120 lots will be auctioned, including a Meerschaum pipe bowl dating from 1880 which could fetch up to £1,200. A pair of late-18th century Delft tobacco jars is estimated at £3,000 to £5,000, while a catalogue of books about tobacco published in 1874 could fetch £3,000.
"He was a real entrepreneur," said Peter Tilley, curator of Dunhill's museum and archive. "He started the pipe collection as a way of supporting his nascent business. But I think that they were very much his personal purchases."
The value of the final bid was not revealed. Pipe Dreams at Christie’s (In PDF)
About Additional Stamps
One of the many points that arouses curiosity, namely, the various nomenclature used through the time. Throughout the history of the brand many products have been launched and, with this, new stamps. Some remain inexplicable, staying only in the field of speculation. Others, however, bring to light valuable information. As a rule, they served for internal control of production, storage and handling, also assisting retailers. Here, we'll see some interesting and singular examples.
- See more about it here: Dunhill Additional Stamps
It is a highly unusual shape for a Dunhill, of course. It is graded 3 Amber Flames. This was one of 4 prototypes made for a set of pipes that were made for the Dunhill Jules Verne Journey to the Center of the Earth 3 pipe cased set that reportedly sold for $96,000 in Paris in the early 2000s. One of the 3 pipes was an extra-large volcano similar to my pipe you see here. In other words, my pipe was one of the “loser" pipes. In the Dunhill volcano pipe that was finally chosen for the set, 24 karats gold “lava” was running down the sides of the bowl to represent lava erupting from the volcano (pipe) as in the novel. Fred J. Hanna.
- See more pictures here: Rarities Gallery
Ladies pipe with interchangeable bowls, circa 1918. All 4 bowls are cut out of single briar root. It was the best-quality line (A).
Set has 2 stems and both are stamped with Dunhill Reg. Number.
Pipes were made at the end of 1918. Original Dunhill patented case is dated 1919.
Only 1 bowl (picture 2) has been very lightly smoked - there are traces of charring at the rim but the original Bruyere finish is still visible inside the bowl. The other 3 bowls are unsmoked.
- See more pictures here: Rarities Gallery
Kevin writes that "the late Mr. John Loring and I were in his room discussing the cataloging of various stampings on pre-WWII Dunhill mouthpieces when the discussion turned towards the peculiar year of 1924. John and I had several Bruyere pipes in our collection that had the even-width DUNHILL over LONDON stampings that are normally dated to 1918. However, four of these pipes were all date-coded to 1924. I remarked that I had only seen one Dunhill pipe that was a definitively-stamped 1918, and this is that pipe. What is more, the <AD> factory hallmarked sterling silver on this pipe is also hallmarked to 1918 (leopard's head, lion passant, date letter of c).
This pipe helped to confirm Loring's work in dating these pipes, and my cataloging of five PROV. PRO stamped mouthpieces. The PROV. PRO mouthpiece stampings (also on this pipe, but faint) were on the earliest Dunhill pipes. I have only seen this stamp on Duke St. stamped pipes and this particular pipe here.
So, what you are looking at is a very rare 1918 Dunhill shape 60 of solid proportions (a group 4+) in extraordinarily fine condition. This is the mate to my 1917 shell of the same shape (a "notched shell", as John called them), and will be a fine and very important addition to the Dunhill collector. These 1918 stamped pipes are much rarer than the arched DUNHILL-stamped pipes of 1919.
Our bands always carry at least an AD mark (in a diamond frame) and “925” for Sterling silver. Sometimes may not have the full Assay office hallmarks (which are not required if the silver weight does not exceed 7 grams). Kalmon S. Hener. Product Line Director - The White Spot Smoker's Accessory Division and Walthamstow site.
