Calling the Duke Street Irregulars (I.D. old Dunhill bamboo pipe)

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georged

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2013
2,608
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I add only about one pipe a year to my collection, anymore. It still has a few holes in it that will get me to reach for my wallet, though. :lol: One of those holes is an original production bamboo-shanked Dunhill. They were never common, and the story (whether true or not, I have no idea), is that in the years following WWII briar was harder to get than before, and using bamboo was an attempt to get a higher yield of pipes from that reduced supply.
The problem for collectors today is the ones they did make were sparsely stamped because space was limited. What you see in the photos is it. (The circled 4 on the stem was highlighted with a crayon-thingie for the shot---Dunhill didn't do it.) The pipe is actually only a Group 3, though. Go figure.
Anyway, any dating or other background info would be greatly appreciated. Besides having had one of these Whangee critters elude me for 40+ years, this coming September's Kansas City Pipe Carving Contest requirement is bamboo, and smoking it at the show---especially while judging the entries---was an idea too appealing to pass up. 8)








 

dmcmtk

Preferred Member
Aug 23, 2013
2,971
119
Well...group numbers begin in 1951. Here we have the shape chart that is from no earlier than 1953 (the Tanshell finish is listed) showing the Bamboo in shape 60 (also available in shape 59),

and shapes 59, and 60.



Yours looks more like shape 60. Have any other shape 60's to compare it to?

 

wyfbane

Preferred Member
Apr 26, 2013
4,038
0
Oh my goodness. Can't help you ID it, but can help you adore it. That is a sweet looking pipe, George!!

 

samcoffeeman

Senior Member
Apr 6, 2015
441
0
That is an awesome Dunny! I would say probably 1960s, but could possibly be from the 50s. In regards to the group numbers, I have a '49 Dunny that has a group number stamp, it also has a patent number and the stamps are just oddly placed, like they hadn't figured out exactly how they were going to do it yet. It's quite a piece and I love it.

 

sjmiller

Senior Member
May 8, 2015
399
0
Is that a worn down stamp on the smooth section of briar in picture 2, right side?

 

georged

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2013
2,608
31
Muchacho gracioso, gents. I think dmcmtk got it.
I went through my rack and sure enough, the closest match for bowl size and overall length (and Dunhill always paid close attention to overall length), was a shape 59.
Maybe helping with the Whangee's dating is that the 59 is from 1954, and the character and depth of blast is similar. (by the 60's it was somewhat shallower and tighter... meaning there was better "profile control")
So, no earlier than when the circled shape numbers started, and (probably) no later than 1958/59-ish, when the blasting process was dialed back a bit.
Since a '53 would make it a birth year pipe for me, and I discovered a while back that the pipe I had THOUGHT for 25 years was my b/y specimen was actually made in 1943, I can only conclude that the PipeGods heard my angst-ridden wailing and gnashing of teeth, felt bad, and sent this one my direction. (No doubt in a, "Here, now shaddup, will ya? Yer givin' us a all a headache!" sort of way, but I'm OK with that. :lol: )
PS for Al --- nothing done by me to this one. T'was lightly smoked and well preserved.


 

beefeater33

Preferred Member
Apr 14, 2014
2,535
2
Central Ohio
That is a gorgeous pipe!

I agree with the date range 1950-1958-ish.......... Based in the blast and the fact that it has the "4" in a circle.
But what REALLY grabs my eye is the stamping on the bamboo........ I've never seen that before. The later ones don't have it, so I would venture to say that this was an early one.
But what REALLY, REALLY, grabs my eye is the "Dunhill" over "London" stamping........... now THAT is quite odd. In all my years, and travels, I have never seen the word "London" on a shell briar......... NEVER! The "Dunhill over London" is always found on smooth pipes. And when I say always, I'm referring to just the pipes I've seen, and looked at in books, and handled, and read about........ Obviously I haven't seen them all............. (but I do challenge anyone to find a Shell that's marked Dunhill over London)............. :D
This is what makes these old survivors special to me, the little idiosyncrasies and anomalies that one comes across and keeps things interesting and keeps us scratching our heads..........Thinking and Wondering.
Enjoy that one George. I'll bet it smokes as sweet as it looks!!............... :puffy:

 

piffyr

Preferred Member
Apr 24, 2015
778
38
Gorgeous pipe, George! Congratulations!
No new info to provide I'm afraid. Only a question...
Are those rivet pins on either side of the bamboo at the bowl junction? I'm assuming that the shank is turned down to act as a tenon for the bamboo mortise and the pins provide stabilization. I've never seen one of these in detail before and just trying wrap my head around the construction.

 

georged

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2013
2,608
31
Are those rivet pins on either side of the bamboo at the bowl junction? I'm assuming that the shank is turned down to act as a tenon for the bamboo mortise and the pins provide stabilization. I've never seen one of these in detail before and just trying wrap my head around the construction.
Yup. Cylindrical pins of some soft-ish metal.
The end of the shank was turned down into a tenon, a matching, snug-fit mortise was cut into the bamboo, a vulcanite ring/spacer was slipped over the tenon, and the bamboo was pressed on.
Then a hole was drilled through the center of it all from the side, and a measured length of snug-fitting metal rod slipped into the hole.
The middle of the pin---the "bridge" across the airway---was then removed with a drill, and a length of hardened & polished drill rod of the same diameter slid in to replace it.
One end of the now two-part pin was then supported on a hardened anvil, and the other end bashed with a hardened staking tool & mallet. The result? Both pins deformed enough (the ends mushroomed) to stay in place forever, mechanically. A gloriously perfect join with none of the headaches that accompany glue. :clap:

 

piffyr

Preferred Member
Apr 24, 2015
778
38
A gloriously perfect join with none of the headaches that accompany glue.
That's an impressively simple and relatively bulletproof solution to a finicky joint.

 

beefeater33

Preferred Member
Apr 14, 2014
2,535
2
Central Ohio
George.........
and a length of hardened & polished drill rod of the same diameter slid in to replace it.
One end of the now two-part pin was then supported on a hardened anvil, and the other end bashed with a hardened staking tool & mallet.
Is this the method for stamping the nomenclature on the pipe? ( putting a steel rod in the stummel?) I've oft wondered how it was done. Briar being fairly dense, I would think that the blow from the mallet may crush/split the stummel during this process...........

 

buroak

Preferred Member
Jul 29, 2014
1,858
0
I love the sleuthing and storytelling here. You lot are worthy of the esteem in which Mr. Holmes held his "street Arabs".

 

georged

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2013
2,608
31
Is this the method for stamping the nomenclature on the pipe? ( putting a steel rod in the stummel?) I've oft wondered how it was done. Briar being fairly dense, I would think that the blow from the mallet may crush/split the stummel during this process...........
I've never seen or even heard of nomenclature stamps being used with a hammer. Steady heavy pressure and a rolling motion (the stamps are always curved to some degree, so that only a small surface area is in contact with the wood at one time) is how it's done.
Today's solo makers do it by hand (which is as difficult as it sounds), and the old factories usually had a pressure-calibrated, pedal-activated, hydraulic arbor press.

 

beefeater33

Preferred Member
Apr 14, 2014
2,535
2
Central Ohio
I've never seen or even heard of nomenclature stamps being used with a hammer. Steady heavy pressure and a rolling motion (the stamps are always curved to some degree, so that only a small surface area is in contact with the wood at one time) is how it's done.
Thanks George.... I guess I always assumed that the stamps were "hand stamped"........... this explains why some of the stampings on Dunnies "trail off" at one end or another.

 

beefeater33

Preferred Member
Apr 14, 2014
2,535
2
Central Ohio
I guess I mis-spoke when I said NEVER saw a Shell pipe with the word "London" on it....... I forgot about this one from the Late Great Mr. Loring.......... http://loringpage.com/pipearticles/First%20Shell.htm