By BRIAN KRAPF
Figural clay or wooden pipes originated in France in the 1820’s. Since that time, these pipes have been made to memorialize popular military leaders, politicians, and fictional characters. In keeping with this tradition, figural pipes were produced during the Second World War featuring likenesses of Prime Ministers Chamberlain and Churchill as well as Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. The August 2020 Churchilliana article includes a selection of wartime carved wooden pipes featuring Prime Minister Churchill.
After the liberation of the Netherlands in 1944, the Dutch began manufacturing a variety of souvenirs to sell to the Allied servicemen stationed in or passing through their country. This practice continued through the end of the war in 1945. The pipes pictured here are marked “Delft” and were made in Holland during this era. One features Prime Minister Churchill, while the other features his successor, Labour’s Clement Attlee.
Attlee served as Deputy Prime Minister in Churchill’s wartime coalition government from 1940 to 1945. He succeeded Churchill as Prime Minister after Labour’s landslide victory in the July 1945 general election. During Churchill’s second premiership from 1951 to 1955, Attlee served as Leader of the Opposition. These pipes were likely produced shortly after the 1945 general election to celebrate and honor both men.
Since these Delft pipes are handmade, all such pipes featuring Churchill are unique and include different likenesses. There is also one known which features President Roosevelt. Since these pipes were made to be smoked and then thrown away, finding them in unused condition is a challenge. Make certain to add them to your collection if you are fortunate to find them.
Brian Krapf’s forthcoming book We Want Winston!—A Treasury of Memorabilia will be published next year.
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