Dating old clay pipes
Some pipes were formed with heel or spur underneath the bowl.Recently we found a pipe spur that had the initials “W” one one side and “I” on the other. The stem portion can be varying lengths and includes the bore hole and mouthpiece.
Lewis Binford later modified and improved Harrington’s method using a statistical formula (Cambridge Archaeology Field Group 2012).
During the 19th Century, however, pipemaking began to be concentrated in several factories.
The former works of William Southorn & Co survives intact on King Street, Broseley and is now a piece of clay is rolled until it is about 4 long and in diameter.
Exact bowl measurements are not particularly helpful when determining date because each producer had their own distinct molds.
Lastly, maker’s marks, if present, can be very helpful in determining pipe dates.