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Dunhill Pipes and World War 1

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by Falconeer, Jun 23, 2010.

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  1. Falconeer

    Falconeer Active Member

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    Hi All,

    As you'll know from previous threads, Social History or the real story about working peoples' lives is a passion of mine. I've managed to acquire the Xmas 1914 Brass tobacco tin I've been after for years and one of the lads on the Forum here very kindly pointed me in the right direction to find out more about WW1 Trench lighters.

    Now before the first War the working man's weapon of choice for smoking was the clay pipe, usually with the stem broken off to produce a "Nose Warmer" or "Cutty Pipe." The clay's main problem was its fragility and the Woodbine cigarette or "Gasper" became the ordinary "Tommy's" main smoke in the trenches.

    I have been told and have seen passing references to it on the Web that Dunhill sent free pipes out to the troops, possibly again for Xmas 1914 when the British public supported the war and expected it to end in total victory very shortly. I can however find no "hard" info on this.

    My guess would be either that Dunhill sent rejects or seconds ( which we all know can provide an excellent smoke ) out, if indeed they did or just possibly knocked out a range of short pipes similar to the "Stonehavens" favoured by farm workers and working men when I was a lad.

    While I'd love to lay hands on such a pipe, with provenance and the Dunhill name I know it's cost far more than I'd be willing to spend on it - but I wondered:

    Has anyone else heard of this?

    Have you any info or links I could use to find out more?

    Any photos of relatives with pipes at the time that you could post?

    As with anything else here, this is for my information, the Forum's Benefit and strictly not for any commercial reasons.

    Thanks in advance

    Gerry
     
  2. ryan65

    ryan65 Member

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    I haven't heard anything about this before but definitely an interesting topic :coffee:
     
  3. dubhdarra

    dubhdarra Active Member

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    I've heard one mention of it in a text source (and lots of pointless conjecture over a tobacconist counter) and they'd come to pretty much the same conclusion as you: its a rumor. true or not there doesn't seem to be any documentation. I kinda like dunhill as a company though, so i'm going to choose to believe they did something that cool, and out of appreciation, not fear that the vicious hun would invade and force everyone to make only tyrolean style pipes.
     
  4. t-bear

    t-bear Well-Known Member

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    Like y'all, I've heard the story, but have no idea of its veracity.....sorry!
     
  5. jpberg

    jpberg Moderator Moderator

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  6. Falconeer

    Falconeer Active Member

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    Thanks for that link - the rest of his history and comments on social manners and mores is so right and so accurate - I'll buy the rest of the story.

    He's not quite right about the manual workers' pipes in Scotland though - in dour straight laced Presbyterian Scotland a "bent" pipe was seen as just that - the province of violin players, poets and homosexuals!

    I have seen at Auction a pair of officers WW1 Dunhills in a fitted case containing one bent and one straight - the price was high, extremely so.

    Thanks for the lead, I'll use it as a starting point for a new search,

    Best to all

    gerry
     
  7. jpberg

    jpberg Moderator Moderator

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  8. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    That last seems to make sense about Dunhill using the pipes as a marketing ploy. Remember, Dunhill was selling many other men's accessories as well, and thus wanted to get their brand name out there!
     
  9. Falconeer

    Falconeer Active Member

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    Hi All,

    just to say thank you very much for all the information links you gave me. I have copied them for serious reading next week when hopefully I'll have the time to do something proper with them (stepson's father died yesterday, Rhona's big sister was in hospital with fractured femur and now has C Diff infection, and long lost daughter popped up seeking reconcilliation; life has been hectic! ) - thanks for some excellent stuff.

    Once again Dondi's spot on - the wrist watch really came about due to WW1, and of course Dunhill was one of the earliest makers on the scene with these. I'm actually surprised that Dunhill isn't quoted as a reference on Marketing Courses - this is an aspect at which they were seriously good.

    Thanks for all your help

    Gerry
     
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