Robert Bannerman and the Bannerman Family of Clay Tobacco Pipe Makers

Robert Bannerman and the Bannerman Family of Clay Tobacco Pipe Makers

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Nineteenth century clay tobacco pipes marked Bannerman have been recovered from archaeological sites throughout North America. The Glasgow, Scotland, Montreal, Canada and New York City, USA, Bannermans are re-examined in light of recent archival and genealogical research. A revised pipe chronology is proposed for R. Bannerman/Montreal and Bannerman/Montreal marked products, and  Robert Bannerman’s Montreal and Rouses Point, New York operations are examined from an economic and social perspective. The origin of pipes marked Bannerman/Glasgow, found in North America, is speculated upon and William C. Bannerman’s activities in New York City are examined.


Walker (1971,1977, and 1983),  reported on the Montreal  Bannerman pipe concern, describing the business as the second largest of the Montreal firms in terms of the number of marked clay pipes recovered from archaeological sites (Walker 1983:24).  The discussion contained in Walker’s articles was based on material from the Lovell’s Montreal Directories and the St. Marie Ward, Montreal assessment rolls.  A list of pipe makers for the period from 1847 to 1878, drawn from the St. Marie Ward assessment rolls, was provided to Walker in 1967 by the Archives Division of the City of Montreal. This list was the basis for Walker’s speculations into the instability of the Montreal pipe industry as well as the widely used series of dates.

Sudbury (1980), reported on the existence of an American branch factory, owned by Robert Bannerman, and named the R.  Bannerman Eagle Tobacco Pipe Manufactory, located at Rouses Point, New York on the Quebec-New York border. Sudbury’s (1980) article reproduces the Bannerman listings from the St. Marie Ward assessment roll list; as well the article reproduces an 1876 description of the pipe making process employed at the Rouses Point factory, the only known description of the pipe making process employed by a Montreal firm.

This article will examine the relationship between the Montreal Bannermans and a pipe making family of the same name in Glasgow, Scotland. Genealogical research shows that these two families are related and that Robert Bannerman worked as a pipe maker in Glasgow prior to his immigration to Canada in 1854. A genealogy of the Glasgow Bannermans is presented in Figure 1, and a series of directory and census listings for the Glasgow Bannermans are reproduced here, and here.

The genealogies of the Montreal Bannerman and the Gilboy families are presented in Figures 2 and 3. The genealogies are not complete, but will be considered accurate at the time of this writing. Robert Bannerman’s marriage certificate and obituary are reproduced in here and  here. The complete Bannerman listings from the St. Marie Ward assessment rolls are reproduced here.

The Bannerman concern in Montreal will be examined, from Robert Bannerman’s appearance in Canada, in 1854, until the closing of the Brant Lane factory in 1902. Production figures were obtained for the Brant Lane factory from the 1871 Canadian census and comparisons are made with the  Henderson and Son listing from the same census. The census listings are reproduced in here and here. A series of business registration documents for the Bannerman Brothers concern covering the period after Robert’s death in July of 1887, are presented here.

A refinement of the Bannerman pipe chronology is proposed.  This refinement is based upon the historical documents, which are presented as complete texts in the attached links, rather than the archaeological distribution of Bannerman pipes.

Robert Bannerman’s pipe manufactory at Rouses Point, New York is re-examined in light of the material obtained from the  R.G. Dun and Company collections at the Baker Library, Harvard  University. The credit reports are given in their entirety here, and support evidence presented in the Plattsburgh Republican article (Sudbury 1980). William C. Bannerman`s activities in New York City are also discussed.

The Montreal-Glasgow Connection

Walker (1983:25), indicated that there were no known connections between the Montreal Bannermans and a Glasgow pipe making family of the same name. Genealogical research both in Canada and in Scotland shows that these families were related and that Robert Bannerman worked as a pipe maker in Glasgow prior to his immigration to Canada in 1854.

Robert Bannerman arrived in Canada sometime in 1854, at the age of 21, and died in Montreal in July of 1887. Robert was born in Glasgow on the 25th of December 1833, the son of Carrick Bannerman and Campbell Watson. Robert married Mary Rose Gilboy in Montreal in April of 1857, three years after his arrival in Canada. At the time of his marriage to Rose Gilboy, Robert’s parents were both deceased. In early 1869 or 1870 Robert was joined in Canada by a younger brother William C. Bannerman who was to manage the Brant Lane factory until the mid 1870s when he moved to New York City where he produced pipes until 1912.

The 1841 nominal census for Glasgow lists a Carrie Bennerman, Pipe maker, at Gallowgate Street. The 1842-1843 Glasgow Directory also lists a C. Bannerman, Pipe maker, at 57 Gallowgate Street. The 1841 census leaves Carrie’s wife unnamed. Robert’s marriage certificate however, lists his mother as Campbell Watson. The census entry also lists four children: Carrie aged 13, Robert aged 7, Walter aged 5 and Alexander aged 5 months. The census entry may be in error in the naming of the third child Walter. It is likely that Walter, born in 1835 or 1836, was the William who later joined Robert in Canada in 1869 or 1870.

