Vintage Bagpipe Archive

Photos and descriptions of all instruments featured
since October 2010

  • Robertson, post-1950, full ivory

    SOLD – James Robertson’s company made pipes from around 1908 until the mid-1960s with never a drop in production values or tonal quality. Even after Robertson’s death in 1948, not only did the company maintain its quality but the pipes produced in the 1950s and ’60s were arguably the best the company ever made.

    This set is in excellent condition, still sporting its original finish. It’s difficult to date ivory Robertsons specifically, but this set is certainly from the 1950s-60s period. The set had no cracks and needed no repairs. The stocks, as visible in the photos, have tapered bores — a common trait in Robertsons from this period. This was said to ease air flow and reduce turbulence in the stocks.

    Like virtually all Robertsons I’ve ever played, these drones were robust, rich and steady with my Canning drone reeds. Robertsons are always a pleasure to play.

  • Robertson, circa 1920s, ebony, nickel, holly

    SOLD – The scribe lines in the middle of the nickel ferrules on this old Robertson bagpipe tell us it was made in the 1920s. The wood is ebony, quite visible by the wee channels and fissures noticeable in the wood.

    The set originally had casein caps, but this material deteriorates so the previous owner had it replaced with holly.

    The pipes were in very good shape at acquisition. One small crack on the heel of the chanter stock was repaired, and it’s possible the chanter stock is a blackwood replica with the original mount.  The finish on the set was excellent, needing only a polish. The blowpipe has had a thin brass or copper lining inserted into it at some point. The tuning chambers were reamed to even up their action.

    Robertson was one of the most consistent pipemakers of all time. The company’s reputation for tone and quality of manufacturing was exemplary, and this set is no exception.  It locked nicely into tune and stayed there, with a robust and seamless sound.

     

  • Henderson, circa 1920, cocuswood, ivory, silver slides

    SOLD – This gorgeous Henderson set is thought to date from around 1920. The wood is cocus. The drones are mounted in ivory. The engraved silver slides were added by a previous owner in 2008. A subsequent owner had the slides gold plated.

    The ivory stock ferrules have been replaced at some point by high-quality imitation ivory that is an excellent match for the rest of the set. The mouthpiece has matching imitation ivory and silver.  The chanter is thought to be the original Henderson chanter. The cord guides are all stamped “P. Henderson.”

    The blowstick had a previously repaired crack that we re-enforced. Aside from that, the set is in splendid condition. The tuning chambers were reamed to even up the tuning action. The set had been refinished some years ago and that finish is still pristine.

    The drones played beautifully for me. They tuned in the right places, they were robust, rich, and locked right into tune with my Canning drone reeds. It’s a special set.

     

  • Inveran, 2002, reclaimed silver and ivory

    SOLD – In the year 2000, master player Brian Donaldson took over the Inveran Bagpipes shop founded by Jimmy Tweedie, a firm now resident in the United States.

    This bagpipe was made by Brian Donaldson in 2002 using silver and ivory reclaimed from older sets. The ivory was taken from an early 1900s set — spider lines are clear on one of the bass projecting mounts. The ferrules and caps are silver, without hallmarks; the silver slides are hallmarked 2002. One tenor stock has been replaced using the original mount, and the blowpipe is a replacement with an imitation ivory mount. The top bass silver slide has some slight dents, and two of the stock ferrules have very slight splits in the seam that are stable.

    The pipes have been refinished and hairlines under some ferrules fixed and the pipes now look splendid.

    I played the drones for 10 minutes with my own Canning reeds and they were full, rock steady and showed great blend with the chanter.  This bagpipe would be comfortable on any stage or on any parade.

     

  • Center, circa 1908, German silver and ivory

    SOLD – John Center was a superb pipemaker (and photographer) who made pipes in Edinburgh from 1869 until 1908 before moving to Australia in that year. He died in 1913, but his son James (the subject of Willie Ross’s jig “Center’s Bonnet”) continued to run the business until his death from the Spanish flu in 1919. Pipes by the Centers are rare and distinctive both tonally and visually.

    The fact that this set is African blackwood suggests it was made after 1900 as blackwood was coming into wider use over ebony and cocuswood. It may have been made in Australia.