- See more pictures here: Rarities Gallery
The Bent-Rhodesian in Root finish was made in 1984 and of course, it shows the white dot on the Vulcanite stem. It's 7 millimeters (!) long and weighs 0.005 Gramm (!) but theoretically, it is absolutely functional. On display in Dunhill's London showroom. - Space Shuttle was inspired by the space shuttles riding atop a Boing 747 en route back to Florida from Edwards airbase. - Cologne Cathedral was a special order made for Cologne pipe-trader Peter Heinrichs in 2005. It is a rare Dunhill Freehand Straight Grain 4 stars pipe in oversize (XL). The lid is worked – like the Cologne cathedral itself – out of 925 sterling silver. The smoke can escape through several holes in the lid as well as through the head portal of the cathedral. The pipe is therefore fully operable, but will hardly ever be smoked. The pipe (value: Euro 10,000) was blessed by the Cologne Cardinal Meißner (!!!) and received a display place in the Cologne City Museum.
- See more pictures here: Rarities Gallery
About Special Series
The White Spot Eiffel Tower Pipe
On 15th March 2007, Kalmon S. Hener began to sketch a pipe based on the Eiffel Tower. This project has taken more than six years to complete. The Smokers Division of Alfred Dunhill Ltd., the London luxury-goods maker, set out to create a pipe that would embody elegant living, high art, and fine craftsmanship. Kalmon Hener, the brand’s product line director, designed a singular piece based on the Eiffel Tower, and like the structure itself, it is a marvel of intricacy and engineering. The project was completed in 2013, as Dunhill renamed its Smokers Division the White Spot .
With a bowl carved from a single piece of flawless briarwood and a tower hand-cut from sheets of 18-karat gold and embellished with 492 diamonds, 140 sapphires, 20 rubies, and a cornflower-blue 3.75-carat Sri Lankan sapphire. A cabinet decorated with an inlaid image of workers building the Eiffel Tower holds the pipe and five rare books about the Paris landmark, including volumes commissioned by Gustave Eiffel in 1900. The entire piece is valued at $3.5 million. “This is not a pipe,” Hener says, unintentionally alluding to René Magritte’s surrealist painting The Treachery of Images. “It is a symbol.” By Richard Carleton - Robb Report, on November 1, 2013 
- See more examples here: Dunhill Special Series
The first pipe stamped with “Alfred Dunhill's THE WHITE SPOT” (instead of the Dunhill longtail logo in an elliptical circle) was the now-famous Eiffel Tower pipe (with the 3 lines all horizontal and parallel). For subsequent pipes, we made a new stamp, whereby “Alfred” and “Dunhill's” are arched and the “THE WHITE SPOT” stayed straight for other pipes. This stamp is in continuous use since March 2012.Hener, K. S., Product Line Director - The White Spot Smoker's Accessory Division and Walthamstow site.
Then there are the straight grain designations, perhaps the ne plus ultra of pipe collecting. With Alfred Dunhill, this category takes on a whole new aura of exclusivity. The rarest straight grains are stamped DR (which stands for “Dead Root,” referring to the underground burl of the heath tree from which the oldest and usually best-figured briar is cut). Currently, the DR series ranges from one to six stars; the more stars, the tighter and more uniform the grain. Beyond that, the DR designation ventures into the stratosphere of a rarity with alphabetical letters, starting with DRG, and the even scarcer DRH.Richard Carleton Hacker - SMOKE - Spring 2002
The Dead Root idea was conceived at the end of the 1920s and then realized in the early 1930 years. The Dead-Root brought a stronger grain feature to the already well established "Bruyère" (from 1932 on it received the same finish). The D.R. models are perfect. Made with the best Briar available and that is – compulsorily – "Straight Grain". They are rare models of considerable value, which vary according to the graduation of the grain.
In 2000, a new D.R. series was launched with amber contrast finish and stronger grains, called "Amber Flame". It's also a limited edition and they follow the same criteria but classified with "flames" instead of stars. Like his brother, only the best grains are selected to make the Amber Flame which is finished with an amber-colored stain and a black vulcanite mouthpiece.