Five Bannermans are listed as pipe makers in Glasgow in the middle of the nineteenth century. Carrie or Carrick Bannerman Sr. appears to have been active from 1841 until 1843. Carrick was deceased by 1857, and was almost certainly active prior to 1841, and probably after 1843 as well. Carrick’s eldest son John was working as a pipe maker in 1841 when he married Christina Rynn. He was still active in August of 1844 when his son Carrick was born. By 1846, when Isabella was born, John’s occupation was listed as potter. Despite the 1846 occupation listing, directory entries, valuation roll entries and voter registration documents indicate that he continued as a pipe maker from 1856 until 1862. It seems rather unlikely that John ceased to produce pipes after 1845 and then commenced again in 1856.

The third Bannerman active as a Glasgow maker was Carrick Jr. who was first listed in the 1851 census. Carrick was again listed in the valuation roll of 1855-1856, and in the 1861 census. The 1861 census is of interest because, along with Carrick, two brothers John and Alexander are also listed as makers. Directory entries indicate that Carrick continued to be active until 1866. Alexander Bannerman, the youngest of the brothers, was only listed in the 1861 census. The final Bannerman was Robert. The 1851 census indicates that Robert was a lodger at 41 Dempster Street in Glasgow, undoubtedly working along with his brothers in the Gallowgate factory.

What prompted Robert to immigrate to Canada is unknown. There is however, some evidence which allows speculation on this and other aspects of the Montreal-Glasgow connection.

Robert Bannerman’s mother’s maiden name was Watson. The list of Glasgow pipe makers compiled by Walker (1977:1030-1031), indicates a John Watson working as a maker at various addresses on St. Mungo Lane, Glasgow in the 1820s and 1830s. Genealogical research has indicated that John Watson was indeed Campbell Watson’s father. John began pipe making in 1808 and continued until his death in 1832 (Finlay:personal communication). The degree of inter-marriage which certainly existed in the Glasgow community is mirrored in the Montreal community. Based on this writer’s genealogical research of Montreal pipe makers, roughly eighty five percent of the children of Montreal makers married either the son or the daughter of a fellow maker. This inter-marriage served to reinforce the ties within the community, and in the case of Montreal served to give the industry a longevity which was the result of an available pool of skilled workers.

The ties within the Glasgow community can also be examined from the perspective of religion. The genealogical research into the Bannerman family revealed connections with another Glasgow family that also immigrated to Canada. William Henderson the first Montreal maker was also a Glasgow maker prior to his immigration to Canada in the 1840s. William was married in 1808 in the Relief Church of Glasgow by the same Minister who later married Carrick Bannerman Jr.. It would seem, therefore, that the Bannermans and the Hendersons more than likely knew each other prior to their immigration to Canada, as the Relief Church congregation was rather small (Bigwood:personal communication).

It is this writer’s belief that Robert Bannerman arrived in Canada in 1854 and worked as an employee of the Henderson and Son concern until 1858 when he was able to establish his own operation. Robert’s marriage certificate dated 1857, lends some credence to this postulation in that Robert was married in the presence of William Henderson Jr. the junior partner in the Henderson and Son concern.

Robert Bannerman and Bannerman Brothers Pipe Manufactory, Montreal.

Robert Bannerman, the owner and founder of the Bannerman pipe concern, is first listed in the St. Marie Ward, Montreal, assessment rolls, as a pipe maker, in 1858. (See here). Robert may have been in the employ of Henderson and Son in 1857, and was soon to become a rival pipe maker. Robert’s marriage certificate, dated the fifteenth of September 1857, lists his occupation as a labourer. (here). He was married in the presence of William Henderson Jr., eldest son of James McKean Henderson Sr., owner of the Henderson and Son pipe factory. That this was William Henderson Sr. is unlikely as he died of old age in 1855.

The St. Marie Ward assessment rolls for the period from 1858 to 1863 give a variety of spellings to the Bannerman name. The 1858 and 1859 rolls name one R. Brinnamon; the 1860, 1861, and 1862 rolls name Bannerman as Bernardman, and the 1863 roll names him as Berdman. This discrepancy in surname spelling, as well as the change in the civic number (street number), led Walker to speculate that perhaps a number of different pipe makers were represented. The property owner of the 1858-1863 addresses was in all cases Austin Adams. In fact, Robert Bannerman eventually became the property owner, purchasing the land and buildings on the 21st of April 1866 (Deed of Sale 1866:8538), from the estate of Austin Adams. Thus, rather than a number of different pipe makers, these various names represent the same person.

