Dating clay smoking pipes

The most significant pieces will form the basis of a study collection to which can be linked to a specific location and examples already in the collection at the Fleur de Lis.

A fragment of clay pipe of late post-medieval/ early modern date (c.1878-1907), consisting of part of the stem and an incomplete foot only. The casting seam is clearly visible on opposing sides of the stem, to top and bottom. To one side of the stem is the stamped inscription F. A heel fragment dating from the first half of the nineteenth century with the relief moulded maker's initials WN. The clay tobacco pipe has been moulded from a white pipeclay.

American studies of earlier colonial settlements further revealed that the stem bore size generally decreased from 8/64" circa 1620 to 4/64" circa 1760.

After the later date bore size become less reliable as a dating aid.

Research into the development of pipe design, based on examples datable by other means, has identified changes in form which suggest a chronological progression.

During the course of the ‘Hunt The Saxons’ excavations, July 2005, many clay pipe fragments were uncovered.

Another dating indicator is the inside diameter of the bowl which increased from ¼ " circa 1560 to ½ " circa 1700, again becoming less reliable at later dates.

Pipes with simple embossed decoration occurred from the early 17th century.

Higgins added that Lyon must have been one of the principal manufacturers in Cumbria. An incomplete clay tobacco pipe, dating to the late 17th / early 18th century. The mark can also be compared with two pipes from Taunton illustrated in Leach (1984,148-150… David Higgins reports: This is a heel fragment from a clay tobacco pipe bowl of a form that was current from around 1780-1830. Length: 50.7mm, Width of heel: 11.9mm, Width of stem: 10.1mm, Thickness of stem: 9.1mm, Weight: 5.71g An identical maker's mark is illustrated by Leach (1984: 148, no. Most of the bowl is missing but the heel is stamped with the makers mark: WILL/ PITCH/ER in three lines within a pellet circle. The pipe measures 51.3mm in length, 14.7 in width and weighs 6.37g.

The bow and stem junction from a Post Medieval to Modern clay pipe with the initials HT. The earlier examples of this style usually had the mould seam at the base of the heel trimmed off with a knife, but this example is not trimmed, suggesting that it is likely to date from around 1800 or later. Both front and back seams are decorated with a leaf or wheat-ear pattern. William Pitcher is listed as a maker from Beaminster in Dorset active c.1700 (Oswald 1975 p167). To the outside of the bowl it is flanked alternately by moulded ears of corn and V-shaped ribs.

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