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Written by John C. Loring
Contributed by Yang Forcióri

The Patent Years and After
(as of October, 2004 – although only minor updates have been made since 2001).


ix: typo - "dirth" should be "dearth".

1: a contemporary ad shows the windshield pipe being marketed (& thus I assume, made for Alfred Dunhill) by A Posner.

2: typo - "Lowe" should be "Loewe".

3, 4, 10, 41, & 57: typo - "tendon" should be "tenon".

8 & 31: The switch from Calabrian (for the bruyere) and Corsican (for the root) briar was made in the early 1960's sometime prior to 1965.

10: the Vernon Dunhill fitting has three, not four, prongs.

11, 17-20, 36, 61 & 64: In 1951, in addition to implementing the circled group number, the shape number and the finish letter were switched on standard smooth finished shapes, i.e. the finish letter, an "R" or an "A" which up to 1950 was on the 'brand side' of the shank near the bowl was switched to the 'MADE IN ENGLAND' side and the shape number which up to 1950 was on the 'MADE IN ENGLAND' side was switched to the 'brand side'. This another way of determining whether a pipe bearing a 1950 '0' date code and a circled group number was made in 1950 and received a supplemental stamp in 1951, or was actually made and fully stamped in 1951. The former (1950 pipe with a supplemental stamp) will have the finish letter followed by a circled group size stamp on the 'brand side' while the latter (1951 pipe) will have the circled group size stamp before the finish letter on the 'MADE IN ENGLAND' side. (My apologies, as I was looking over some early notes I realized that I forgot to include this in the book).

16: A 'D' with 'tails' has been found on a pipe with a 1923 date code (since a great number of 1923 date coded pipes have been seen without tails I assume the 'tails' usage was very early in 1923.

23: early in "since the early 1960's Algerian briar has been largely unavailable to Dunhill" should be mid to late. The 1966 Dunhill catalogues still advised that all shells were Algerian. This strongly suggests that the progressive 'shallowing' of the classic '30s - '50s blast that begins in the late '50s was initially an accomodation to perceived customer tastes rather a constraint of having to use harder briar.

32: Sardian briar was used for the Tanshell at least as late as 1966.

36: While group number stampings were not increased beyond group number 4 until 1975, a 1958 Dunhill American catalogue shows that group 4 stamped shapes 120, LB, OX, and ES were catagorized as being "group 5" and priced 10% higher then group 4 pipes. However, this initial selective price increase was apparently unsuccesful for the 1962 version of the same catalogue simply classifies these pipes as "group 4" with no reference in the catalogue to a "group 5" or any up pricing.

36: The circled group size stamping was ended in 1975 or 1976 with the introduction of the new shape number stampings which incorporate the group size as the first digit of the shape number.

38: precious metal trim is usually found in the form of a shank band at the shank/bit join, less commonly as a windcap, far less commonly either at the top of the bowl covering the rim of the bowl and extending slightly over the side or as a band around the sides of the bowl near the rim. Pieces have also been seen with a double shank band, or with the upper half of the bowl and rim covered or as the lip of the bit. Fancy trimmed pipes, often including precious stones, also include three dimensional animals, such as snakes wrapped around the bowl or precious metal 'chimney sweeps' or towers sculpted in the triangular space between the shank and the bowl.

41: with regard to bits note also the Vernon Dunhill fitting discussed at page 10.

41: Other shank material included bamboo shanks. Pipes having a bamboo shank were generally stamped with a "W" to indicate the same. Bamboo shanks became somewhat popular in the 1960's and 1970's. The bamboo churchwarden was made in limited numbers in the early 1950s, then again in the early 1960s and lastly in the 1990s. The 'quick & dirty' way of distinguishing between the three generations is: In the early 1950's the DUNHILL / MADE IN ENGLAND stamp is found on the underside of the bit, in the early 1960's that stamp is on the bottom of the briar bowl and in the 1990s a modern shape number, not e.g. W56, is used. Also the "Cavalier" pipe shape should be noted in this regard in that it technically had a metal shank. The Cavalier, 'full bent' shape consisted of a billiard bowl with a very short thin horizontal metal shank that in turn fitted into a vertical vulcanite bit assembly that curved at the top and had a 'wet pipe' vulcanite drainage chamber that extented below.

42: In the 1960's and 1970's Dunhill also promoted a "Dental Relief Lip", a standard (saddle only?) bit with a fan like lip that extended upward like a 1/8" semi circle.

42, 48 & 64: I have recently found a 1939 Shell with an "F/T" stamping following a shape number/catagory number stamping. In the early 1970's Dunhill considered its tappered fish tail bit to be its default bit.

