A Dunhill Pipe Dating Guide


Published inPipe Smoker, Winter 1984
A part of the guide was re-published in the Spring 2005 issue ofPipes and Tobaccos

Please note: Scanning the text from the original article has presented problems, some of which I have not been able to solve. Much of the spacing in this presentation is not as intended.

Alfred Dunhill began to manufacture briar smoking pipes in1910;the famous white spot first appeared on top of the hand-cut vulcanite mouthpiece in1915in order that the customer should know which part faced upwards. At about this same time a one year guarantee against defects was offered on the bowl of each pipe, and to insure against far older Dunhill pipes being replaced under this guarantee a simple dating code, showing the year of manufacture, was devised and stamped onto each pipe bowl. This code is still in use today.

Over the ensuing years great interest has arisen over the "mystique" of the Dunhill pipe in general and the dating code in particular. Pipe collectors, especially in America, pride themselves on having acquired Dunhill pipes in prime condition which were made in the1920's, 1930'sand1940's.Some collectors strive to acquire only those Dunhill pipes made between1920(when Dunhill stopped buying bowls turned in France in favor of those turned in London at the newly opened Dunhill bowl-turning facility) and1928(the year of Alfred Dunhill's retirement). Consequently, much confusion has arisen over the dating code because it has not been standardized over the years, and seemingly minor differences in the code can mean a difference of years, even decades, in the manufacture of the pipe.

Adding to this is the fact that the firm has used a great many special stampings depending on what part of the world to which their pipes were destined, and that sometimes these stampings or codes were used for only three or four months duration.

Leading to even greater confusion is that many pipes were simply stamped incorrectly; at times one part or another of the code is not to be found on a given pipe.

Taking all this into account it should not be surprising that the original and complete dating code list, in possession of the firm's archivist at 30 Duke Street, is some twenty eight pages long. And even if this list was made available it would be of little use to any but the most expert because it can only be used in conjunction with the most precise knowledge of the Dunhill pipe as it has changed in appearance over the years.

But enough of the complications in dating Dunhill pipes. What follows is a "general guide" as to dating; with it the reader should be able to date the majority of Dunhill pipes with which he/she comes into contact.


Types of finish:


1)

Bruyere

-introduced in 1910; signified by an "A" (meaning' best quality) on the side of the shank through 1975. "Inner Tube" stamped on shank through 1934.

2)Root- introduced in 1930; signified by an "R" stamped on the shank through 1975.

3)Shell- introduced in 1917.

4)Tanshell-introduced in 1953.

5)Redbark-introduced in 1973.

6)Cumberland-introduced in 1980.


Special series:

H.W.-

"hand, worked". A hand-carved (as opposed to machine-carved) pipe of classic design. "H.W." stamped on shank. Not made after 1930's.

D. R."dead root". Denotes Dunhill straight grain pipes. The bruyere finish was used on these pipes through 1929; root finish was used thereafter. "D.R." stamped on shank.

O.D. "own design". Denotes a pipe designed by the customer and carved to order. "O.D." stamped on shank. Not made after late 1920's or early 1930's. In 1950 a special series of "ODA" pipes was begun and continued through 1975. These were not carved to order.

Collector- denotes hand-turned bowls (as opposed to machine-turned) made from plateau briar. Introduced in 1978.

Dating of Bruyere and Root finishes - 1925onwards

1925 DUNHILL MADE IN ENGLAND
LONDON on one side "INNER TUBE"
PAT.N0.116989/ 175
NOTE: For the years 1925 through 1941 the suffix number (denoting the year of manufacture) is sometimes after the patent number and sometimes after the word ENGLAND.

1926-34 As above but with annual change of suffix number 6(1926) 7(1927) 8(1928) 9(1929) 0(1930) 11(1931) 12(1932) 13(1933) 14(1934)
NOTE: For the years 1925-34 other patent numbers were sometimes used in place of 116989/17. Some examples are: 5861/12 (English); 1343253/20 (U.S.)

1935-41 MADE IN ENGLAND1516 17 18 19 0 1
PAT.N0.417574

1942-50 MADE IN ENGLAND2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
PAT. NO. 417574/34
NOTE: From this time onward the suffix number is always after the word ENGLAND.