- Read more about it here: About Dunhill Dead Root
- See more examples here: Dunhill Dead Root
The original finish produced (usually made using Calabrian briar), and a big part of developing and marketing the brand. It was the only finish from 1910 until 1917. A dark reddish-brown stain. Before the 1950s, there were three possible finishes for Dunhill pipes. The Bruyere was a smooth finish with a deep red stain, obtained through two coats, a brown understain followed by a deep red.
- See more about here: Dunhill Bruyere
A deep craggy sandblast with a black stain finish (usually made using Algerian briar) - the color of the stain used has varied over the years. Although there is some doubt as to them being the first to sandblast pipes, Dunhill's Shell pipes, and the sandblasting techniques developed to create them are considered one of Dunhill's greatest and most lasting contributions to the art of pipe making.
The documented history of Dunhill's inception of the Shell is largely limited to patent applications — there are no catalog pages or advertisements promoting blasted pipes at the time. The preliminary work on the English patent (No. 1484/17) was submitted on October 13, 1917. The patent submission was completed half a year later, on April 12, 1918, followed by the granting of the English patent on October 14, 1918. This was less than a month before the end of The Great War on November 11th.
In 1986 Dunhill released a line of premium Shell finish pipes - "RING GRAIN". These are high-quality straight grain pipes which are sandblasted. Initially only Ring Grain, but now in two different finishes. In 1995 the "Shilling" was introduced with Cumberland finish - it is an extremely rare series. These pipes exhibit a deeper blast characteristic of that of the 1930's - mid-1960's (and the limited 'deep blast' pipes of the early 1980s) and show a fine graining pattern. These are considered the best new Dunhills by many enthusiasts today and are very rare. The finish is sometimes described as tasting like vanilla at first, with the taste becoming more normal or good as the pipe breaks in.
- See more about this incredible pipe here: The History of Dunhill's Shell
- See more examples here: Dunhill Shell
- See more about the patents applied here: Shellbriar & Tanshell, Patents 1917-1954
Introduced in 1931 and highly prized because the grain is more pronounced in this finish (usually made using Corsican briar). The Root Briar finish requires a perfectly clean bowl with excellent graining. Therefore, it is the most expensive of the Dunhill pipes. Corsican briar was most often used for the Root finish since it was generally more finely grained. This is a rare finish, due to the scarcity of briar suitable to achieve it. These pipes are normally only available at Company stores, or at Principle Pipe Dealers. Straight grained pipes were formerly graded A through H, but are now only "Dr's" and graded with one to six stars, with the letters G and H still used for the very finest pieces.
Dunhill introduced its third major finish, the Root finish, in 1931. Corsican mountain briar is characteristically beautifully grained and the Root was made exclusively from that briar into the 1960s. The pipe was finished with a light natural stain to allow the beauty of the graining to show through. Although always available with a traditional black vulcanite bit, the Root was introduced in either 1930 or more likely 1931 and fitted with a marble brown dark and light grained vulcanite bit that has since become known as the 'bowling ball' bit because of the similarity in appearance between the bit's finish and that of some bowling balls of the time. With the war, however, the bowling ball bit was dropped from production. Through 1954 (and after) the Root pipe nomenclature (including shape numbers) was identical to that of the Bruyere except that instead of the "A" of the Bruyere, the Root was stamped with an "R". In 1952 when the finish rather then LONDON was placed under DUNHILL, ROOT BRIAR rather then BRUYERE was used for the Root.Loring, J. C., The Dunhill Briar Pipe, The Patent Years and After (self-published, Chicago, 1998).
- See more examples here: Dunhill Root Briar
The first lot was distributed in 1952 (usually made using Sardinian briar). The prototype was called "Root Shell ", produced in 1951. The Tanshell is a light tan sandblast. Sardinian briar was used for this sandblast. There is a distinct contrast in the sandblasts using Sardinian as opposed to Algerian briar. The Sardinian is much denser and much harder. The resulting pattern, when blasted, is far more even and regular both in terms of the surface texture and the finish.
