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Oswald (19) provides a few important caveats when embarking on a study of pipe makers marks. This included nearly 99 percent of pipes manufactured in the early 17th century, though this estimate diminishes to about 40 percent of all pipes in the 19th century.

And even if your pipe bears a complete mark, identification can be difficult to impossible because of the redundancy of pipe makers initials and the incomplete nature of pipe manufacture lists.

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The effects of English pipe manufacture eventually came full circle back to the American Indians through the fur trade sometime early in the 1600’s.

Excavations at Fort Union, located along the upper Missouri River (1828-1867), yielded some 10,000 clay pipe fragments.

The English pipe-making industry grew quickly to satisfy the growing demand of people, including women and children, to take up the art of “tobacco drinking” as it was then called.

The basic form of the pipe has changed little over the long history of pipe smoking, however there have been notable variations in pipe styles effecting the size of the bowl and the length of the stem.

Quarterly Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Virginia 20(4):86-102.

1977 Clay Tobacco-Pipes, with Particular Reference to the Bristol Industry.

By the 19th century, stem marks appear in rectangular blocks often with maker in addition to the town of manufacture (Nol Hume 195). Price 1974 Bristol Clay Pipes: A Study of Makers and their Marks. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, PA.

In the case of Dutch pipes from the later seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, they are distinguished from the English pipes not only by their bowl shape and presence of rouletting around the rim, but also because pipemakers continued to mark their pipes on the heel, often using minuscule marks (Gaulton 1999).

Impressed into clay tobacco pipes are bits of data that have fueled endless research avenues since the earliest days of archaeology on historic sites excavated on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

This crowdsourced database focuses on just one bit the remains of the marks of the pipe maker or a preferred symbol permanently affixed to the product.

Oswalds (198-207) publication remains the most comprehensive compilation of pipe makers in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.

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