1901 Kirwan- Need Some Information

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zack24

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May 11, 2013
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Just picked up this cased 1901 Kirwan for restoration on Ebay for around $71- I know absolutely nothing about Kirwans and am not finding any information online. The first question would be the missing stem- I assume the original was amber- won't know if it was threaded until the pipe arrives and I can check it out. It looks like from the impression on the case that the original stem was a saddle stem. Does anyone have any thoughts on this one? If it has some value properly restored, I'll send it out. If it doesn't I'll cut a stem and restore it myself...









 

georged

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Mar 7, 2013
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Zack --
It's threaded, I think.
The trick will be matching the thread depth and pitch... once you have, the rest is straightforward.
Probably easier/cheaper/simpler to just convert it to a push tenon, since it's not a valuable collector's piece.

 

zack24

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May 11, 2013
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Probably easier/cheaper/simpler to just convert it to a push tenon, since it's not a valuable collector's piece.
That helps....sounds like a push tenon with an amber colored lucite stem will be a good way to go.....Thanks!

 

nevadablue

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Jun 5, 2017
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Please keep us posted on it Zack. It is/was/will be a nice looking pipe, I'm sure.

 

jguss

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Jul 7, 2013
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Zack,
Great looking pipe; I'm excited to see what you do with it. And with an unusually obscure pedigree!
For what it's worth I'm skeptical that the silverwork is by Kirwan & Co. The key photo is much too blurry (even on the original eBay listing) for me to really see the details of the hallmarks, but I believe the seller's assumption is off. If you're really interested about Kirwan I can tell you a fair bit about its founder, John William Kirwan (~1844-1919), and his business. But as far as I can find out despite a background as a jeweler/silversmith/goldsmith, Kirwan was never involved in the tobacco trade. Moreover his shops and his hallmark registries were in Birmingham and London, not Chester.
I think a much better candidate is Charles Maxwell Kinnear (b. Edinburgh 1872, d. Liverpool 1939), who's involvement in the tobacco trade was a) documented, b) encompassing exactly the right time period (all his hallmarks were registered in 1901-1902), and c) at the right place (his hallmarks were registered in Chester). See: http://www.silvercollection.it/DICTIONARYTOBACCONISTK.html.
The Wikipedia entry for Kinnear's father (a famous architect; see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Kinnear) states that his son Charles became a tobacco manufacturer, and this was clearly true for at least 14 years. As a young man in 1891 the census lists him as apprenticed to his maternal uncle, an "american produce merchant". What exactly that means is unclear. But by 1896 Kinnear pops up in Manchester trading as Leon Marcus & Co, a cigarette and tobacco manufacturer. He bought the business about that time from its founders, Leon Marcus Sogolowitch (1860-1919; a man who was a travelling salesman in the cigar and cigarette business both before and after his brief foray as a manufacturer), and Joseph V Lester. By 1900 Kinnear had relocated to Liverpool and was doing business under his own name as Kinnear Ltd at 49-57 Park Lane West.
About a decade later Kinnear left the tobacco business to enter into partnership in an enterprise called Dorn, Harding & Co, effective January 1, 1911. They were rubber brokers and merchants. This evidently failed since by the end of that same year the partnership was dissolved. What happened to Kinnear over the next 28 years before dying outside Liverpool at the age of 66 in 1939 is unknown to me.
Jon

 

zack24

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I think a much better candidate is Charles Maxwell Kinnear
I think you are correct- great information! I'm assuming I'm not committing a great travesty by converting this to a push tenon. It's an interesting pipe, but I don't think there's much value to be gained by doing a full on restoration...
I'm thinking about doing the stem out of this amber lucite material - It's a nice look...


 

georged

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Mar 7, 2013
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It looks like from the impression on the case that the original stem was a saddle stem.
If the original was amber, that would be highly unusual. A wedge/taper shape is much stronger than a saddle, so that's how most of it was carved.
Meaning---if your sure that a saddle made the impressions in the case liner---the original stem was probably vulcanite.

 

jguss

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Jul 7, 2013
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Zack,
I think that's a great idea; it would look very neat indeed. This isn't the Parthenon, the Mona Lisa, or the David. It's an interesting old pipe sold by a remarkably obscure member of the trade; in all likelihood an imported French bowl with Kinnear's silverwork attached at the Liverpool shop. Have fun with it!
Jon

 

pitchfork

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May 25, 2012
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If the original was amber, that would be highly unusual. A wedge/taper shape is much stronger than a saddle, so that's how most of it was carved.
Meaning---if your sure that a saddle made the impressions in the case liner---the original stem was probably vulcanite.
How would you quantify "highly unusual"? (I'm asking, not trying to be a d*&%). I have an amber saddle-stemmed bulldog and I've seen plenty of them for sale. I would have guessed that amber was nearly as common as vulcanite on saddle-stemmed bulldogs, at least up until about 1920 or so.
In either case, the other possibility here is that the original stem was horn.

 

georged

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Mar 7, 2013
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I guess I should have left of the word "highly." :lol:
I've seen a fair number over the years, but percentage-wise not that many. And those I did were unattractive because the blade portion was thick and chunky. Little more than a taper stem with a small step (which is why they survived, I suppose).

 

pitchfork

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May 25, 2012
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And those I did were unattractive because the blade portion was thick and chunky. Little more than a taper stem with a small step (which is why they survived, I suppose).
Thanks. Yeah, that's all of what I've seen/owned.

 

zack24

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May 11, 2013
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those I did were unattractive because the blade portion was thick and chunky. Little more than a taper stem with a small step
Yep..,that’s what I’ve noticed- way too thick by modern standards...so, it’s a tapered stem...it will be in next week...

 
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