Walker’s interpretation of the instability of the Montreal industry was based on the change in the civic numbers of the St. Marie Ward addresses during the period from 1855 until the late 1860’s.  Walker (1977:351), discusses the similarities between the Glasgow and Montreal industries and describes for Glasgow, a series of short-lived businesses. In Glasgow this apparent instability was the result of competition between various dominant persons amongst a continuing group of related makers. (Gallagher:personal communication). In Montreal, however, what Walker interpreted as instability can be attributed to the change in the cadastral designation of the area as more and more land was added to the City of Montreal. Walker  (1977:357), has noted that the “Quebec Suburbs” or St. Marie Ward lay on the edge of an expanding area of Montreal. This change in cadastral designation meant that St. Marie Ward originally part of the City of Montreal, became part of Montreal East. Thus, the apparent instability was the direct result of this cadastral change and the re- designation of civic numbers within the pipe making area.

From 1864 until his death in 1887, Robert Bannerman was listed with the Bannerman surname in the St. Marie Ward assessment rolls, the name that was mould imparted on his pipes. That Bannerman produced pipes with two different mould-imparted names is not disputed. Archaeological examples of both have been recovered from sites in Canada and the United States. The chronological designation, for Bannerman pipes, has been given, in the published literature, as an approximate period from 1858 to 1907. As will be shown, this chronology is rather crude and to some degree incorrect.

The St. Marie Ward assessment rolls list Robert Bannerman as a pipe maker from 1858 until 1861. From 1862 until 1864, Bannerman was listed as a labourer. This period in the early 1860s was one in which all the pipe makers of St. Marie Ward were listed as labourers. The designation of the occupation of the head of household appears to be arbitrary and without consistency. In 1870, for example, Robert Bannerman at 40 Colborne Avenue was listed as an innkeeper. There is no evidence to show that Bannerman the pipe maker was ever an innkeeper. From 1865 until 1868 Bannerman was listed as a grocer. In 1869 Robert was again listed as a pipe maker, and in 1870, as already noted, an innkeeper. From 1871 until 1886 Bannerman was listed as a grocer and a pipe manufacturer.

The earliest of the Bannerman products was the pipe, mould imparted, with the name R. Bannerman on one side and Montreal on the other. This maker’s mark style can be chronologically placed from 1858 until the establishment of the Brant Lane factory in 1870. As noted above, Bannerman may have worked for Henderson and Son prior to setting up his own concern. This does not alter the 1858 date as the commencement of the R. Bannerman mark. Pipes marked R. Bannerman are relatively rare and seem to be limited to archaeological sites within the region of Montreal.  The rarity of these pipes, compared with the later Bannerman/Montreal pipes, suggests a rather small operation, perhaps on the scale of the factory Neil Doherty was operating in 1856 (Anonymous 1856:48). The overall market penetration of R. Bannerman pipes was probably limited to the area around Montreal and then along transport routes radiating from  Montreal. No production figures are known for the R. Bannerman pipe operations during this period. The 1861 nominal census only includes production figures for the Henderson and Son concern. It should be noted that the manufactories that are listed all have more than fifteen employees, indicating the small nature of the Bannerman concern at that time.

Between March 23, 1868 and October 26, 1868, Robert Bannerman formalised indenture contracts with five apprentices; Michael Higgins, John Higgins, John Smith, Thomas McDonnell, and William Speirs. The contracts were passed before Bannerman’s notary Joseph Simard (Simard 1868:12425,12506,12771,12772,12786).

On March 23, 1868, Michael Higgins, aged seventeen was indentured by his father Thomas Higgins, to Robert Bannerman for a period of three years. In the first year Michael was to be paid five pence for each sixteen dozen common pipes produced, in the second year six and a half pence, and finally in the third year eight pence per sixteen dozen. Wages were to be paid at the end of each week.

On April 14, 1868, John Higgins, aged fifteen was indentured by his father Thomas Higgins for a period of three years and six months. John was to be paid the same wages as his brother, except that he would be paid five pence per sixteen dozen for the first eighteen months. Wages were to be paid each week.

On October 13, 1868, John Smith aged thirteen was indentured by his father William Smith for a period of four years. John’s wages were to be paid weekly for each sixteen dozen common pipes produced; the wage being five pence in this first year, six pence in the second, seven in the third, and finally eight pence in the final year.

Thomas McDonnell, bound himself to Robert Bannerman on October 15, 1868, for a period of six months, fifteen days. Thomas was to be paid seven pence for each sixteen dozen, as well a premium was to be paid for fancy pipes. Wages were to be paid at the end of each week.

The fifth contract was signed on October 26, 1868, between William Speirs and Robert Bannerman. William, aged sixteen years was indentured by his aunt for a period of three years. William’s wages were to be five pence for each sixteen dozen common pipes in the first year, six pence in the second year, and seven pence in the final year. William was to be paid at the end of each week, and was to be paid an allowance for fancy pipes in his final year of indenture.

The indenture contracts, much like the contracts described by Walker (1977:429), admonish the apprentice to faithfully and diligently serve their master, not to absent themselves from their master’s employ, not to waste or lend their master’s goods, and they shall see that no damage is done to him and shall not frequent play or ale houses.