    The German may or may not be original to the set. The chanter stock looks distinctly like a Starck  replacement, with the German silver ferrule retrofitted over top of ivory. The blowstick is a poly-lined/blackwood replica. The blowstick stock is not original, and the matching ferrule is split but solid and stable. The imitation ivory mouthpiece bulb is mounted with a Sterling silver sleeve. The drones and drone stocks are all original. There is some staining on the tenor projecting mounts.

    The set was stripped and refinished; no cracks or hairlines were found.

    Tonally, the set is magic. It’s a bold, seamless sound that held rock steady as I tested the pipes for 10 minutes with my reeds.

     

  • Atherton MD, 2009, full imitation ivory

    SOLD – This 2009 Dave Atherton “MD” set is modelled after a Duncan MacDougall set owned by the late Roddy MacDonald, Deleware. It is African blackwood and full imitation ivory.

    Dave’s reputation as perhaps the premier modern pipemaker is well earned. His instruments are beautifully and meticulously crafted and display a bold and steady tone. Atherton pipes — in particular the MD — have been adopted by some of the world’s greatest pipers. The wood Dave used was exceptional, and these pipes are in demand.

    This set came to me unblemished but for a very small chip in the bass ring, visible in the photos. Tuning chambers were still perfect. It played exactly like my own set, remarkably steady, full, and with lots of harmonics.

    Some day this will be a premier vintage set. For now, it’s a premier modern set.

  • Henderson, circa 1915, full ivory

    SOLD – This is a tonally spectacular set of Hendersons, likely made in the years around 1915. At first glance this appeared to be cocuswood, but upon stripping the finish it was found to be African blackwood. The pipes are mounted in full ivory.

    All pieces are original. There were the beginnings of cracks in several places, but these have been invisible whipped. There were the beginnings of a couple of wormholes that were filled. None of these repairs is visible, and none of them will be problems again. The tuning chambers were evened out.

    I loved this set when I played it with my Canning drone reeds. It was robust, rock steady, tonally captivating, and the chanter just latched right onto the drone sound. This is a special set.

  • Robertson, Silver and ivory, hallmarked 1961

    SOLD – We had a set almost identical to this on the site a few weeks ago, hallmarked 1960-61. This set has pieces hallmarked 1959, 1960 and 1961, so clearly Robertson kept a large stock of ready-to-go engraved silver, and the pipes were probably made in 1961.

    The set was in great shape, requiring only a polish on the lathe and rehemping. One tenor lower projecting mount has a narrow crack that goes right through in the middle, but is quite secure around the edges, so it shouldn’t be a problem. The original ivory mouthpiece bulb was missing, so an imitation ivory bulb was made and fitted with the original silver sleeve.

    The stocks have tapered bores, a practice adopted by Robertson during this period.

    The pipes played boldly, brightly and steadily for me; the tenors tuned a bit low on the pins, but the drones showed great chanter blend.

  • Duncan MacDougall, circa 1890, ebony, marine ivory

    SOLD – Lovely MacDougalls like these come up periodically, and I’m always pleased when they do, because they are all good. It’s difficult to date Duncan MacDougall’s pipes from this period, but 10 years on either side of 1890 is probably accurate.  The three wide cord guides, the distinctive ferrules and the elegant projecting mounts combine to make this a classic example of Duncan’s work.

    The set came to me with some damage, almost all of it reparable. The only replacement pieces are the blowstick and blowstick stock. The stock is a poly-lined replacement with original mount; the blowstick is an old Glen with a Glen parrot’s beak mount and a copper sleeve in the bore. It’s a good match for the pipes. One stock ferrule has a crack that has been sealed and is visible in the photos. Being ebony of substantial age, there were a number of hairline and ‘beginner’ cracks in the sticks. We take no chances with ebony and these have been sealed and invisible whipped. One tenor projecting mount is not flush to the wood. Unfortunately even my reliable refurbishers at Dunbar Bagpipes could not get that mount loose, and that’s saying something. So the small gap visible in the pics is a permanent fixture.

    The pipes were completely stripped and refinished and the tuning chambers were evened out.

    The pipes played much like my own MacDougalls. They locked in with my Canning drone reeds and played me a seamless wall of sound for the 20 minutes I played them.

  • Robertson, silver and ivory, hallmarked 1960-61

    SOLD – This Robertson set displays the classic ‘mushroom’ ivory projecting mounts when they were most mushroom like, and it was made at a time when the Robertson company may have been at its best, 1960-61, as evidenced by the hallmark on each piece. The pipes needed no repairs, only a polish on the lathe. The tuning chambers were evened out.