The TanShell was Dunhill's fourth finish and its first major post-war line addition. Introduced in 1951/1952 the TanShell was a naturally stained sandblasted pipe made exclusively from Sardinian briar through the 1960s. The TanShell apparently was not simply a light stained Shell but rather was also the product of "certain processes [unrevealed] not previously employed." Initially, it appears that the pipe was to be named the Root Shell and a stamp to that effect was ordered and received by Dunhill in May 1951. Ultimately, however, the name TanShell was settled upon but the stamp for the TanShell name was not received by Dunhill until the beginning of December. Thus while the Tanshell was in production in 1951 it appears that most if not all TanShells made in that year did not enter into retail distribution until 1952 and were given a 1952 date code.Loring, J. C., The Dunhill Briar Pipe, The Patent Years and After (self-published, Chicago, 1998).
- See more examples here: Dunhill Tanshell
- See more about the patents applied here: Shellbriar & Tanshell, Patents 1917-1954
Introduced in 1972, the Redbark is a reddish stained sandblast, and is the most famous of Dunhill’s retired finishes. Originally, the stain was a medium red. A couple of years later the stain was changed to a brighter red, almost pinkish in color. The almost pink color caused pipe sales to plummet. In 1976, the stain was changed back to the original darker medium red finish. The Redbark finish was officially retired in 1987. The County and Russet finishes have also been retired.
- See more examples here: Dunhill Red Bark
Black Briar is a dark finish with vein contrasted in black, after the appearance of the dress finish in 1973 and due to its success this finish ended up disappearing.
The Ruby bark pipe is stained with a deep red color to enhance the sandblasted finish. The finish disappeared, but was re-introduced a few years ago and is now one of the most popular finishes. Each pipe is adorned with a silver 6mm band for which there is no extra charge. The mouthpieces are a hand-cut black vulcanite stem.
Introduced in 1973, the Dress is a black smooth finish designed to look elegant with a tux or other formal ware--refined and sophisticated. A smooth jet-black stain with a black bit gives this line of pipes the distinctive elegance that has come to be associated with the Dunhill name.
Introduced in 1979. Cumberland is another sandblast with a brown stain and a brindle stem (the material is more commonly called ‘Cumberland’ these days, thanks to Dunhill’s influence and the success of the finish over the past quarter-century). Originally, the Cumberland always featured a smooth brown rim, but in the current production the rim is sometimes smooth, sometimes sandblasted. Occasionally, a straight grain blast is finished with a Cumberland stain and a “Shilling Grain,” similar to the “Ring Grain,” resulting in a new variation on the traditional sandblast. The Shilling series is named for the British coin: the sandblast looks like a stack of shillings. Named after the warehouse on Cumberland Road. The old pipes that inspired this finish were found there.
A rich, deep walnut color complemented by the Cumberland mouthpiece – it was introduced in 1983 to commemorate the closing of the Cumberland Road warehouse. The same stain and stem material as used on the Cumberland, but on a smooth bowl. Like the Bruyere, the finish is smooth to the feel and will lighten in time to show off the grain, which is usually cross-grain top and bottom with birds-eye on the sides of the bowl. Irrespective of shape, size or finish, all Dunhill pipes are of one quality only – the finest.
A tan sandblast with a Cumberland mouthpiece. Introduced in 1986, but it has been discontinued at the end of 1987. A limited reissue of 150 pieces was made available in 2006. After that, the production has been resumed, it's available now. Many enthusiasts find the County to be an excellent smoking finish
Having been introduced in December of 1988 and retired sometime in 2000. A medium reddish-brown stain and smooth finish that has since been retired.