No indenture contracts have been found for any of Bannerman’s female employees, who in 1871 numbered 33. Robert was undoubtedly taking on apprentices in 1868, in anticipation of the opening of the Brant Lane factory.

On November 17th, 1869 Robert Bannerman purchased for the sum of $852 dollars, from Bernard McEnroe, the land and buildings that would be transformed into the Brant Lane factory (Deed of Sale 1869:13494). In 1870 the Brant Lane factory was opened. The 1870 assessment roll was prepared in July of that year, and it appears that the factory had been in operation since the beginning of the year. The 1871 census provides detailed production figures for the pipe factory and they are reproduced in their entirety here.

The production figures indicate that Robert Bannerman had a total of four thousand dollars invested in the Brant Lane factory. Of this, three thousand was invested as fixed capital, probably in the outfitting of the buildings, construction of a kiln and the acquisition of a wagon. The one thousand invested as floating capital probably included money invested in unpaid wages, packing boxes, price lists, unsold pipes, and other short term or fluctuating expenses. The number of employees, thirty-eight, indicates a smaller operation than that of Henderson and Son who, at this time, had fifty employees. The average yearly wage would have been on the order of $ 136.84, per person. This figure was calculated by dividing the aggregate amount of yearly wages by the total number of employees.   Employees under sixteen were undoubtedly paid less that the average. The average weekly wage, therefore, would have been $ 2.63, based on a fifty-two week work year. These figures provide a relative index of the economic power of the pipe makers. The high incidence of women employees more than likely skews this economic index, but the overall picture is one of relative poverty.

The preponderance of female workers employed by Bannerman, thirty-three of the thirty-eight, in comparison to Henderson and Son, who in 1871 employed only fourteen females out of a total of fifty employees, is perplexing. There does not appear to be any set pattern with either of these two firms. This is further complicated by Bannerman’s high number of child employees, ten, as compared to Henderson and Son’s, four.  Of interest however, is that the male employees can be correlated to the indenture contracts signed in 1868. The four males over sixteen are undoubtedly Michael Higgins, John Higgins, Thomas McDonell, and William Speirs. The male under sixteen is more than likely John Smith.

The annual production at the Brant Lane factory in 1871 was 15,600 boxes for a value of $ 13,260.00. The quantity of pipes in a box presents a series of problems. Prior to Canada’s Confederation in 1867 all goods traveling between Lower Canada and Upper Canada, and the Maritimes were taxed according to a series of tariff schedules which were adopted in 1867 when a united Canada was formed. (McIntosh:personal communication). The Canada Customs Tariff schedule unfortunately provides no definition for the quantity of pipes in a Montreal box. Sudbury (1980:14), in his discussion of the Bannerman branch manufactory in Rouses Point, New York, stated that a Montreal box contained many hundreds of pipes. Some measure of truth appears to be contained in Sudbury’s extrapolation from the Plattsburgh Republican article of 1876. The 1871 census for the Henderson and Son factory indicates that their annual production was 22,000 boxes or 50,000 gross. In calculating the quantity of a Henderson box, it will be assumed that one gross equaled 144 pipes, therefore 50,000 gross was equal to 7,200,000 pipes. One box in 1871, therefore, would be equivalent to roughly two and a quarter gross or 325 pipes. Assuming that these figures are correct, Bannerman’s annual production in 1871 would have been 5,070,000 pipes with an average price of $.85 per box.

Daily production figures can be estimated by dividing the total annual production, 5,070,000 pipes, by the total number of work days, assumed to be 365. This assumption is supported by two pieces of evidence. The 1871 census indicates that the factory operated for 12 working months. Secondly, the Rouses Point credit reports state that the factory was kept operational “everyday”, (R.G.Dun and Co., New York. Vol. 53, p. 561.) On this basis the monthly production would have been 416,700 pipes, daily production 13,890 pipes, and the individual production would have been about 365 pipes per day. If the Montreal factory was run like the Rouses Point factory the kiln would have been fired every eight days or four times a month. Each firing would have produced roughly 111,120 pipes.

No other production figures are known for the Brant Lane factory. The 1881 census for St. Marie Ward originally had a manufacturers schedule but this was not microfilmed and was subsequently destroyed. (Hillman:personal communication). The 1891 census was examined but there were no manufacturers figures collected and the 1901 census does not have a manufacturers schedule.

On the 23 of July 1887, Robert Bannerman died of heart failure and the control of the Brant Lane factory passed to his widow and three children, Thomas, Alexander and Mary Ann. The registration document of the transfer, dated August 2, 1887, is reproduced here. The same day, the inventory of the estate of Robert Bannerman was deposited with Eusebe Laliberte, Notary (1887:828). The inventory included movables and immovables for both the Montreal pipe factory and the Lachute rope factory.