42 & 64: While Dunhill made saddle bits from at least the late 1910's, almost all of its standard shapes were fitted with tapered bits. Prior to WWII and perhaps for a bit after, when a standard tapered bit shape was made up for general production with a saddle bit, a new shape number was assigned, e.g. shape 463 with a saddle bit became shape 572. For some years (but perhaps not all) in the post WWII period prior to the 1975 shape number changes, when a standard shape that was usually fitted with tapered bit was made with a saddle bit and there was not already a saddle bit shape number a "6" was added to the stamping, usually in front of the shape number although sometimes with some space between the "6" and the shape number, e.g. 6120 for a 120 shape fitted with a saddle bit (in late 1975 under the new shape number system, this pipe would have been stamped "5 [group size 5] 2 [saddle bit] 2 [bent bowl]) or ODA 6 806 F/T (an ODA 806 which was normally fitted with a tapered 'fish tail' bit but instead fitted with a saddle bit).

43: reportedly Dunhill also at least once substituted an actual diamond for the 'white spot' on a DRH graded lumberman.

43: typo - "sassini" in both the text and footnote should be "sasieni".

44: fourth line from the top "the 1960's" should be "mid 1970's".

44: A 'Collector' in its original box has been seen with an official looking Dunhill printed slip of paper to the effect that it is one of a limited edition & signed (the slip) by the pipe maker. Dunhill personnel who saw the piece at the same time did not recognize it so I assume that it was a short lived Dunhill promotion about the time that the Collector line was introduced. Care should be taken not to confuse the above with the "001" stamping often found on the shank (near the bowl) of early Collectors, this is a common stamping (although a few "002"s have been seen), the meaning of which is unclear (but it does not mean the 'first Collector made').

45: a 1933 bruyere DR has been found stamped " DRA " (the A being larger then the DR).

48: a 1933 bruyere DRA has been found also stamped " 24 F/T "

46: Change sentence in carry over paragraph presently reading "In the 1950s Dunhill began ... " to "In the late 1940s Dunhill began ... " and add that I now believe the "H" grading stamp was stamped horizontally in order to avoid any confusion with an "A". A 1949 DR has been found with both the old ('stops') and letter grade stampings it would appear that the letter grading began in 1949. Also note that in the mid '70s DRs may be found with letter grades and stars below the letters. At first glance one would think this is another transitional 'dual' grading but I believe this is doubtful. First, the change over from letters to stars was in the late, not the mid, 1970s and second, the letters and the stars are not equivilent on these pipes, e.g. "D" with two rather then four stars beneath. Rather, I suspect that this was a brief attempt to grade the pipe both as to grain (the letter) and the size (the stars). A 1964 "DRD" "DUNHILL BRUYERE", part of a special order 6 day set has been seen.

48: In the 1960's and 1970's Dunhill promoted two 'gadget pipes' in its catalogues. One was the 'DriWay' discussed in the text of the book, the clay filter being called the Kaoloid Filter. The other was the "Airstream" pipe which is referred to in the book text as the 'carburetor' pipe. Both these pipes originated in the 1930's. The 'DriWay' was only available only in the Shell finish but at least in the post war period the 'Airstream' was available in smooth finishes as well.

The 'pipe with a reaming device' (one of which belonged to King George VI & is shown in the Balfour book) was known as the "M.C." patent # 17077/38. When the pipe was smoked the circular saw toothed 'reamer' disc rested on the inside bottom of the bowl and the thin handle (still attached to the disc) folded back and rested underneath the shank.

49: A 1925 magnum sized shell bulldog with standard stampings plus "ODG 15" was auctioned on eBay. Indicating that there is at least one instance of a shell "OD".

50: Actually, in one sense, magnums do have a special stamping, in that they were not stamped with a shape number or catagory. Thus when you are looking at an overlarge dunhill pipe from the 1920's or 1930's, for instance a 3/4 bent which you recognize to be too large to be a '120' but are uncertain as to whether it's an 'LC' (the very largest, and rare, standard shape 3/4 bent) or a small magnum the lack of shape numbers or letters is a pretty solid indicator that it is most probably a magnum. A 1925 magnum sized shell bulldog with standard stampings plus "ODG 15" was auctioned on eBay.

50: A magnum, perhaps, the first, in the Dunhill archives dates to 1921.

50: a 1919 HW has been seen with the HW within a circle where the A is usually found and a 21 where the shape number is usually found.

51: the post WWII 'ODA' s were basically new shapes to the Dunhill line, although it does appear from a pre war Dunhill factory 'OD' shape book that one popular post WWII 'ODA' shape, the panel 836, was in fact produced prior to the war as a pre war ODA.

51: typo - second to last line of first full paragraph, "if fact" should be "in fact".