    The pipes still have their original finish and there are no replacement or repaired wood or ivory pieces. The chanter, silver sole, mouthpiece bulb and silver sleeve are all original. The silver sleeve had split on the seam, but this has been resealed.

    The stocks are conically bored, meaning the bores are wider at the bottom than the top. Some makers believe this improves air flow to the drones for a steadier sound. Moisture control systems that insert into the bottoms of the stocks can’t be used with conically bored stocks.

    As I always am with Robertsons, I was taken with the rich, robust tone and extreme steadiness of these drones, which I played for 35 minutes, touching them up only twice after the initial tune-up. They were just lovely — as good as Robertsons get.

     

  • Alexander Glen circa 1860, ebony, marine ivory

    SOLD – This set came through the shop in 2018 and found its way back to me, as many sets do after some years of use. The description below was written then. The photos are new and the pipes were tested anew.

    “Alexander Glen began making pipes in Edinburgh around 1835 and continued until his death in 1873. His son David was perhaps the most famous Glen in this pipemaking dynasty that spanned more than 120 years, but Alex set the original standard for craftsmanship.

    “This remarkable set came to me almost complete, lacking only its blowpipe. The wood is ebony and the mounts are marine ivory — walrus — which was used widely in pipemaking during the 19th century. The pipes display the narrow profiles and mounts typical of Edinburgh pipemakers during this period.

    Alexander Glen with son David in their Edinburgh shop around 1870.

    “Unfortunately, the blowpipe stock and one tenor stock were cracked badly enough that it was best to make blackwood replicas. The blowpipe and blowpipe stock are poly-lined, with the projecting mount on the blowstick coming from an orphan tenor bottom in my collection that matched very well. A number of hairline cracks in the drone pieces were invisible whipped and will not recur. It would appear that one of the tenor bushings may have been replaced at some point in the distant past. The pipes have been completely refinished (2018).”

    The tone was sonorous, rich and steady, slightly fuller in sound than son David’s pipes.

    This is a lovely piece of antique history as well as a superb musical instrument.

     

  • Starck, circa 1930, German silver and ivory

    SOLD – This bagpipe was presented to me as a Glen instrument because the J & R Glen name was engraved on the chanter sole (visible in the picture below). However, the deeply cut beads on the wood are the most distinctive feature on pipes made by the Henry Starck company. Henry Starck, a German woodwind maker living in London, was convinced by William Ross, the Queen’s Piper, to make bagpipes for him. And what a bagpipe he made from the late 1880s onward! Early Starcks are superbly made and very toneful.

    It would appear that at some point this set had the engraved German silver caps and slides added, almost certainly by the J & R Glen company, given their stamp (but no hallmark) on the chanter sole.

    All pieces appear to be original, but for the mouthpiece sleeve, which is a match for the thistle engraving but is actually hallmarked silver. The chanter is a J & R Glen, which must have been acquired along with the engraving. The chanter sole is detached from the chanter and can be installed on any modern chanter.

    The pipes came crack free and in great shape, requiring only a clean-and-polish on the lathe.  They were robust and rock steady on my shoulder, with a great chanter blend.

     

  • Henderson, circa 1920, German silver and ivory

    SOLD – This bagpipe is very interesting. At first glance you would call it silver and ivory, and indeed it is, but with a catch. The metal is only 7% silver — just enough to give it a real sheen when you take the silver polishing cloth to it. These non-hallmarked “silver” and ivory pipes are more common than we might think, and several sets I’ve tested have come out with less than 10% silver.

    Having said that, they can be gorgeous in a way modern nickel or aluminum alloy doesn’t capture, and this set is just that. The ivory is nearly pristine. The set was stripped and refinished, a process that uncovered some hairline cracks, usually under ferrules. These have been invisible whipped and will not bring further trouble. The blowpipe stock is a poly-lined blackwood replica with the original ferrule. The mouthpiece bulb is a modern replacement, but the metal sleeve is original to the pipes

    These pipes played beautifully for me, locking in with that steady, seamless Henderson tone we hear so much about. It’s great to have it on your shoulder.