Unfortunately the inventory does not differentiate between machinery and equipment located in the Montreal pipe or the Lachute rope factory. The following items in the inventory can be identified as being used at the Montreal pipe factory; “3 Sets of iron roles for pipes value $360.00, 300 pipe grats value $60.00, 500 pipe boards value $50.00, trimming tools, benches, and other attachments value $100.00, 15 pipe machines value $150.00, 1 pipe kiln value $700.00, 500 saggars value 50 cents each, 60 pipe molds value $100.00, 1 clay mill value $125.00, scale and attachments valued at $55.00, 2 tons of coal value $11.00, 15 tons pipe clay value $195.00, 9 cords of wood value $51.75, 13 boxes fire clay value $1.30” The inventory also includes the following clay pipes; “111 boxes of pipes (200 pipes) @ 80 cents, value $88.80, 23 boxes of pipes (2 gross) @ 90 cents, value $20.70, 16 boxes of pipes (4 gross) @$1.95, value $26.40, 1 kiln of burnt pipes value $460.00, 165 gross trimmed pipes @ 65 cents, value $106.60, 36 gross untrimmed pipes @ 60 cents, value $21.60”. The total value of of the inventory that can be attributed to the pipe factory is $2933.15.

Between 1887 and 1902 very little is known about the operations of the Brant Lane factory. The inclusion in the inventory of packed finished pipes is of interest. Clearly, in 1887 Montreal pipes from the Bannerman factory were available in sixty styles and three box types; 200 pipes, 2 gross, and 4 gross.

The registration documents deal with Mary Ann Bannerman’s marriage to Joseph A. Vaillant in 1895 and the death of Mary Rose Gilboy in February of 1902. The death of Mary Rose Gilboy as well as a lengthy court battle over water rights for the Lachute Rope factory appear to have finally closed the Brant Lane factory, for the assessment roll of the following year clearly indicates that the buildings were vacant.  By 1902 all the Bannerman children were married and were undoubtedly occupied with other careers, which may also have contributed to the closing of the Brant Lane concern.  The assessment roll of 1903 indicates that the buildings were vacant, and by the roll of 1904 the property had been sold to a French Canadian. In 1926 the land was expropriated by the National Ports Commission for the construction of the Jacques Cartier Bridge which was completed in 1930. Today the site (BjFj-26), is occupied by a parking lot adjacent to and under the bridge with very little evidence that clay pipes were ever produced on the spot.

Chronologically, pipes produced at the Brant Lane factory date from 1870 until late 1901 or early 1902. Pipes produced throughout this period were mould-imparted with the name Bannerman on one side and Montreal on the other. The name is often enclosed in an ornate border usually consisting of dots.  There are a small number of archaeological examples of Bannerman pipes with a mould number enclosed in a circle of dots. The placement of a mould number before the maker’s name was typical of Glasgow makers in the nineteenth century but almost unknown amongst the Montreal producers.  The distribution of this pipe style, as opposed to the earlier R. Bannerman pipe, is far more extensive on archaeological sites in Canada and the United States. It is sobering to think that in the thirty-two years of operation the Brant Lane factory probably produced for market sale on the order of 160 million pipes, given a yearly average of 5 million pipes.

Bannerman Eagle Tobacco Pipe Manufactory, Rouses Point, New York.

In 1875, Robert Bannerman purchased a piece of land and a building in Rouses Point, New York, which had been formerly occupied by a sash and blind factory. (Sudbury 1980:4). Bannerman outfitted the building as a pipe factory and produced pipes until January 30, 1883 when the factory was closed. (See here). Bannerman established the branch manufactory in an attempt to by-pass United States customs and  more easily supply the American market.

Sudbury (1980), has described the Rouses Point manufactory, reproducing an 1876 description of the pipe making process employed at the Eagle Tobacco-pipe manufactory. In this section material from the R.G. Dun and Company credit reports is presented which verifies and expands upon the 1876 Plattsburgh Republican article.

The first of the Plattsburgh Republican articles appeared in 1875.  (Sudbury 1980:9). The 1875 article noted that about twenty hands were employed producing between 12 and 15 thousand pipes per day. Rough calculations indicate that the total 1875 production would have been between 4,380,000 and 5,475,000 pipes, similar to what the Montreal manufactory produced in 1871. Monthly production would have been on the order of 365,000 and 456,000 pipes with between 91,250 and 114,062 pipes per firing, at four kiln firings per month.

The second article appeared in 1876 and provides the most detailed contemporary description of the pipe making process employed by a Montreal firm. Details contained in the article appear to be typical of the Montreal industry generally. The indication, for example, that the pipe saggars were produced from pipe clay has been confirmed for the Henderson and Son, the W.H. Dixon and the Brant Lane pipe factories in Montreal. Surface collections conducted by the writer on the site of these factories have turned up considerable quantities of pipe clay saggar material. The general dimensions that can be extrapolated from the archaeological samples also confirm the circular shape, diameter, depth, and lack of a top as described in the Plattsburgh Republican article.

