Dunhill Curiosities

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Dunhill London Mixture made in Germany

Dunhill London Mixture made in Germany

In 1938, Dunhill licensed the production of tobacco to a major company in Germany, the Joh. Wilh. von Eicken GmbH, 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 ".


Pipe-Pack Tin.
Pipe-Pack Tin.
Pipe-Pack Tin.
Pipe-Pack Tin.

In 1921, September 19, Alfred filed a patent for self-filling cartridges in the 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.
My present invention relates to an in proved form of a 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.

Repairs to Dunhill Pipes

About Smoke - Repairs

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

About Dunhill Gold and Silver Bands

Les Wood's workshop.

We were talking to Mr. Leslie Wood to resolve some controversies about the application of these gold and silver bands. Leslie "Les" John Wood worked for Dunhill in the '60s. He started in 1963 in the Dunhill silver mounting department and left after 19 years. He ran the department with 3 other collaborators. They were given trays of 30 pipes at a time and put silver or gold bands on them (mostly silver). His last position was as master silversmith. Following his tenure with Dunhill, Les formed his own brand, L. & J.S. Briars, together with his wife Dolly, in 1978. Les Wood follows Sasieni, the first ex-Dunhill worker to start their own enterprise, and he was followed by William John "Ashton"-Taylor. After he left his job at the Dunhill factory in the beginning of the '80s, Dunhill decided to outsource this work. During the transition process, Mr. Wood acquired all of the machinery (which is still operable to this day) and he was contracted to make Dunhill bands at his workshop until 2008.

The silver used in these bands is 925 and the gold range from 9K, 14K, and 18K. Usually, pipes come out of the factory with these bands, but can be added on-demand from customers. This original bands always carry at least, an AD mark (in a diamond frame) and 925 for Sterling silver. Sometimes, the silver band does not have the full assay office hallmarks (which are not required if the silver weight does not exceed 7 grams)

Mr. Hener (Product Line Director - The White Spot) told us that they did and still do structural repairs like cracked stems, and plug bowls (if possible), and those repairs are simply amazing these days. In case they are replacing a broken stem or repairing a shank, they replicate the original stampings that were on the pipe before to keep it as original as possible. They don't add any stamp to register this service, as many believe. Occasionally, though, weird things happen.

In the past, some bands have been added over the stamps — evidence that it was a later addition, i.e, an after-sale addition. Contrary to what we believed, sometimes this type of addition was executed in the factory and approved by quality control, as Mr. Wood relates. This kind of band addition over the stamps does not occur these days.

Aspas-copy.pngIn the factory, some pipes were mounted over the stamp, as quality control demanded. If the pipe was finished they would rather have the band cover the stamp rather than take the stamp out.Aspas.png Les Wood.


Mr. Wood also said that every band for every pipe was individually made to fit that pipe only, and the band made by him has a crack in the corner of the "AD" diamond frame stamp (he broke the stamp and never got it replaced. As far as he can remember, it broken just after he left Dunhill's around 1979. It broke, probably, around 1981). We talked about the existence of bands lacking a date code, but he had no information to offer. The reasons for these anomalies are presently unknown.

Pipe Dreams at Christie’s, The Private Collection of Pipes, Tobacco Jars & Books of Mr. Alfred Dunhill.

Alfred's Collection - ©CHRISTIE’S.

In 2004, Ben Rapaport made a trip to Richard Dunhill's 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:[1].

"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 Fellowship of The White Spot


A fellowship was created to connect Dunhill pipe smokers aficionados and keep them well informed about the new products through illustrated publications containing newsletters and letters from customers. The forms were made available in stores and were also inserted into the product boxes.

So don't expect to see Alfred Dunhill pursuing a host of younger smokers by creating novel tv products or by trying to graft on some kind of MTV image to its brand values. Instead, it is attempting to attract more customers - young and old - by emphasising the enduring social qualities associated with pipe smoking. The grandly named Fellowship of the White Spot is at the forefront of its activities. (The white spot was first introduced in 1912 because customers could not tell which side of the vulcanite mouthpiece should point upwards. It has since become a hallmark, indicating that the pipe is fit to bear the Dunhill name). ‘We’ve created a forum where pipe smokers all over the world can communicate with each other,’ explains Philpott. The idea is that smokers join the Fellowship via their local Principal Dealer. Through the Fellowship’s magazine, the company can offer product news and special offers, but it can also receive feedback from smokers and put individuals in touch with one another. Special offers can be made, and a generally closer manufacturer-customer relationship can be forged. ‘Fellowship sums it up. Pipe smokers are fellowship-type people. They are usually easy-going, friendly, easy to get-to-know people. The Fellowship carries that ambience.’

The Fellowship dovetails neatly with the essential ingredient of Alfred Dunhill’s image - Englishness. This is not the Englishness of football hooligans, fish and chips and political isolation, it is more a nostalgic evocation of more ordered times gone by: ‘Many things happen which tarnish the reputation of England, but the Englishness we are talking about is based on the reputation of craftsmanship, of reliability, of classic-ness,’ says Philpott. ‘It is an English Gentleman image. It’s an established Englishness rather than a contemporary Englishness.
The Worldwide Pipe Smoker's Magazine, by Tim Rich. Vol. 2, 2nd Semester 1993. Published by Magazine Partners, The Netherlands. P.42.

About Vernon Fitment


There are two kinds of Vernon fitment: one was attached to the shank and other to the mouthpiece (Dunhill would have made the switch to the stem side because the wood being softer than vulcanite and more prone to wear). So, British record as 10225/31 on 7 April '31. Applied right after with provisional patent protection (Prov. Prot. N°:10225/31 and granted with final Nº: 363582 on 24 December 1931). In such a case, the patent record appointed a device attached to the mouthpiece. The same goes for the American patent No. 1861910.

However, there is another patent that has also been applied to pipes with the same device, patent No. 358812. After researching this patent, I found a record that corresponds to the number but referring to another technology: "Improvements in and relating to pyrophoric lighters", being associated with Dunhill lighter technology (applied in the same period as the pipe fitment). Vernon Dunhill was involved with developing the first mechanical Dunhill lighter, so his association in both cases makes sense. The dates and period of use match. The two tenons and patents were used from the early 1930s up to mid-1936. Both used, without considering the installation of the device - i.e, the patents can be found in both cases.

In short, the second patent is not about a modification in the same device, it actually deals with another technology. The device remained the same, only changed the place where it would be installed. New patent registration for a modification like this, doesn't make sense, does it? Would that be a mistake? A mess with patent numbers from the same inventor? Intriguing and perhaps unanswered.

Yang (talk) 05:23, 20 June 2020 (CDT)