"The Russet finish was introduced in the year 1988 and, according to our files, we used the Russet stamp last time in the year 2000. The Russet finish was discontinued as it was commercially not as successful as other finishes that existed at the time, so it was decided to be rationalized. Kalmon S. Hener. Product Line Director - The White Spot Smoker's Accessory Division and Walthamstow site."
Introduced in 1995. A warm yellow orange stain, reminicent of the original Root Briar finish. Cumberland stems were used, although recently, Amber Root pipes have appeared with black stems. This is also a limited production pipe that is found in mainly Company stores and Principle Pipe Dealers. Straight grained pipes are made available in this finish under the name Amber-flame, and are graded from one to three flames.
Period Guide (1910 - 2014)
|Bruyere||1910 - Present|
|DR/DRR||1910 - 1930/1931 - Present|
|Shell||1917/1918 - Present|
|Root||1930/1931 - Present|
|Tanshell||1952 - Present|
|Redbark / Rubybark||1972/73 - 1987 Becomes Ruby - Present|
|Collector||1978 - Present|
|Richard Dunhill||1979 - Present|
|Black / Dress||1973-1978 / 1979 - Present|
|Cumberland||1979 - Present|
|Chestnut||1982 - Present|
|County||1986-1987 / 2006 - Present|
|Ring Grain / Shilling||1986-1994 / 1995 - Present|
|Russet||1988 - 2000 (discontinued).|
|Amber Root||1995 - Present|
|Amber Flame||2000 - Present|
- Note: Table taken from Loring's book with minor changes.
Loring, J. C., The Dunhill Briar Pipe, The Patent Years and After (self-published, Chicago, 1998). Used by permission.
About Different Pipes
In 1978 the Collector series was introduced. A free-hand pipe using the plateau in different finishes.
A line of well grained, almost "DR" quality 'root' finished pipes stamped "Collector". The pipes in this series are generally larger and usually much larger then the typical "DR". They are often found in non-traditional 'Danish' style shapes and even when the shape is mostly traditional there is frequently a non-traditional touch. Larger Collectors are sometimes stamped XL.Loring, J. C., The Dunhill Briar Pipe, The Patent Years and After (self-published, Chicago, 1998).
- See more examples here: Dunhill Collector
Dunhill manufactured a Gourd Calabash starting in the 1970's and up to the late 1990’s.
"We made Gourd Calabash pipes from the 1970’s up to late 1990’s. As we could in the last years not obtain suitable Gourds in the quality required, we have not made them since. Kalmon S. Hener. Product Line Director - The White Spot Smoker's Accessory Division and Walthamstow site."
- See more examples here: Dunhill Gourd Calabash
"In some of its catalogs in the sixties and seventies, Dunhill did some promoting of the "DriWay". Essentially its an embedded clay filter that was referred to as "Kaoloid". The DriWay was only utilized in the Shell Briar series. If you collect Dunhill "Gadget" pipes, this would be a great novelty to consider. It's amazing that the briar cap screws off and the ceramic filter is in fine shape.
- See more about here: Dunhill Driway
Apparently Dunhill made Meerschaum pipes in the late 1960's, or had them made for them. Richard Esserman reports the NYC Dunhill store carried them.
In the past we could obtain the raw material from Turkey. Nowadays, the Turkish government banned the export of Meerschaum as a raw material and only allows export of finished goods; that is why we stopped using this material and currently do not manufacture Meerschaum pipes.Hener, K. S., Product Line Director - The White Spot Smoker's Accessory Division and Walthamstow site.