Annual pipe production at the Rouses Point factory in 1876, using the rough figures reported in the article, can be calculated at somewhere between 6,440,000 and 6,624,000 pipes. These figures are arrived at by taking the annual number of kiln firings, 46, calculating the number of pipes contained in each kiln, either 140,000 or 144,000 and then multiplying the number of firings by the number of pipes in the kiln. On the basis of the number of employees, these figures also appear to be in agreement with the Montreal figures for 1871. It can be assumed that the Montreal figures represent a low average if one considers the fact that the factory had only been operational for a year. Monthly production figures would, therefore, have been between 560,000 and 576,000 pipes. Daily production would have been between 17,500 and 18,000 pipes, as Sudbury has indicated (1980:13).

The first of the R.G.Dun and Company credit reports, (See here), is dated February 1876 and ends with the report of the 29 of May 1877. The report indicates that in 1876, Bannerman employed about forty hands, that his business habits were sound and that he had orders for all the pipes the factory could produce.

The second of the R.G. Dun and Company credit reports begins with the report of December 1877 and ends with the report of December 22, 1880. By December of 1877, Bannerman had made improvements and still had over thirty hands employed. His employees were paid every thirty days  and the report indicates there were no complaints. The Plattsburgh Republican article stated that Michael Gilboy was the foreman. The credit report dated the 7 of July 1879, indicates that Michael Gilboy was still the manager with Robert Bannerman absent in Montreal. By February of 1880, the work force had been reduced to about twenty hands. Most of the pipes were being shipped to Michigan and New Orleans. Whether this was the usual destination of the factory’s pipes is not known. The pipes were probably being shipped by railroad. Rouses Point lies on the Canadian-American border on one of the principal rail lines that links the Province of Quebec to the State of New York. The Champlain and St. Lawrence railroad was opened in 1852 and in the first year of operation 1214 boxes of Canadian pipes were shipped through Rouses Point to American destinations. (Montreal Gazette, January 1853). Undoubtedly Bannerman was shipping his pipes by rail and was probably also receiving his clay from Montreal on the Champlain and St. Lawrence railroad.

The final credit report begins with the January 24, 1882 entry and ends with the August 7, 1883 report. By the beginning of 1882 the work force had been reduced to about fifteen hands working everyday.  This last point is of interest as the census report of 1871 for Montreal indicates that the Brant Lane factory worked twelve months of the year. It is conceivable that the Montreal and Rouses Point factories were operated on a 365 day basis. The report also indicates that the factory’s prospects were good. One year later the business closed its doors in Rouses Point.

Using the approximate number of employees for the years 1877, 1880, and 1882 a series of rough production figures can be calculated. In 1876 the daily pipe production per employee was on the order of 438 to 450 pipes. Using the per employee figures it can be calculated that by 1877 daily production would have been between 13,140 and 13,500 pipes. Monthly production at between 394,200 and 405,000 pipes and the annual production for 1877 would have approached between 4,730,400 and 4,860,000 pipes.

In 1880 production would have dropped to between 8,760 and 9,000 pipes per day. Monthly production would have averaged between 262,800 and 270,000 pipes, and annual production would have averaged between 3,153,600 and 3,240,000 pipes.  The 1882 production can be calculated at between 6,570 and 6,750 pipes per day. Monthly output would have averaged between 197,100 and 202,500 pipes, and annual production would have been between 2,365,200 and 2,430,000 pipes.

It must be emphasized that these figures are only rough calculations but they do provide some indication of the number of pipes the Rouses Point factory was providing to the American market. The decline in the years after 1880, and the closing of the factory in 1883, coincides with a general decline in the number of pipe makers in Montreal in the early 1880s. It is not known if this contraction in the Montreal industry was the result of competition from the briar pipe and the cigarette or whether it was related to the agitation for child labour laws in the Province of Quebec. In the United States the first movements calling for child labour laws began  in the northeastern United States in the early 1880s. The composition of the Rouses Point labour force is not known but it is probable that Bannerman employed children as pipe molders and trimmers. It is possible that Bannerman foresaw the increased competition from other smoking media and the potential disruption that would be caused by the introduction of child labour laws.

The identification of pipes produced by the Rouses Point factory presents a problem. Waste material recovered at the factory site is marked with Bannerman on one side and Montreal on the other. (Sudbury: personal communication). This clearly indicates that Bannerman was using pipe moulds made in Montreal, but it is not clear why the name Montreal was not removed. The removal of the place name should have been relatively easy. A William and David Bell pipe mould, examined by this author, in the Museum of the College of St. Anne de la Pocatiere, Quebec, shows that the name plates were removable pieces stamped in copper. Why Bannerman did not remove the Montreal stamp is unknown. Pipes were produced in Rouses Point from 1875 to January of 1883. The chronological identification of these pipes will remain difficult until an assemblage from the factory site is described.