52: In its 1972 catalogue Dunhill referred to the ODA/800 series as "GIANT" both in terms of the pipe and the grade, e.g 'Shape 806 GIANT' & 'Pipes - Group 4 & Giant'.

53: replace "square bowl" description for 861 with "Angled squat panel bowl & tapered square shank"

57: add to list of Dunhill patents, 129127, England, late teens or early '20s 'Gadgett' pipe papers (apparently paper inserted at the bottom of the bowl to both filter and insure burning of all the tobacco).

60: Dunhill offered the leather covered Ventage pipe case with the inserts fitted for specific pipe shapes through the 1970's (they can be generally dated by the Royal Warrants on the inside silk). In addition in at least the 1960's and 1970's it offered the "Universal Case" a one or two pipe hard covered case that had a spring loaded closing system (so that it closed with a snap) with large inserts that could hold a variety of pipe shapes. The leather 'book' case now used for Xmas & many limited edition pipes is shown in a 1939 catalogue.

61: In 1958 Dunhill American pricing was: Tanshell & Shell - $17.50; Smooth ("Bruyere" & "Root") group 1,2 & 3 - $20; Smooth group 4 - $22.50; and group 5 (see update to page 36) - $25.

63: Beyond different shape numbers for differing bowls or shanks, prior to 1975 a new shape number would usually be assigned to otherwise similarly shaped pipes of differing sizes (e.g. 53, 56, 120 and LC are all classic '3/4 bents with tappered bits' but of progressively larger sizes), or with different bits (e.g. 314 has tappered, slightly bent stem, 315 has a tappered straight stem; 463 has a tappered stem, 572 has a saddle stem).

64: prior to 1975 for a period yet undetermined (best guess, the '30s) it appears that at least occasionally a "6" was added to the beginning of a pipes shape identifier to indicate that the pipe was fitted with a saddle bit.

64: The 1975 shape number system change over should be understood as not merely a new numbering system but more importantly an attempt to reduce the number of shape numbers, e.g. old shape numbers 31, 32, 64, 105 all became new shape number 113 [group size 1, tapered bit, billiard bowl) notwithstanding that each had their own distinct differences. On the other hand grouping similar pipes under one number did not mean that the distinctions were not continued in production but rather only that unlike the past one could not identify the distinction by the new shape number. In a sense the 1975 change over was similar to the 1920's Shell catagories.

67: a 1939 catalog offers a "Twist" tobacco in the form of three tobacco rolls twisted together - this may be the forerunner of the post WWII 'Shell' blend.

67: an early '50s catalog shows lead covered compressed packs still being offered for the various popular blends.

67: add and integrated into 'Tinned Tobacco' the following:

The key year for Dunhill tobacco is 1981 when production of most Dunhill tobacco blends was shifted from Dunhill to Murray in Northern Ireland (at the time both Dunhill and Murray were subsidiaries of the same parent company). While the blends remained of very fine quality, distinct differences were immediately apparent, I suspect from Murray's use of younger tobacco and probably some recipe changes due to the unavailability of some tobacco varieties. The only exception to the Murray transition were the My Mixture blends (other than 965). The My Mixture blends (other than 965), were, (and are) available only from the London Duke Street shop. Those blends apparently continued to be blended in house for some time, and today are produced for the Duke Street shop by a small batch blender in London.

  • '20s - '60s: During this period the 'knife lid' was the primary tin style. In the '50s some 'coin twist' tins were introduced with a decade long, transition9 from the 4 ounce 'knife lid' to a 4 ounce 'coin twist' starting in the early '60s. These 4 ounce 'coin twists' are often called 'tall boys' because they were the same circumference as the 2 ounce 'coin twist' tins, just twice as high. Not all tins during these five decades were imprinted with the packaging weight but when they were it was only in ounces. Closer dating may generally be arrived at through the royal crest that appears on most tins. A Prince of Wales Crest dates from 1921 to 1936; a George VI Crest with a reference to the King dates from 1936 to 1953; a George VI Crest with no reference to the King dates to 1954; a George VI Crest with reference to the late King dates from 1954 to 1962; and an Elizabeth II Crest dates from 1963 to 1995. In addition tins from the WWII era bore a small reference to war time packaging requirements.
  • '70s: 'Coin twist' tins were used exclusively during the '70s in the 2 ounce, 4 ounce 'tall boy', and 8 ounce sizes and as in prior years generally were labeled with words to the effect that the tobacco was been blended 'by Dunhill' in 'England' (or prior to the '70s often 'Great Britain'). Although I don't believe I have ever seen any according to a Dunhill wholesale export catalogue apparently beginning in 1975 or 1976 Dunhill also offered export versions of its tins in 25, 50 and 100gm sizes.
  • Early '80s: The last of the 'in house' Dunhill production, ending in 1981, was packaged in 'coin twists' tins with 'painted' labels showing weight in either fractional ounces only, e.g. 1 3/4 or 3 1/2, or in both fractional ounces and grams with, in either case, the country of origin labeled as 'England'. Sometime in 1981 production of standard brands (but other then 965, not the My Mixtures) was taken over by Murray. These tins may be identified by their paper (rather than 'painted') label which, for the first time, generally indicated the country of origin as being the 'United Kingdom' (I have seen a few paper label Murray tins with 'England'). In addition, distinctively, the now 3 1/2 ounce/100 gram 'tall boy' tin style was flattened resulting in the tin having a noticeably larger circumference than its 1 3/4 ounce/50 gram counterpart.
  • Mid to Late '80s: Murray changed back to painted labeling within a few years, these tins however, may be easily distinguished from earlier Dunhill production in that the Murray tins uniformly label the country of origin as the 'United Kingdom'.
  • '90s: In about 1990 the Murry blended tobacco label was changed to show that it was manufactured under the authority of Dunhill. In 1995 the Elizabeth II Crest was deleted from the tins and 'authority' was changed to 'in association' with Dunhill.

