Hardcastle was founded in 1908 by Edmund Hardcastle and built itself a good reputation among the numerous British mid-graders. In 1935 Dunhill started to build a factory next door to Hardcastle in Forest Road, Walthamstow, London E17. The family owned Hardcastle Pipes Limited sold 49% of its equity to Dunhill In 1936.
Along with closing down its pipe factory in Notting Hill in 1946 Dunhill bought the remaining shares, turning Hardcastle into a 100% Dunhill subsidiary. As members of the Hardcastle family continued as executives in the company’s management Hardcastle retained a certain independence.
This ended in 1967. Dunhill merged Hardcastle with Parker (100% Dunhill as well). The new Parker Hardcastle Limited also absorbed the former Masta Patent Pipe Company. Hardcastle’s Forest Road plant was immediately given up and the production of Hardcastle pipes was shifted to Parker’s nearby St. Andrews Road factory – now consequently called Parker-Hardcastle factory.
In fact this put a definite end to Hardcastle as an own-standing pipe brand, and none other than Edwin Hardcastle, the last of the family executives, spoke frankly and loudly of Hardcastle pipes being degenerated to an inferior Dunhill second.
Today Hardcastle pipes use funneled down bowls that are not deemed suitable to bear the Dunhill or even the Parker name (as well as obtaining briar from other sources).
- 1903: Edmund Hardcastle establishes the brand
- 1936: Family sells 49% of the Hardcastle Pipes Limited shares to Dunhill
- 1946: Dunhill buys the remaining shares, but the family continues to manage the company
- 1967: Dunhill merges Hardcastle with Parker. The new Parker-Hardcastle Limited company absorbs the Masta Patent Pipe Company also.
- After 1967 it is speculated that Hardcastle became the brand for "Parker Seconds"
John Loring states in "The Dunhill Briar Pipe - 'the patent years and after'" that in the absence of sales receipts, or other items of provenance, Hardcastles cannot be accurately dated. Loring further states that he knows of no way to distinguish the briar source when looking at Hardcastle, Parker, or Parker-Hardcastle pipes. We should not expect to find any actual Dunhill production in these lines, and while one might be there, it is doubtful we will ever be able to determine it .
The pipes pictured are from a 1944 6-day set. Made during the war when Dunhill owned 49% of the company, and two years before they bought the remaining shares. German vulcanite was unavailable during the war, so these pipes are fitted with horn stems. The original listing notes "...the quality of workmanship is beyond reproach, the smooth pipes being free of obvious pits or fills, and with rich, deep color; and the sandblasts crisp and deep. Drillings are spot-on."
Models & Grades
Straight Grain, Supergrain, Leweard, Nut Bruyere, De Luxe, Royal Windsor Sandhewn, Royal Crown, The Crown, Phito Dental, Old Bruyere, Jack O'London, Dental Briar, Phito, Dental, Dryconomy, Drawel, Phithu, Telebirar, Camden, Lightweight, The Table, Dovetail, Dental, Crescent Extra, Lonsdale, Welard De Luxe
Start, Argyle, After Lunch, Crescent, Duke, Jockey Club, Scout
In 1977 Dunhill Pipes Limited was established. This new Ltd. transferred the entire production of Dunhill pipes in March of 1982 from Cumberland Road, Plaistow, London E13 to the Parker-Hardcastle factory in Walthamstow.
Since this fusion the telephone book of London Town listed the following:
- Parker Hardcastle Briar Pipes Mfrs, 32 St. Andrews Rd, London E17 6BQ, call 020 84984000
- Dunhill Pipes & Smokers Requisites, 32 St. Andrews Rd, London E17 6BQ, call 020 84984000