Bannerman/Glasgow Pipes

Several examples of white clay pipes marked BANNERMAN/GLASGOW have been recovered from archaeological sites in North America. Walker (1983:25) reported on two stems, one from a site in South Carolina and another from a site in New Mexico. Two such pipes were also discovered at the Log Tavern site (BhFw-3), near Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Latta:personal communication).

A complete pipe marked BANNERMAN/GLASGOW with a TD mark facing the smoker on the back of the bowl is in the collection of an American collector (See Figure 4). The pipe bears an ink inscription on the right side of the bowl which reads; “Campfire Post 36 G.A.R. Chelsea Mch. 13 1879”. G.A.R. is a short form for Grand Armory of the Republic, a reference to Union troops from the civil war, and Chelsea more than likely refers to the town of Chelsea in Massachusetts (Jung:personal communication).

Walker in his descriptions of the BANNERMAN/GLASGOW pipes gives no dates. The Log Tavern pipes have been tentatively dated to the early 1880s. From the dated specimens it would appear that these pipes date to the late 1870s and the early 1880s. This date range presents a number of complications.

No pipes of this type have ever been recovered from archaeological sites in Scotland, England or Ireland. There appear to be no Bannermans active as pipe makers in Glasgow in the late 1870s and early 1880s. The last recorded Bannerman in Glasgow is Carrick Jr. who appears to cease production in 1866.

Therefore the question of who produced the pipes remains unanswered. Waste pipes recovered at Robert Bannerman’s factory in Rouses Point, New York bear the markings BANNERMAN/MONTREAL, clearly being pipes made in the United States and not in Canada.

Morphologically the complete BANNERMAN/GLASGOW pipe is identical in all attributes except place of origin to TD pipes recovered from Bannerman’s factory site in Montreal. It is this writer’s belief that Robert Bannerman was producing the pipes either in Montreal or Rouses Point, N.Y., and selling them as Scottish imports. This postulation would seem all the more probable when one introduced the element of price. For almost all of the nineteenth century, and certainly the period in question, Scottish pipes sold for twice the price of Canadian made pipes (Smith 1994). In the Canadian market Bannerman would have made twice the profit on the locally made BANNERMAN/GLASGOW pipes.

Unfortunately little is known about the price of Canadian pipes in the United States market. Canadian pipes were evidently taxed as demonstrated by Bannerman’s establishment of a manufactory at Rouses Point to by-pass United States customs. If the Canadian situation is any indicator Bannerman certainly would have made a healthy profit from the sale of BANNERMAN/GLASGOW pipes on the American market. Until further evidence disproves this postulation all indicators point towards a North American manufacture of pipes marked BANNERMAN/GLASGOW.

William C. Bannerman, New York City

William C. Bannerman arrived in Canada sometime in 1869 from Glasgow. In November of 1870 he married Ann Jane Burns. From 1870 until 1875 William may have worked for his brother as the foreman of the Brant Street factory. Between late 1875 and early 1877, William’s where abouts are unknown, as he is not listed in any of the assessment rolls for St. Marie Ward. It is likely that William was involved in the establishment of Robert’s branch factory in 1875 in Rouses Point, New York. In 1877, William was listed as a pipe maker in New York City, where he continued to make pipes until 1912 (Jung:personal communication).

Three locations are know for William C. Bannerman in New York City; 420 W. 13th Street (1877-1883), 1176 Railroad Avenue (1887-1898), and 3474 Park Avenue (1902-1912) (Jung:personal communication).

No archaeological examples of pipes marked W. C. Bannerman are known. A pipe marked W. C. Bannerman, in the collection of an American collector, is morphologically very similar to pipes produced by Robert Bannerman. The significant differences are that the TD mark on the William C. Bannerman pipe is raised rather than impressed, as is the case with pipes produced by Robert Bannerman, and the lettering on the W.C. Bannerman pipe is larger than that found on Bannerman Montreal marked products (See Figure 5)

William died in New York City on December 15th 1917 at the age of 83, after fracturing his neck in a fall.

Until further research refines the chronology pipes marked W.C. Bannerman/New York can be dated to between 1877 and 1912. The archaeological distribution of such pipes is unknown.


Robert Bannerman founded and operated the second largest of the Montreal clay pipe factories in the second half of the nineteenth century. Bannerman Montreal products can be divided into two distinct types; pipes marked R. Bannerman/Montreal dated (1858-1870) and pipes marked Bannerman/Montreal dated (1870-1902).

In 1875 Robert Bannerman established the R. Bannerman Eagle Tobacco Pipe Manufactory in Rouses Point, New York. Pipes recovered from the Rouses Point factory site are marked Bannerman/Montreal. Should archaeological examples of Rouses Point Bannerman products be discovered then they date from 1875 to 1883.