1951 As above but with the suffix1after the word ENGLAND; in addition a group number e.g. 4 R or 3 A is introduced for the first time.

1952 As above but with the suffix2after the word ENGLAND. Also, instead of DUNHILL/LONDON the finish of the pipe is stamped under the word Dunhill e.g. DUNHILL/ROOT BRIAR

1953-54 As above but with3or 4 as suffix according to the year made.

1955-60 From 1955 the patent number is no longer shown
on the pipe. Examples for this period read:

4 R DUNHILL 4 A DUNHILL
or
ROOT BRIAR BRUYERE
on one side, and on the other
MADE IN
ENGLAND
5 6 7 8 90according to the year.
NOTE: During this period the line under the suffix number was sometimes not stamped, but the suffix number itself is always smaller than the D in ENGLAND.

1961-70 Same as above but with the line under the suffix number omitted. In addition from 1965-70 the size of the suffix number is the same as the D in ENGLAND.

1971-75 As above but with a double suffix number (sometimes underlined).
MADE IN
ENGLAND 11 12 13 14 15

1976 - 77During this period the group number and finish code were dropped and the old shape numbers were dropped in favor of a new system. Shape numbers during this period had either 3, 4, or 5 digits.

MADE IN
ENGLAND 16 17 according to the year

1978-82 In 1978 shape numbers allbecame five digit. Also the double digit suffix number (sometimes underlined) again became smaller than the D in ENGLAND.

MADE IN
ENGLAND18 19 20 21 22 according to the year

Dating of Shell, Tanshell, Redbark, and Cumberland finishes-1925 onwards:

1925 DUNHILL'S "SHELL" MADE IN ENGLAND PAT. NOS. 119708/17 & 116989/175

NOTE: As with the smooth finishes during the period 1925 through 1941 the suffix number is sometimes after the patent number and sometimes after the word ENGLAND.


1926-34 As above but with annual change of suffix number 6 (1926)
7(1927)8(1928)9(1929) 0 (1930)11(1931) 12 (1932)13(1933)14(1934)
NOTE: For the years 1925-34 other patent numbers were sometimes used in place of 119708/17 & 116989/17. Some examples are: 5861/12 (English); 1341418/20 (U.S.); 1130806/15 (U.S.); 1343253/20 U.S.); 1861910/32 (U.S. - used only for Vernon Dunhill fitment pipe).

1935-41 DUNHILL SHELL MADE IN ENGLAND
PAT. N0.4175741516 17 18 19 0 1

1942-50 DUNHILL SHELL MADE IN ENGLAND

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

PAT. NO. 417574/34

NOTE: From this time onward the suffix number is always after the word ENGLAND.

1951 As above but with the suffix1after the word ENGLAND; in addition a group number e.g. 2 S; 4 S is introduced for the first time.

1952 DUNHILL MADE IN ENGLAND2group number
SHELL BRIAR PAT. NO. 417574/34

1953-54 The Tanshell finish is introduced in 1953. As above but with the suffix3or4after the word ENGLAND.

1955-60 From 1955 the patent number is no longer shown on the pipe. DUNHILL
SHELL BRIAR
MADE IN

ENGLAND

56 7 8 9 0(according to the year)

.

NOTE: During this period the line under the suffix number was sometimes not stamped, but the suffix number itself is always smaller than the D in ENGLAND.

1961-70 As above, but with the line under the suffix number omitted. From 1965-70 the size of the suffix number is the same as the D in ENGLAND.
MADE IN
ENGLAND 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

1971-75 As above, but with a double digit suffix number (sometimes underlined). The Redbark is introduced in 1973.
MADE IN
ENGLAND 11 12 13 14 15

1976-77 During this period the group number and finish code were dropped and the old shape numbers were dropped in favor of a new system. Shape numbers during this period had either 3, 4, or 5 digits.
DUNHILL SHELL
MADE IN ENGLAND 16 17

1978-82 In 1978 shape numbers all became five digit. Also the double digit suffix number (sometimes underlined) again became smaller than the D in ENGLAND. The Cumberland finish is introduced in 1980.
DUNHILL SHELL
MADE IN ENGLAND
18 1920 2122

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