Old Dominion Clay Pipes
Old Dominion's line of clay pipes are quality clay pipes manufactured using a combination of both original and reproduction pipe molds.
Our reproduction molds are copied from original pipe artifacts excavated at a colonial plantation site on our Virginia farm where we grow our heirloom pipe corn. These artifacts were scanned using a 3D scanner, “re-assembled” using computer-aided-design (CAD), and reverse engineered to make a mold using 3D print technology. Using this innovative technique we are able to capture the unique details of the original colonial era clay pipes as they would have come out of the original pipemakers' molds in the 17th and 18th centuries! The clay we use for our reproductions is a non-toxic, commercially refined clay and our pipes are bisque fired as were the originals.
Our current colonial clay pipe offerings include an early 18th century English clay pipe featuring a decorative spur at the base of the bowl (the "Williamsburg") and a 17th century red terra cotta "Colono" clay pipe. The "Williamsburg" is named in honor of the renowned 18th century capital of the Virginia Colony (1699-1780). This shorter stemmed version would have been the constant companion for colonial travelers throughout the Colonies as well as British Redcoats and colonial militia on campaign needing a shorter stemmed pipe that was readily compact and less prone to breakage unlike the longer stemmed tavern pipes.
The "Colono" is actually a very unique and somewhat rare 17th century clay pipe that was produced in the Colonies. Often called "Chesapeake" pipes as they are found and believed to have been produced around the Chesapeake Bay region of Virginia and Maryland, these red terra cotta pipes show signs of Native American, English, and even African influence in both design and decoration. One interesting feature of these pipes is the unique geometric decorative designs found on the bowls and sometimes on the stems as well which are often highlighted with white inlay giving the pipes a very distinctive look (the white inlay does vary on many of the pipes with some being very pronounced while others only show a tracing of white remaining). While many of these pipes were molded by hand, we have chosen to produce ours in a press mold made from 3D scanning a surviving original Colono pipe bowl in our collection. However, like the originals, we apply the decorative design patterns and inlay elements by hand.
In addition to our reproduction pipe molds, we have been very fortunate to begin acquiring original Victorian era clay pipe molds. These orginial bronze and brass molds offer both pipe smokers and collectors exact copies of clay pipes that have not been produced for nearly 100 years! With the outbreak of World War I, many of these brass pipe molds were melted down in order to make shell casings for the war effort. Also, with the cigarette becoming the tobacco product of choice among soldiers on both sides during the war, the clay pipe industry rapidly declined after war's end.
The "Venus" clay pipe is a late Victorian era pipe that is press molded from an original European bronze pipe mold (circa 1900) and features a semi-nude neoclassical woman reclinging against the scallop-shaped bowl and along the narrow stem in a strkingly similar pose to the famous Roman goddess depicted in the well preserved Pompeii fresco at the Casa di Venus, pre 79 A.D. Our rendition of this historic pipe features a red glazed stem tip as had become trendy on clay pipes in the latter half of the 19th and early 20th century. This non-toxic, lead-free glazing offers the pipe smoker a smooth surface area that is not "tacky" or "sticky" to the lips as commonly associated with traditional bisque-fired clay pipes. Although the stem hole is rather small compared to many clay pipes (the original mold requires a fairly narrow wire, approximately 16 ga.) the pipe is smokable and makes the perfect historic pipe whether enjoying your favorite tobacco blend or as an elegant keepsake example of late Victorian era neoclassical art.
WARNING: Old Dominion Pipe Company, LLC does not sell tobacco related products to minors. By purchasing one of our pipes through this website you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age and can legally purchase such products in your state and/or province.
Our "Williamsburg" clay pipe is a faithful reproduction of an an early 18th Century English clay pipe. It's named in honor of the Virginia Colony's renowned 18th century capital (1699 -1780), where many of these English clay pipes were imported and enjoyed by the colonists. Old Dominion's “Williamsburg” clay pipe makes a great smoker for the tobacco pipe enthusiast or simply as a keepsake souvenir for those interested in the history of Colonial America.
These original clay pipe artifacts (excavated at a colonial plantation site on the same farm where we grow our heirloom pipe corn) were used to create our own pipe mold for making our reproduction "Williamsburg" clay pipe. Note the residual carbon "cake" around the rim and inside the chamber of the original bowl on the right.
Old Dominion's "Colono" clay pipe was carefully developed using 3D scans of an actual intact Colono pipe bowl in our collection. This unique reproduction of a scarce and somewhat mysterious colonial pipe is a must for the serious clay pipe enthusiast. With its unusually large bowl chamber (nearly 5/8" measured from the top of the rim) compared to English and Dutch clay pipes of the era, the Colono offers a descent size bowl to enjoy your favorite tobacco blend, while offering a smooth and easy draw.
Original 17th Century "Colono" or "Chesapeake" terra cotta pipe artifacts excavated at our colonial Virginia plantation site. The original artifacts appear to have been molded by hand and cording was used to make the geometric patterns which vary slightly from pipe to pipe. The spacing and precision with which the geometric patterns were pressed into the pipes also vary which may indicate different individuals with varying skill levels were employed in applying the decorative elements to the pipes.
Archaeologists and colonial historians still differ in opinion as to how and why these terra cotta pipes were made in the Colonies. Some believe that they were made by the local Algonquin Indian tribes as a means of barter and trade with the local English colonists. Other argue that they were produced by local English colonial craftsmen and still others argue that they may have even been produced by African slaves. There is a strong feeling that the English Civil War fought in the mid-17th century helped give rise to these colonial made pipes due to fewer trade goods arriving from England and the Colonists having to become more self-reliant. Regardless, these pipes appear to disappear by the end of the 17th Century.
Our "Venus" clay pipe is a superb example of neoclassical art applied to clay pipe making during the late Victorian era. The semi-nude female figure is dressed in a classical tunic and reclines against the graceful scallop-shaped bowl. The pipe is finished with a red glazed tip to provide the smoker with a smooth "non-tacky" surface. Whether purchasing this pipe to enjoy with your favorite tobacco blend, or simply buying it as an elegant keepsake, the Venus will make a fine addition to any collection.
Our "Venus" bronze pipe mold, circa 1900.