- See more examples here: Dunhill Meerschaum
Dunhill Patents - Archives
- Vernon Dunhill - Mouthpiece (1937). Pat. No. 1861910;
- Alfred Dunhill - Tobacco Pipe, Cigar Holder and The Like (1920). Pat. No. 1343253;
- Alfred Dunhill - Tobacco Pipe (1915). "Patented Mar. 9, 1915." No. 1130806;
- Alfred Dunhill - Tobacco Pipe (1920). Pat. No. 1341418;
- Alfred Dunhill - Advertising Device (1906). Pat. No. 812191;
- Alfred Dunhill - APARATUS FOR SEASONING AND FINISHING TOBACO PIPES (1921). Pat. No. 1383193;
- Alfred Dunhill - Tobacco Pipe (1923). Pat. No. 1463684;
- Alfred Dunhill - MEANS FOR CHARGING SMOKING PIPES (1924). Pat. No. 1490808;
- Alfred Dunhill - CASE FOR PIPES AND FOR CIGAR AND cIGARETre HOLDERS (1924). Pat. No. 1503354.
Dunhill Articles & Catalogs
A famous catalog, filled with with information (and misinformation) about Dunhill, great pictures of pipes, cigars (Dunhill Cigars), humidors, lighters, cigarette holders, clocks, and other accessories. Includes the peculiar assertion that straight grained pipes are cut from the center or "heart" of the root--whereas no pipes are ever cut from this portion! A great resource.Goldberger
- See here: About Smoke
- Here is a complete 1951 Dunhill Catalog (printed in the UK). The catalog includes lighters, accessories, pouches, smokers´furniture, tobaccos, cigars and cigar cabinets (Dunhill Cigars), cigarette holders and even matches. See the entire catalog here:
- Here is a complete 1966-67 Dunhill Catalog, courtesy of Václav Blahovec Dunhill 1966-67 Catalog. It was printed in the UK so the prices are mostly in Shillings, with the exception of the Dunhill DR pipes, which are in pounds. The catalog includes lighters, accessories, pouches, smokers´furniture, tobaccos, cigars and cigar cabinets (Dunhill Cigars), cigarette holders and even matches. Very interesting! Here are a couple of pages, but you'll want to see the entire catalog:
- And here is a complete 1969-70 Dunhill Catalog, courtesy of Radek Jůza. Dunhill 1969-70 Catalog. When we compare these two catalogs we can see that the price has changed from shillings to pounds. The value of the pipes is similar, but DR pipes are much more expensive than in 1967. And there are many more accessories, including jewelry, clocks, silver, crystal glass, drinking accessories, Dunhill toiletries, and gifts from Alfred´s bar and novelties.
A Tail of Two Briars
Abstract: R.D. Fields writes, "As a pipe collector, a pipe hobbyist, and as a Dunhill principal pipe dealer, I hear comments over and over again about the comparative merits of the older pipes versus the newer models. Most discussion centers on the quality of the briar and the sweetness of the smoke. I hear comments such as "I love my old Dunhill pipes, but these new ones... I don't know."
People I consider to be very knowledgeable on the subject of 20th Century briar swear that, by far, the sweetest smoke comes from those Dunhill pipes bearing a patent number (pre-1955); they will not even smoke those made after 1968, believed to be of substandard quality.
The used pipe trade has followed the same trend - patent number Dunhills are commanding a higher price than those made from 1955-1968, and a still higher price than those made after 1968.
Due to the mystique surrounding the older Dunhill pipe, there is, indeed, a need to explore any factual basis behind the "myth". This, reader, is the purpose of this article." Read A Tail of Two Briars, by R.D. Fields. The Art of Sandblasting is another excellent R.D. Fields article on what may very well be Alfred Dunhill's greatest contribution to the world of pipes.
John C. Loring Articles
John C. Loring, now a "broken pipe", was a leading authority on Dunhill pipes. His excellent book, "The Dunhill Briar Pipe - the patent years and after", is an essential addition to any Dunhill collector's library. Sadly, John Loring's website is down. His son, Michael Loring had hoped to get the site back up, but that appears unlikely at this point. In addition to the Dunhill Briar Pipe, Loring wrote several important articles, which he had graciously allowed Pipedia to publish. Some made it here before his website disappeared. Very thankfully, several others were contributed by Jean-Christophe Bienfait, who has also translated them into French, and the rest have recently been added by Yang Forcióri, who also had all the photos. We think we have all them here now. If you know of anything we're missing, and have it, please add it here, or send it to firstname.lastname@example.org , and we can add it for you.
