Whitehall Estate Project

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mikethompson

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Jun 26, 2016
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I picked up a Whitehall pipe to clean up, and it looks like it should be fairly straightforward with no big surprises. I didn't / don't know much about the Whitehall brand so I dig a little digging.

The Whitehall pipedia page is hilariously short, only one line. It did say that they were made by Ben Wade in either Britain or Italy. The Ben Wade page made no mention of Whitehall or had any shape charts I could compare it to. So if anyone has a chart they could post up, or dating help that would be much appreciated.

This pipe doesn't have a stinger, but it does seem to have a metal tube running through the shank. Maybe that is indicative of its age?

The only markings are Whitehall and Imported Briar.

100311003210033100341003510036
 
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mikethompson

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Jun 26, 2016
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I'm not sure there is anything missing. There is not much space if any for a condenser to fit in there. Although the tight fit may have been why the previous owner removed it, maybe it restricted flow?
 

mikethompson

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Does anyone have or can link to an older Ben Wade shape guide? I'd like to answer at least one question on this mystery pipe.
 

snagstangl

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Jul 1, 2013
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I am highly suspicious that this brand is actually made by Ben Wade. I will search.
 

mikethompson

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Jun 26, 2016
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I am highly suspicious that this brand is actually made by Ben Wade. I will search.
I'm just parroting what I've read. Thanks for posting up that price list. I'm not sure mine is that old, but it would be nice if it was.
 

greeneyes

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Jun 5, 2018
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I'm a collector of Ben Wade pipes and have been corresponding with Jon Guss in an attempt to document some of its history. Jon has compiled much information from trade periodicals and it's true that Ben Wade made a Whitehall, or at least they advertised as much in the 1946-47 periodicals.

I can tell you that I've never seen a Ben Wade Whitehall (on the internet or anywhere else), and that the pipes that are generally identified as being made by Ben Wade, often made in Italy, very likely are not Ben Wade products.

Here's Jon's (jguss) post on the matter from an earlier thread.

 

mikethompson

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Jun 26, 2016
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That thread came up in my search too. It seems like the name Whitehall is common enough perhaps many makers used it?

I don't know if its Ben Wade or not, but it's a nice little pipe.
 

mso489

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Feb 21, 2013
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The Ben Wade brand seems uneven, turning up different levels of quality at different times. I had a panel billiard about 12 years ago, not a bad smoker, a blast finish, but remained plastic looking over years. I finally traded it off. I have a small billiard, inexpensive, that I found at the local independent pipe shop, kind of a nice pocket and car pipe, not commendable, but entirely serviceable.
 
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greeneyes

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Jun 5, 2018
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The Ben Wade brand seems uneven, turning up different levels of quality at different times.
That's very true. But as with many old British pipes, the old family era of manufacture is certainly a wonderful period. I have a modern-production paneled billiard Ben Wade, and I suppose according to recent lore that it's made in the Duncan factory and perhaps even in an old Dunhill factory. It seems sometimes that getting to the bottom of facts is more troublesome when they're modern, as opposed to ancient but better documented.

I have to say, though, returning to topic, that Whitehall pipes are very appealing and well-made, and I think that the fact that they've been a little mysterious of origin really means that we don't know as much about that brand as we do, say, of other better-documented American classics.

I'd love it if an avid collector brought the history into focus for us the way that Bill Unger and Tony Soderman did for the Custombilt pipe.
 

mikethompson

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10445

The drawing power of the salt amazes me every time. Maybe one more salt/vodka treatment, then coffee grounds, then the fun stuff.
 
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snagstangl

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Jul 1, 2013
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I was digging around at the Dr. Grabow forum :Whitehall pipe question - https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/drgrabows/whitehall-pipe-question-t9891-s10.html

It says that Whitehall bought most of its stuff, pipes from Mastercraft. It would make sense if it were mostly a bulk re-seller stamping the name on bulk lots of pipes. That would explain pipes being all over the place with production location stamps. France, Italy, England, US, Imported Briar.

Whitehall Black Tie pipe tobacco was part of Kentucky Club tobacco. KC seems to have a number coupon pipes. So buy pipes in lots, stamp and send out, or have a factory make lot of pipes with "ABC" stamped on them, get them made buy the cheapest supplier of that month, potentially a number of different pipe factories.
 

mikethompson

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Jun 26, 2016
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Thanks! I came across that post too haha, I was going around in circles there for a while.

If it is just a cheap old pipe it still feels really solid. I don't have any idea about the metal stem though.
 

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