Bannerman/Glasgow products found on archaeological sites in North America present some what of a enigma as there are no known Bannermans producing pipes in Glasgow at that time. These products maybe be of North American manufacture. Until the Bannerman factory site in Montreal has been excavated this question will remain open for debate.


This paper would not have been possible without the assistance of many people who have contributed in a variety of  ways. I owe a tremendous amount to the late I.C. Walker who attempted to cultivate, among Canadian historical archaeologists, an awareness and an understanding of the clay pipe as an archaeologically important artifact. To him this paper is dedicated.

The archivists of the Montreal Municipal Archives, Mr. Allan Listhaeghe and Ms. Gisele Marinier are to be warmly thanked. They both put up with every request for the dirty and dusty assessment roll volumes, as well as the numerous volumes of Lovell’s Montreal Directory. Their interest and patience over the course of a summer was appreciated. Mr. Larry McNally, Archivist, at the Public Archives of Canada, is to be thanked for his assistance in the examination of the then partially catalogued papers of the late I.C. Walker. Mrs. Sansoucy Walker granted me permission to examine her late husband’s files, and I thank her for her trust.

Over the course of the past  years I have had the pleasure of  corresponding with a number of people who provided details which were useful in this paper. Mr. Dennis Gallagher, a fellow member of the Society for Clay Pipe Research, provided details on the Glasgow Bannermans. His contribution is very much appreciated.  Mr. Mark Mastromarino, of the Baker Library, Harvard University,  searched the R.G. Dun and Company archives for the Rouses Point  credit reports which are reproduced in this paper. His assistance is appreciated. Mr. Thomas A. Hillman, Archivist, at the Public Archives of Canada, assisted in the attempt to find the 1881 manufacturers census which was found to have been destroyed and was not part of microfilmed census. Mr. David McIntosh,  Historian,  Canada Customs and Excise, Secretariat of the Deputy Minister, provided details on the tariff structure and searched  the tariff schedules for material relating to clay pipes. Mr. Paul Jung a fellow member of the Society for Clay Pipe Research, provided me with photographs of the BANNERMAN/GLASGOW pipe, the William C. Bannerman New York City chronology, and some useful insights into pipe production in the United States.

The staff of the General Registry Office, Edinburgh, Scotland and the staff of the Scottish Record Office also in Edinburgh are to be thanked for their assistance in tracing details of the Glasgow Bannermans. My sincerest  thanks  also to Rosemary Bigwood of Edinburgh for her professional  genealogical research into the Glasgow Bannermans and for  providing the conclusive evidence that the two Bannerman families  were related.

I would like to thank Robert Bannerman’s great, great grand daughters Virginia Donato and Joanna Drake for their valuable insights into the Bannerman family, and in particular granting me access to the personal diary of Thomas William Bannerman, Robert’s eldest son. William C. Bannerman’s great, great grandson, William Finlay, generously shared all of his genealogical research into the Bannerman family in the UK. Their contributions and interest are truly appreciated.

Finally, I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to Mr. Richard Gerrard and Ms. Ellen Blaubergs who listened patiently every time I discussed clay pipes and provided the encouragement that allowed me to finish this research. Their support goes back to 1985 when I embarked upon this research.

All omissions and short comings are the sole responsibility of this writer alone.

References Cited

Anonymous, 1856, Montreal in 1856. A sketch prepared for the celebration of the Opening of the Grand Trunk Railway. Lovell’s 1856,p. 48. Montreal.

Deed of Sale 1866:8538. Notarial Archives of William Easton. Provincial Archives of Quebec. Montreal.

Deed of Sale 1869:13494. Notarial Archives of Joseph Simard. Provincial Archives of Quebec. Montreal.

Laliberté, Eusebe. 1887, Notarial Archives. Provincial Archives of Quebec, Montreal.

Montreal Gazette 1853. McGill University Library. Microfilm.

Simard, J. 1868, Notarial Archives. Provincial Archives of Quebec, Montreal.

Smith, R.H. 1994, Montreal Clay Tobacco Pipe Prices in 1852, 1856, 1869 and 1870. Arch Notes 94-3, p.23-27. Ontario Archaeological Society. Toronto.

Sudbury, B. 1980, A Preliminary Report on the R. Bannerman Eagle Tobacco Pipe Manufactory, Rouses Point N.Y. Volume 1, Historic Clay Pipe Studies.

Walker, I.C. 1971, Nineteenth Century Clay Tobacco Pipes in Canada. Ontario Archaeology No. 16, p. 19-35. Ontario Archaeological Society. Toronto.

Walker, I.C. 1977, Clay Tobacco-Pipes with Particular Reference to the Bristol Industry. History and Archaeology, 11, Vols. a/d. Parks Canada. Ottawa.

Walker, I.C. 1983, Nineteenth Century Clay Tobacco Pipes in Canada. In the Archaeology of the Clay Tobacco Pipe VIII. America. British Archaeological Report No. 175. Oxford.

Originally published July 2001

Updated February 2016

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