Blog by Troy Wilburn
I recently picked up this NOS WDC Durobit poker online to add to my American poker collection as I did not have a WDC example. I think it’s an interesting pipe so I thought I would share it on rebornpipes. The pipe as noted is unsmoked and all original. It had some slight tarnish on the nickel band and a few slight dings from its long life in storage. All I did was buff the nickel band and pipe slightly and carefully to preserve its originality. In fact the stem has a slight molding mark on one side and I left that as is as well.
I did some digging and could not find much on the Durobit model. In fact nothing as far as when the models were introduced and production stopped. It has an interesting stem design (hence the name Durobit) as I will touch on later.
Here is some brief history on WDC (William Demuth Company).
The gist of the company history is as follows, they begin making production pipes around 1897. In about 1937 SM Frank purchased the company and made pipes under the WDC name up until the 1970’s. They made a wide range of high end handmade pipes to inexpensive drug store models.
I found this 1916 WDC ad and it shows a poker model .Although this is not a Durobit its same style and shape as mine. Here is the how the Durobit is stamped on the pipe.
Here are the more pictures of the pipe after a rub down with mineral oil and a thin coat of wax.
Ok now on to the stem and why this pipe is called the Durobit. The pipe has a metal sleeve that runs through the stem from button to tenon as seen in both ends of the stem in these photos.
It does not seem this type of stem caught on and I’m hoping someone else might have some additional information on this model of pipe. I’ve been wondering if this type of stem may have had a design flaw. Maybe when the stem gets hot the metal expands making the stem badly stuck in the pipe. Or maybe worst case scenario it cracks a shank? Some reason this design did not become popular and it actually seems like a good idea to me if the above mentioned speculations did not happen with this pipe model. Maybe it was simply too costly to produce. It’s my usual policy to smoke a pipe NOS or not but this one I’m up in the air about. Not being a 100 year old NOS pipe but if there is a design flaw I don’t want to ruin the pipe by smoking it. I’ll wait until I can find some more information on this pipe model before I decide to smoke it or not.
I have found reference’s to the Kaywoodie Durobit pipes but they are a twin bore type stem with no metal sleeves.
Again if anyone has any information on this model pipe I would certainly like your input in the comments.