Late 19th Century William Birnbaum Cased Meerschaum

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piffyr

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 24, 2015
782
80
I picked up this cased meerschaum pipe last week. The case label states that it was sold by William Birnbaum of 39 Cortlandt St., NY. Digging through some old NY business directories, I found that William Birnbaum was located at Cortlandt Street in 1881, but by 1890 the business had moved to Nassau Street. I can't find a record of the years between. So, I don't know when the move took place. In any case, I think it's safe to say that the pipe was made and sold sometime prior to 1890, which makes it the oldest verifiable pipe that I have in my possession.
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The threads are shot in the amber stem. Otherwise, it's in excellent condition for it's age. It has a few scratches and dings, but no cracks. The stem repair should be fairly easy.
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I can't wait to see that bowl after a little cleaning and waxing. I think it's going to be a thing of beauty.

 

piffyr

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 24, 2015
782
80
Along with the meer, there were two clay bowls. One of them is from a Peter Dorni pipe, which were made in Gouda from 1835-1898. Lots of copies were made though, even during that time period. I can't say whether the pipe is an original or not, but I suspect that both clays are at least as old as the meer. I asked the seller and he said that they were all found together. The stems are broken off of both, but the bowls are intact and there's enough of a stem left that I think I can manage some sort of replacement (haven't decided with what yet).
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condorlover1

Lifer
Dec 22, 2013
8,203
28,385
New York
You can have a stem added to the clay pipe and I have seen it done as I own one. It involves cutting off the uneven broken end and then matching up with a new stem and then banding the two halves together with a silver band that was usually silvered into position and then soldered after being cemented into place. The pipe that is the third pipe in from the left hand side is a perfect example of this long lost art. Why it was done when clays were so cheap and replaceable is beyond my comprehension. Maybe the pipe held some sentimental association that has been lost to the ages. I have had it for ages and it smokes very well but never leaves my desk for fear of being dropped.
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piffyr

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 24, 2015
782
80
Thanks for that, condorlover1. I really like that banded bowl cutty second from the right in your photo. Are the bands repairs or accents?

 

condorlover1

Lifer
Dec 22, 2013
8,203
28,385
New York
Repairs from the 1860/70s caused by a broken stem and a cracked bowl but the pipe still smokes fine. It was one of the first meerschaum 'cutty' pipes I ever purchased in the early 1980s after I was told by my dentist to stop smoking clay pipes!

 

piffyr

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 24, 2015
782
80
Repairs from the 1860/70s caused by a broken stem and a cracked bowl but the pipe still smokes fine.
That's a repair with panache! I like it.

 
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