Old wall board of pipe stummels representing White Spot shapes from previous generations
Among Alfred Dunhill's greatest contributions to pipemaking is classic shaping. For those who appreciate traditional shapes in their most traditional forms, Dunhill's famous White Spot pipes are the gold standard, and rightfully so. For a true Billiard shape, look to the White Spot. For a Lovat, Lumberman, Canadian, Dublin, or virtually any traditional shape, look to the White Spot for correct and accepted proportions, curves, tapers, transitions, rims, and every other element of a shape that can be easily rendered into something else if even one detail is miscalculated.
And when you're looking for new classic shapes, Dunhill is still your best resource, especially when the company re-releases shapes that have not been seen in generations.
Marco Parenscenzo is the U.S distributor for the White Spot pipes and pipes accessories, and if anyone knows pipes, it's Marco. His father, Augusto, was the Castello distributor for the U.S. until his passing several years ago, when Marco took over as the second generation in his family's business. Marco owns and runs the famous Novelli pipe shop in Rome as well, and he accepted U.S. White Spot distribution last year.
Among the first things he asked of Alfred Dunhill in London was for the reissue of some shapes that had been retired. Knowing how dedicated to the classics Dunhill enthusiasts are, he felt that the reissue of shapes long gone would invigorate interest.
Dunhill thought it was a neat and workable idea, and in researching shapes for the project they looked beyond old shape charts. They went to the old wall board of pipe stummels representing White Spot shapes from previous generations, stummels that had little in the way of identification beyond cryptic pen scratchings, or shape numbers occasionally scrawled on the surface, but mostly plain stummels with no way to date previous manufacture. These are obscure shapes made for limited times, in some cases not seeing manufacture for the past 80 or 90 years.
Few pipe companies enjoy such a long history as Alfred Dunhill, and its archives are treasure troves, but the current reissues are among the most unidentifiable shapes in the company's history. What is identifiable is their heritage. They are obviously of Alfred Dunhill origin and obviously expertly designed, inspiring new possibilities for Dunhill enthusiasts everywhere. Here are some of the current reissues for you to watch for:
Alphorns: These impressive White Spot pipes were inspired by the shape of traditional Alphorns of the Swiss, Austrian, Bavarian and French alpine mountains. Manufactured only for a period during 1936, as far as Dunhill can determine, the Alphorn is individually hand-turned, classified as Collector XL, and measures an impressive 13.5 inches in length.
Shape 741: As far as the Alfred Dunhill company can tell, this shape was last made in the late 1970s.
Shape 739: A very light pipe with unusual proportions, now relaunched with standard or longer mouthpiece, weighing only around 25 grams — even with longer mouthpiece.
Shape 1847: A tall stand-up Chimney-type bowl, tapered (faceted) toward the base.
Shape 717: An elegant combination of a Dublin with a slender Lovat shank and mouthpiece.
Shape 5102: A reproduction of a 51022 model from 1983.
This piece has no original shape number, but is, according to Dunhill, extraordinarily rare.
The tradition of Alfred Dunhill is widely admired, and pipesmokers have been depending on the brand for more than a century, so it is exciting to see the resurrection of shapes that have not been seen in so long. While availability of these new/old shapes is intermittent, keep watching for additions to the line, and be prepared for the temptation offered by the history and precision of a brand that has been making pipes since 1912.