- Loring's Pipe Collection
- Dunhill Retail Price List
- UPDATE PAGE -- ERRATA and NEW INFORMATION - THE DUNHILL BRIAR PIPE, The Patent Years and After.
- A DUNHILL ERRATA SHEET FOR R. C. HACKER'S "RARE SMOKE"
- THE DUNHILL WHITE SPOT GUARANTEE -- Dunhill's guarantee is generally credited as the impetus for implementing the date codes, as well as establishing its reputation. Dunhill expert, John C. Loring has written an excellent article on its establishment and refinement.
- Musing On Bits: "Dunhill’s ‘push’ bit while not invented by Dunhill may well have been an important reason for its early success."
- The Earliest Dunhill?
- THE POST WWII “ODA/800” SERIES
- Dunhill Carved Heads
- DATING ENGLISH TINNED TOBACCO
- A DUNHILL ODA SHAPE CHART
- A DUNHILL DATING CORRECTION
- DUNHILL PIPE TOBACCO: 1907 – 1990
- A Hypothetical WWII Pipe
- In Search of the First Shell
- Grading the Pre World War II Dunhill Bruyere DR
- Some 1979 Dunhill: About the unfortunate episode of the 1979 "Sale" Pipes.
- The Early Dunhill OD
- Two Early Dunhills
- The 1980s Fake Dunhill
- Dunhill's Blends
- On Dunhill Tinned Tobacco
- The Dunhill 482 Billiard
- Dunhill Large Billiard Variations
- Deciphering an ODB 831
- The Extra Long Shank Dunill Canadian
- An eBay ES
- A Duke Street 'DR'
- The Poor Man's Dunhill Mini-Magnum -- The 1976 Jumbo (By John Loring with Richard Esserman)
- The Atypical LC (in PDF), French Translation, by Jean-Christophe Bienfait
- Dunhill Blends Appearing in its Catalogs from 1910 - 1990 (in PDF)
- The Pre-'25 Dunhill Pipe (In PDF, written 9/1997), French Translation, by Jean-Christophe Bienfait
We hope to uncover find more Loring articles. If you know where we can find any we're missing, please send them to email@example.com
John C. Loring - Perhaps the greatest collection that ever existed. Remembering Loring's Pipe Collection
G.L. Pease has a nice collection of Dunhills: The Mystery of the White Spot - Pipes from Dunhill (on Pipedia). On Greg's Website
Foggymountain has a collection of 100, 21st century Dunhill smokers. He may be reached through pipesmagazine.com (Nov 2014)
- Here Dunhill Collections we have a list of collectors and their collections around the world.
A selection of "Smokers" (pictured left)
1998 Amber Root 4 1993 Shell 5108 1984 Cumberland 3103 1972 Bruyere 57 Date Obscured. Shell Pat. Weak Bottom Row 1979 Red Bark 31031 1999 Shell 4103 1958 ES Tanshell No Date ES Shell Pat.No.1341418/20 Date Obscured Bruyere EC 4A 1957 Root 713
More "Smokers" (pictured right)
1963 Root 40 1937 Root Pat.1343253/20 472 1971 Bruyere EO 4A 1988 Russet 5112 Middle Row 1990 Tanshell 4103 1992 Shell 5124 1956 Shell 252 1964 Shell 6 LBS 1979 Cumberland 41022 1988 Russet 4114 Bottom Left Date? Root 48 4A
1990 Shell 5601 Church Warden 1964 Shell 519 Feather Bone 1935 Shell Feather Bone 1986 4107 Dress 1967 Shell Cavalier on left
A Dunhill Pipe Dating Guide
We are working on a unique guide, joining the best guides available. Still under construction, but very soon will be ready. It's our Dunhill Dating Guide.