  • Duncan MacDougall, circa 1880, ebony, marine ivory

    SOLD – I first acquired this bagpipe around a dozen years ago. It was my first MacDougall purchase. I loved the bagpipe and played it for a little under two years, then sold it on. It had come from the Aberdeen area and was rife with cracks. These were repaired before my refurbishers learned how to do invisible whipping, so the whipping is visible on several pieces. The pipes went to Alaska and its harsh, dry winters, where some more cracking occurred that was invisible whipped. When I bought the pipes back several months ago more cracks had appeared and these were invisible whipped. I daresay nearly every piece has been whipped, but the pipes still play like a dream.

    The pipes are ebony, with marine ivory mounts. They came with no blowstick or stock. This blowstick is an old cocuswood Glen, with a parrot-beak bead, but the colour matches the pipes. The blowstick stock is also a cocuswood Glen. The original refurbisher said that the bass top and mid-joint were not original to the pipes, but were made by Duncan MacDougall. Weird. Some ferrules have scribe lines and some don’t. Those with may be replacements, as may be the particularly white ones. However, all drone pieces and most of the stocks are original Duncan MacDougall

    The drones are brass-lined — a great contributor to cracking but with a lovely tuning action — and the wider cord guides are typical of Duncan’s work, though these aren’t as wide as some.

    This bagpipe supports the belief that when properly fixed, cracks have no effect on the tone of a bagpipe. Pieces rarely need to be replaced.

     

  • Alexander or J&R Glen circa 1860, cocuswood drones, bone, ivory, imitation ivory

    SOLD – This bagpipe came to me as an Alexander Glen, circa 1870. Alexander Glen was one of the seminal Edinburgh pipemakers of the mid-1800s, brother of Thomas MacBean Glen, another iconic Edinburgh maker, and father of David, who would take the business into the 20th century. They were part of a school of pipemakers that favoured very delicately turned instruments with narrow profiles and mounts. This set fits nicely into the Edinburgh school.

    Alex Glen made pipes from 1833 until his death in 1872, when the company passed to David. John and Robert Glen ( J&R) were sons of Thomas MacBean Glen. They began making pipes in their father’s business the years around 1860. This set is thought to date from around this time. My consultations with the foremost Glen expert I know, Andreas Virnich-Hartmann, suggest that this is an early J&R Glen set, and not ruling out Thomas himself.

    The instrument appears to have undergone a series of repairs over the years, with some of the original bone mounts being replaced as they were lost. Some of the replacement mounts are celluloid, some may be ivory, but suffice to say they are all excellent ivory substitutes. So while there are small inconsistencies in the mounts, the overall look and patina are quite attractive. The stocks are replacements in their entirety, mounted in very convincing imitation ivory. One hairline crack on a tenor top was discovered at the photo stage (see if you can find it) and has now been invisible whipped. The instrument has been stripped and refinished recently.

    The tone of the drones with my Canning reeds was bold. The drones locked and there was a good blend with the chanter.

  • Lawries, circa 1910, ebony, nickel, celluloid rings

    SOLD – This is an interesting and rare find: an ebony Lawrie complete with a 1912 bill of sale describing it even then as a used bagpipe.

    Ebony Lawries are rare, and this set sports the spun nickel ferrules unique to R. G. Lawrie. The rings appear to be celluloid, which is the most convincing imitation ivory ever devised. (It went out of fashion in the mid-1900s because it tended to catch fire of the lathe.) The bushes are ivory.

    As expected in ebony that comes to North America, there were some hairline cracks that were invisible whipped, and all but two undetectable.

    The pipes played beautifully with my Canning drone reeds. The drones are robust and vibrant and locked in right off. They have a seamless blend I find quite common in old ebony.

    Email me about this set.

    As shown, sticks only, original chanter
    CAD $4,750 plus shipping

    Set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, polypenco chanter of choice, Ezeedrone drone reeds, Highland Gear bag cover, plain coloured silk drone cords, plastic chanter cap. (To add Ross or Bannatyne Canister system and Ross valve/watertrap, add CAD $165) (For an African Blackwood chanter instead of polypenco, request add-on price.)
    CAD $5,425  plus shipping

  • Hutcheon (suspected), circa 1890, cocuswood, nickel, ivory rings

    SOLD – This is a make we haven’t had on the site before. The pipes came to me as J&R Glen, but a quick examination dispelled that notion. The closest maker I and my vintage cronies could come up with was James Hutcheon, who made pipes in Edinburgh from 1887 to 1913.  However, Hutcheon is also noted for adorning mounts with a band of three narrow scribe lines, rather than two. This set has two. These pipes came with what may be the original chanter, but with no sole and no maker stamp. So determining a maker is pretty much educated guesswork. A small ridge in the ivory rings is also unique.

