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identification help?

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#1
All,
I have a pipe that has been in my family for 5 generations now. The family story behind the pipe is that it was carried by my great-great-grandfather during his service in the American Civil War. It's been in a shadow box my entire life, so I have no idea of style, manufacture, material, or anything to validate the family story. If anyone here can help me identify anything about this pipe, I'd greatly appreciate the help. I'll try to post better pictures as soon as I can, but hopefully this can start the ball rolling.

Thanks,
Stephen
 

dmkerr

PG- free since '83!
Staff member
Moderator
#4
Could be clay or meerschaum. Both were big during the 1800's. Possibly a cherrywood stem. Can't see it well enough to say much else about it.
 
#7
I've been very tempted, trust me.. you can't get closer to your past than that. However, if anything at all were to happen, it wouldn't be worth it. It's been in the same shadowbox since before I was born, so I have no idea what condition it's in behind that glass.
Here's another shot of the bowl:

It's difficult to get clear shots for y'all because of the glass reflecting on everything.
Thanks for the link sir, I will check it out.
 

t-bear

Active Member
Member
#8
It's called an Ulm or Ulmer from what I understand. Meerschaum, yes, and these do date to before the Civil War, or as it's better known here, "The Northern War of Aggression". These were originally made in Ulm Germany, hence the name. Some have silver or nickle caps and/or bands...yours may have had the cap...hard to tell from here.

Beautiful pipe amigo...if it has the tip (can't tell from the photo) it is quite possibly a pipe that you can smoke. If you are allowed, just treat it as you would any meerschaum...they are very durable. If the provenance holds true, that's quite a special heirloom.

For reference, here's a photo of mine, brass cap and ring..........
 

yinyang

Some rim charring is to be expected.
Member
#9
How cool is that?

I'd add the observation that it looks almost unsmoked. May be it was a souvenir or a gift?

Awesome heirloom. The only thing I have from my great great grandfather is male pattern baldness. Glad to see it has a place of honor in your family...congrats!
 

dmkerr

PG- free since '83!
Staff member
Moderator
#11
Hmm... you are made of sterner stuff than I. I could not have that pipe sitting around and not smoke it! ;)
 

furious

Active Member
Member
#12
That is a thing of beauty. I would say from this point forward admire it safely behind the glass for 364 days of the year and then carefully take it out, fill with something special, and set it alight on his birthday as a tribute to him. That way, you get to enjoy it as he once did.
 
#13
T-bear, thank you for the information, that actually makes quite a bit of sense. His regiment was made up of German immigrants and rumor has it proudly boasted that they fought under General Franz Siegel. They initially named themselves the "5th German Rifles", and after the disaster at Chancellorsville they were a part of what the rest of the Army of the Potomac derisively nicknamed Oliver Howard's "Flying Dutchmen". An Ulm explains quite a bit about why he would have carried that throughout the war. That's an awesome looking pipe you've got there. The stems look very similar, and the cap would explain the way the bowl on mine appears to have a sleeve.
Another not so great photo of the stem:

The spots on the glass have me concerned, I may at the very least have it remounted in a newer box. During that time, the temptation to smoke it may be too strong even for me. Furious, I like the idea of the birthday smoke. If I cave, I'll let y'all know how it goes.
Thanks again,
Stephen
 

t-bear

Active Member
Member
#15
If it's been in that case for as long as you say, it might well be a good idea to either clean the existing case (also an heirloom?) or have a new case made. As for it being un-smoked, I doubt it....rim looks to have some build-up on it, and yes, looks to have had a cap at one time...cool! If you do decide to re-work/replace the display case, take the time to carefully clean the pipe, and smoke a bowl in your ancestor's honor. Let us know in advance, and we'll join you!
 

t-bear

Active Member
Member
#17
Say, Steven....could you give us a close-up of the photo...assume it's your g-g-grand dad? Would like to see that pipe a bit clearer. Thanks!
 
#18
It's actually an artist's idea of what a soldier in my g-g-grandfathers regiment would have looked like at the battle of Gettysburg. The painting is by Don Troiani and is based on his research of what the 45th New York was issued and carried during the campaign. His inclusion of an Ulm pipe just made it all the more cool to sit next to the one my ancestor carried.
Here's the print:


The artist does incredible paintings if historical art is an interest.
 

MacNutz

Active Member
Member
#19
The spots on the glass are worrysome. There are some fungi/mold that actually eat glass, if very slowly. I would check it our or even take it to a conservator.
 
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