Dunhill is the only factory-made pipe that can be accurately dated. This contributes to its popularity with collectors, but it can be difficult to accurately date any given pipe. We have imported R.D. Fields A Dunhill Pipe Dating Guide to Pipedia, by permission of the author.
- Note: This guide is very helpful, but there are discrepancies in both the literature regarding the nomenclature and anomalies in the nomenclature itself.
We also highly recommend the book by Dunhill expert, John C. Loring called, "The Dunhill Briar Pipe - 'the patent years and after'.
- Note: Unfortunately, John passed away several years ago, and his website has disappeared. Fortunately, all articles were saved here: John C. Loring with contributions by: Jean-Christophe Bienfait, Yang Forcióri, and Doug Valitchka.
Pipedia in Press
The Nordic Smoker's Guild (NSG) in his last publication of the year, (December 2019 - its a quarterly publication), the "Piper & Tobak" (a Danish magazine) No. 165, did mention the work that is developed on this page.
Many people already know about www.pipedia.org, where all kinds of information about pipes are available. Some information needs a critical approach, but most often it is an excellent source of knowledge. If you are interested in Dunhill, a lot of new material has emerged thanks to a very enthusiastic young Brazilian named Yang Forcióri. Among other things, he has provided a lot of articles by the late John C. Loring, who was named the leading Dunhill authority.
Our compliments to the editor, Mr. Carsten Andersen. "Relax with your pipe!" Tak!
If you have something to add or suggest, please contact us:
S.E.THILE Handmade Pipes E-mail: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Yang Forcióri Brasília, Distrito Federal - Brazil E-mail: mailto:email@example.com
Alfred Dunhill Manufacturing Limited Official site: http://www.whitespot.co.uk/ 32 St Andrews Road, London E17 6BQ; Telephone: +44 (0)20 8498 4000; Fax: +44 (020) 8498 4077; Email: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dunhill markings : Stampings pics from 1918 to now.
- Dunhill dating Your pipe in one hand and the mouse in the other
- : Grace's Guide - Alfred Dunhill.
- :Trompeter, Barbara. Dunhill, Alfred (1872–1959). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
Thanks to Ben Rapaport, who sent us the taking off point for this Dunhill bibliography he titled The Dunhill Legacy. Ben is an excellent source of rare and out of print tobacco related titles and can be reached by E-mail: email@example.com:
- Balfour, Michael, Alfred Dunhill, One Hundred Years and More (Weidenfield and Nicolson, London, 1992)
- Blei, Davide, and Bottoni, Luciano, The Dunhill Petrol Lighter: A Unique Story (2004)
- Dunhill, Alfred
- The Pipe Book (1924; 1969 and later reprints)
- The Gentle Art of Smoking (1954 and later reprints)
- The Story of Dunhill's, 1907-1957
- The Story of Dunhill’s, 1907–1970
- Dunhill Ltd., Pleasures of the Pipe (1967)
- Dunhill Ltd., 1928 catalog, about Smoke, An Encyclopedia of Smoking. A facsimile is available through BriarBooks Press
- Dunhill, Mary, Our Family Business (1979)
- Foulkes, Nick, Dunhill by Design: A Very English Story (Flammarion, Paris, 2005)
- Hutt, Julia, and Overbury, Stephen, Namiki: Alfred Dunhill Namiki. The Art of Japanese Lacquer Pens (Pens Unlimited, 2000)
- Loring, J. C.,
- The Dunhill Briar Pipe, The Patent Years and After (self-published, Chicago, 1998)
- Dunhill Catalogs.
- Vol. I. The Early Years, 1910–1926
- Vol. II. The Elegant Years, 1927–1935
- Vol. III. The Later Years, 1936–1962
- Vol. IV. Dunhill Catalogs & Patents. An Addendum (self-published, Chicago, 1999)
Note: If you know of Dunhill related publications that should be included, please add them here, or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can add them for you.