    The pipes are quite lovely, in cocuswood, ivory and nickel. They played much like a David Glen bagpipe — subdued, but rich. The tenors tune a bit low, but were steady as well. The set comes with an extra bottom bass joint that appears to be cocuswood, but could be blackwood. The bass is much more robust and buzzy with this joint, whereas the original maintains the more restrained sound of the drones.

     

  • Duncan MacDougall, circa 1890, ebony, marine ivory

    SOLD — This is a gorgeous example of Duncan MacDougall’s work, likely from a few years on either side of 1890. They are Gaboon ebony and marine ivory, likely walrus tusk.

    As is almost invariably the case with old ebony, there were some hairline cracks:  four stocks and the two tenor tops. These were invisible whipped and require a good eye to see.

    The set played beautifully.  I was struck immediately by how air efficient they were — a Duncan MacDougall trait — yet how much power they had. They were rich and vibrant and locked into tune right away with my Canning drone reeds.

    Classic set. The set also comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from Ron Bowen.

    Email me about this set.

    As shown, sticks only, original chanter
    CAD $7,590 plus shipping

    Set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, polypenco chanter of choice, Ezeedrone drone reeds, Highland Gear bag cover, plain coloured silk drone cords, plastic chanter cap. (To add Ross or Bannatyne Canister system and Ross valve/watertrap, add CAD $165) (For an African Blackwood chanter instead of polypenco, request add-on price.)
    CAD $8,200 plus shipping

  • Henderson, 1931, African blackwood, ivory, engraved silver slides hallmarked

    SOLD – The silver slides hallmarked 1931 suggest an exact year of manufacture for this Henderson set. The lovely, aged amber appearance of the ivory, the general profiles of the pieces and the fact that the silver maker’s mark is PH, for Peter Henderson, all suggest that the slides are original to the pipes and the pipes were made in 1931-32.

    The pipes came with a section of one tenor top that was missing three combed sections. This combing was subsequently added by Dunbar Bagpipes. The work is slightly visible up close to the piece. The chanter stock was cracked, but has since been invisible whipped and should give no more problems. It would appear that the blowstick stock ferrule, if not the whole stock, is a replacement. The ferrule on the stock appears to be catalin, but a pretty reasonable match to the rest of the set. The chanter is a Henderson, but not original to the set.

    These played like classic Hendersons, bold, steady and seamless, and came into tune quickly with my Canning drone reeds.

  • Robertson, circa 1930s, African blackwood, nickel, casein

    SOLD – The double scribe lines in the middle of the ferrules tell us right away that this is a Robertson bagpipe from the 1920s. Other features such as the wood projecting mount shapes, the square profiles of the upper pieces and the casein ring caps complete the Robertson identification.

    The set needed no repairs, only a polish on the lathe. The blowpipe came with a copper insert, suggesting it may have cracked at some time, but no crack is visible.

    The casein is in excellent shape — not chalky and mottled as is usual. It looks as though it has been skimmed and polished on a lathe, renewing its original patina. The chanter appears original to the set, though the casein sole has not been skimmed.

    The pipes played well, the tenors tuning lower than usual. The drones locked in nicely with my Canning reeds, and displayed typical Robertson steadiness and richness.

  • Mixed parts, circa 1930s

    SOLD – This instrument came to me just as it is. It is a mix of three premier pipemakers: Henderson, Lawrie and Robertson. One tenor drone appears to be Henderson, the other a Lawrie. The bass top and bottom are Robertson, and the bass mid-joint is Henderson. All stocks but the chanter stock are Robertson. The blowstick is a Robertson.  All of the pieces are thought to originate in the 1930s. At some point all of the tuning slides were fitted with engraved sleeves which appear to be silver, though they are not hallmarked.

    As you might expect from pieces from renown pipemakers, the pipes play very well.  Full and rich, they locked in nicely with my Canning drone reeds.

    All of the pieces are in excellent shape, though one tenor stock has a small gouge of it it. The ivory has some minor staining issues.

