Bringing Life to a WDC Demuth Gold Dot 77 Bulldog

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a WDC Demuth Gold Dot Bulldog. It is a pretty pipe with a great shape. The condition is very dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and some darkening around the beveled inner edge of the rim. The previous pipeman took good care of this one. It is well smoked and other than dusty and grimy it is in decent shape. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank with the logo inverted equilateral triangle with letters “WDC” enclosed in it. This is followed by “Demuth” over “GOLD DOT” in block capital letters. On the right side of the shank is stamped “IMPORTED” over “BRIAR ROOT” followed by the shape number “77” towards the bowl and shank joint. A quarter inch wide gold band is on the shank end and is stamped on the left with the trademark WDC triangle over “14 K”, indicating the purity of the gold band. The ¾ bent saddle stem has two gold dots on the left side of the saddle stem. Jeff took photos of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl, rim top and edges. The cake is quite thick and there are a few spots of grime on the edges and around the cap on the bowl.He took photos around the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition. You can see the grime in the finish and the damage on the heel. It is primarily on the right side but goes across the ridge. He included a close up photo of the damaged areas on the heel it has some deep gouges in the briar that look like it has been dropped.He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and the band. You can see that it is clear and readable. You can see the 14K stamp on the band and the two dots on the stem side.The next two photos show the condition of the stem. You can see that it is lightly oxidized and has some tooth chatter on the underside. Otherwise the stem is in very good condition.I was going to do a bit of research on the brand and line but then I remembered that Paresh had worked on an identical pipe from his grandfather’s estate. I turned to the blog on rebornpipes to read what he had discovered ( I quote:

I searched for more information on this pipe and attempt at estimating the vintage of this pipe. Here is what I have found on pipedia.

William Demuth. (Wilhelm C. Demuth, 1835-1911), a native of Germany, entered the United States at the age of 16 as a penniless immigrant. After a series of odd jobs he found work as a clerk in the import business of a tobacco tradesman in New York City. In 1862 William established his own company. The William Demuth Company specialized in pipes, smoker’s requisites, cigar-store figures, canes and other carved objects.

The Demuth Company is probably well known for the famous trademark, WDC in an inverted equilateral triangle. William commissioned the figurative meerschaum Presidential series, 29 precision-carved likenesses of John Adams, the second president of the United States (1797-1801) to Herbert Hoover, the 30th president (1929-1933), and “Columbus Landing in America,” a 32-inch-long centennial meerschaum masterpiece that took two years to complete and was exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.

The Presidential series was the result of Demuth’s friendship with President James A. Garfield, a connoisseur of meerschaum pipes. Demuth presented two pipes to Garfield at his inauguration in 1881, one in his likeness, the other in the likeness of the President’s wife. Later, Demuth arranged for another figurative matching the others to be added to the collection as each new president acceded to the White House, terminating with President Hoover.

In early 1937, the City of New York notified S.M. Frank & Co. of their intent to take by eminent domain, part of the land on which the companies pipe factory was located. This was being done to widen two of the adjacent streets. As a result of this, Frank entered into negotiations to purchase the Wm. Demuth Co.’s pipe factory in the Richmond Hill section of Queens. It was agreed upon that Demuth would become a subsidiary of S.M. Frank and all pipe production of the two companies would be moved to DeMuth factory. New Corporate offices were located at 133 Fifth Avenue, NYC.

Demuth pipes continued to be made at the Richmond Hill plant till December 31. 1972. Then the Wm. Demuth Company met its official end as a subsidiary company by liquidation.

I came across an interesting advertisement on the same page on which shows the exact same pipe that I am now working on. It is the same pipe as the first pipe on the left. A close scrutiny of the picture confirms the following:

(a) The Gold Dot line of WDC pipes was offered sometime before 1941 as inferred from the bottom line of this flyer which encourages readers to “WRITE FOR NEW 1941 STYLE BOOKLET”, implying that this flyer was published prior to 1941!!

(b) The Gold Dot line of WDC pipes was at the time their top of the line product as it is the most expensive of all the pipes advertised in the flyer, retailing at $10!! too has the same pipe shown with shape # 77. Here is the link;

From Paresh’s research I confirmed that this WDC Gold Dot was WDC’s top tier of pipes and was made in 1940s. It is definitely a good looking pipe. Armed with that information and a clearer picture of the original pipe I turned to work on the pipe on my work table. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim edge lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better. I took photos of the pipe when I received it before I started working on it. I took photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem to show how clean they were. You can see the damage on the inner edge on the rear of the bowl. The stem looks clean of oxidation and the tooth marks and chatter are fairly light. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. They are clean and readable and read as noted above.    I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to show the overall look of stem, tenon and profile of the pipe. I noted that the tenon is metal and is made for a paper filter. I think it would fit a Medico paper filter.I decided to start my work on the pipe by addressing the damage to the heel of the bowl. I filled in the damaged areas with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and also began the polishing with 40o grit wet dry sandpaper. I turned to work on the rim top and the inner edge. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work on the inner edge to remove the darkening and bring it back into round. I cleaned up the beveled edge. It took a bit of work but I was able to remove the majority of it and the end product looked much better.I polished the bowl and rim with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I worked over the rim top and edge of the bowl with the pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris.       I used an Oak and a Maple stain pen to blend the repaired area on the heel of the bowl into the colour of the rest of the bowl. The match worked very well.I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm.  I worked over the light oxidation on the stem and blended the tooth marks into the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. At this point it is starting to look much better.  I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This beautiful WDC Gold Dot 77 Bulldog is a great looking pipe. The mix of brown stains highlights the mix of grain around the bowl sides, top and bottom. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting stains work well with the polished black vulcanite saddle stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished WDC Gold Dot Bulldog is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This pipe will be added to the American Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.

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