In short (and with some generalization):

'Association' or 'authority' equals Murray / '90s; 'United Kingdom' equals Murray / '80s - '90s; Paper label 'coin twist' standard blends equals Murray / early '80s; Fractional or dual weight painted 'coin twists' made in 'England' equal Dunhill/early '80s; Whole ounces, or tall boy 'coin twists' equals Dunhill / '70s - '60s; and 'Knife-lid' equals Dunhill / '60s or earlier.

69: Dunhill also offered packages of 'unhinged' windscreens made out of "genuine asbestos".

74: typo - line three on the first chart should be "Importing".

BackCover & Center Chart: typo - in the finish portion of the chart: "Country" should by "County".

At Numerous Places: "it's" used in the possessive sense should be "its" and "then" used in a comparative sense should be "than".

Danish Style Pipes: Beginning in the mid '70s Dunhill offered large danish style pipes typically with plateau briar bowl rims and fancy military vulcanite bits. These pipes were usual hand stamped with some variations but usually included "S/G F/T" "DUNHILL" (arched) "ROOT BRIAR" "MADE IN ENGLAND" followed by a date stamp. While these pipes may have been finished in the Dunhill factory they were probably carved in Denmark. The briar tends to be darker then the usual root briar pipe suggesting that the briar for these pipes was sourced independently.

NEWLY REPORTED STAMPS: 1957 Carved Head Root - a "C/H" where the shape number is usually found; 1956 & 1958 (possibly 1968) Root - an "SP" underneath the Circled Group Size/Finish code; 1984 a stacked double bowl (to prevent 'wet' smoking) - an "HPL/28" where the shape number is usually found. Also "HT" which means hand turned & is used on pipes whose shapes do not fall within the standard number codes  ; 1937 bruyere 113 - "JW" below LONDON and also after patent number (may indicate a 'short' churchwarden); "W" on and indicating a bamboo shanked pipe (while bamboo shanks are primarily a post WWII phenomena, they have been found on pipes dating to as early as 1939); A 1962 shape 56 shell with a "PARKER" stamp as follows: "EX. 56 F/T -8 DUNHILL SHELL BRIAR PARKER MADE IN ENGLAND 2 (4)S".

FINISHES: Tanshell, County & Russet apparently have been discontinued in the past few years and Root is largly unavailable but not I believe officially discontinued. "Black Briar" as well as "Dress" may have been stamped as late as 1982 and Ring Grain as well as "Shilling" as late as 1995. Note that in early 1970's Dunhill catalogues shape 320 (a group 4 oval bowled pipe) was referred to as its "Evening Dress Shape" with a white band on the bit where it meets the shank, in both the shell finish and the black smooth finish.

OTHER BOWL MATERIALS: Dunhill has offered meerschaum pipes since inception, most probably at all times these pipes, other then perhaps the bit, were made by others and other then a white dot on the bit of the pipes after the mid teens apparently never bore any Dunhill nomenclature. Probably also from inception Dunhill offered but likely did not make meerschaum lined Calabash pipes, bearing a white dot bit and occationally an 'AD' mounted band. In at least the 1960's and 1970's and probably before and after Dunhill also offered meerschaum lined briar pipes usually, if not always in the Shell finish. These pipes were undoubtedly fully made by Dunhill. Again in the 1960's and 1970's and perhaps before and after Dunhill offered briar billiard bowl pipes of its making with the bowls covered in leather.

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