    The only provenance known for this set is that it came out of the estate of Bill Burnett, former co-owner of Burnetts and Struth Scottish Regalia in Ontario. Bill passed away in the early 2000s, so the pipes have been dormant since then.

     

     

  • Robertson, full ivory, circa 1930s

    SOLD – We’ve had a few Robertson pipes on the site recently. This set appears to date from the 1930s, perhaps the early part of that decade. The mushroom mounts are more subdued and as close to a ‘standard’ look as Robertson ever got. The ferrules are long with a small bead, and the double scribe lines have migrated from the middle of the ferrule in the 1920s to the bottom in the 1930s.

    The set came to me with some minor hairline cracks under ferrules. These were fixed and will cause no more trouble. The bass mid-joint came with a brass sleeve in the tuning chamber, likely to counter a small crack which has now been addressed with invisible whipping. The set has been stripped and refinished. It comes with what is most likely the original chanter, though a 100-year-old chanter is more a curiosity than something you would play.

    These pipes played beautifully with my reeds and chanter in typical Robertson fashion — full, rich and steady.

    James Robertson made pipes in Edinburgh as early as 1908. He died in 1948 but the high tonal and manufacturing standard he set was maintained until the company ceased operations in 1965.

     

  • C. E. Kron ‘Standard’, 2006, silver, blackwood mounts

    SOLD – This Kron ‘Standard’ set was made by Dave Atherton in Charley Kron’s shop and is hallmarked 2006.

    I sold the bagpipe originally to the first owner, and purchased it back from the second.  The set has been well taken care of and is in mint condition. It is beautifully made, as were all of Dave Atherton’s bagpipes.

    Charley Kron has made bagpipes in Dobbs Ferry NY since he learned the trade from former James Robertson employee and Scots Guards Pipe Major George Kilgour in the mid-1980s. Dave Atherton raised the profile of the company in the early 2000s, becoming known as an extraordinary craftsman, meticulous with wood selection and turning detail. Dave would subsequently leave the firm.

    This bagpipe played beautifully on my shoulder, steady and full, silver gleaming.

    It comes with its original Kron Medallist chanter and sole. The blowpipe is brass lined, and the mouthpiece bulb is solid silver.

     

  • Robertson, silver and ivory, hallmarked 1947-48

    SOLD – James Robertson made pipes in Edinburgh as early as 1908. He died in 1948 but the high tonal and manufacturing standard he set was maintained until the company ceased operations in 1965.

    This is a classic silver and ivory Robertson, with every piece hallmarked 1947-48 except for the mouthpiece tube, which is matching hand-engraved nickel alloy on an imitation ivory bulb.

    The set arrived in excellent shape — including the original chanter and sole. The finish was well worn, so the pipes underwent a full strip-and-refinish. This uncovered hairline cracks in the bass top, chanter stock and blowpipe which have been invisible whipped and will not cause trouble. As might be expected of a 73-year-old set, the wood has a few nicks here and there, and the ivory a bit of staining and spider cracking, but the set is solid and ready for another 70 more years.

    The drones played like so many other great Robertson sets I’ve known: steady, rich and bold.  Robertsons are vastly underrated pipes by a vintage piping population intent on Hendersons. They should be seen more regularly at the highest levels.

     

  • Grainger and Campbell, silver and ivory, hallmarked 1973-74

    SOLD – We have two sets of Grainger and Campbell silver and ivory pipes on the set at present, and they are nearly twins.

    The Grainger and Campbell pipemaking company operated in Glasgow beginning in 1946. In 1952 they took over the premises and machinery from the defunct Duncan MacRae firm. They made bagpipes of excellent quality until the company closed in 1989.

    This silver and ivory set is hallmarked 1973-74 on every piece.

    The set is in superb condition, requiring only a good polishing on the lathe and re-truing a couple of the tuning chambers.  The original Grainger chanter is still with the pipes. But the original silver sole has been affixed to a Naill blackwood chanter. I don’t know the vintage of the chanter, but I believe it is quite modern. It plays very well. The original Grainger chanter would have played well in it day, though it would be low-pitched in today’s piping world and difficult to reed.

    The set also has its original silver and ivory mouthpiece.

    As expected, the drones on this set were robust and very steady, locking into tune nicely with my Canning drone reeds.

  • William Sinclair, circa 1960s, full ivory

    SOLD – The William Sinclair and Son company of Leith will go down in history as one of the leading pipemakers of their day. The company began making pipes around 1930, but appears to have closed down as of 2019 with the death of the last Sinclair son, a third-generation pipemaker.

    This set is made in blackwood, mounted in full ivory, and was likely made in the 1960s.

    The pipes have been stripped and refinished in the usual oil/wax finish preferred on this site. Two small hairline cracks were found under two ferrules, and these have been sealed.

    This set played very steadily and with a bright, resonant tone.

    Email me about this set.

    As shown, sticks only
    CAD $3,750 plus shipping

    Set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, polypenco chanter of choice, Ezeedrone drone reeds, Highland Gear bag cover, plain coloured silk drone cords, plastic chanter cap. (To add Ross or Bannatyne Canister system and Ross valve/watertrap, add CAD $165) (For an African Blackwood chanter instead of polypenco, request add-on price.)
    CAD $4,395  plus shipping

  • Robertson, circa 1950s, full ivory

    SOLD – The quality and consistency of Robertson pipes is legendary, and this Robertson set lines up with other 1950s Robertsons as a fine example of instruments made when George Kilgour and James Martin manned the shop.

    The set has been well used over its 70 or so years of life, but cleaned up well with a strip and refinish. The chanter stock ferrule has been replaced by a faux ivory substitute that is extremely convincing. The bass drone bushing has been lost, and has been replaced with one made of moose antler, visible in the caps photograph below. The wood parts were all crack free. The combing is well worn in spots.

    The stock bores are tapered, a practice that was quite common in the Robertson shop at this time. The tapered stocks are designed to reduce air turbulence within the stocks.

    The previous owner had the tuning slides corked very nicely, and with a touch of cork grease the tuning action is excellent. The stock joints are all hemped.  Should any prospective buyer like the cork replaced with hemp, that can be done.

    These pipes played in typical Robertson fashion with a robust, seamless sound and great steadiness.

     

  • Hallmarked 1968-69 William Sinclair, engraved silver and ivory

    SOLD – The William Sinclair and Sons company of Leith goes down as one of the leading modern pipemakers. The company began making pipes around 1930 and appears to have closed down as of last year with the death of the last Sinclair son.

    This set came to me from its second owner, who acquired it from his cousin. Made in blackwood and mounted in engraved silver and ivory, the set is hallmarked 1968-69.

    The original and well weathered lacquer finish was removed, and the sticks were checked for cracks and then refinished in the usual oil and wax. One small crack appeared at the top end of the blowstick, and this was invisible whipped.  The ring caps have numerous slight dents, visible up close, but inconspicuous.

    The original Sinclair chanter and sole remain with the pipes.

    True to Sinclair pipes, the set had a bright and full tone, steady and sonorous.  I played a set of silver and ivory Sinclairs through much of my competing days, so it was a familiar cheerful sound to me.

  • Circa 1890 David Glen, cocuswood, ivory, nickel

    SOLD – This elegant David Glen set was likely made in the years around 1890. The sticks are slightly heavier that later David Glen pipes.

    The set is made of lovely dark Caribbean cocuswood, with ivory projecting mounts and nickel ferrules. The tuning chambers are lined with brass, not an uncommon practice with several pipemakers during the latter half of the 19th century. A long crack was visible running upward from the ferrule on the bass mid-joint. This has been sealed, though its shadow is still visible. The rest of the pipe is immaculate after a strip-and-refinish. The set comes with a David Glen chanter, though there is no guarantee that it is original to the pipes.

    David Glen made pipes from 1873 until his death in 1916. While the tone of most of his pipes might be described as very rich and subdued, this set has a fuller tone, though equally rich and wonderfully steady.

    This set locked into a groove very quickly and stayed there with my set of Canning reeds.

  • Circa 1940 Lawries, African blackwood, full ivory

    SOLD – Profiles suggest manufacture of this Lawrie set around 1940 or a little earlier.

    The pipes came to me from Fife, where they had lain unplayed for some years. Stripping the finish revealed cracks in three drone stocks and one tenor top just above the ferrule. These have been sealed and invisible whipped and will cause no more trouble. The blowpipe looks like it came from a Henderson set and the combing and beading match well. The pipes were refinished and came out showing the beautiful African blackwood grain.

    They came into tune quickly and held nicely with my Canning drone reeds.  They retain characteristics of classic Lawries, with a robust sound and superb steadiness.