The following text was excerpted from  the exhibition’s script


The new South Ferry subway station is enhancing New  York's future and helping to uncover its past. An area rich in city history,  it has served as a military battery, fort, and barracks and was home to Native  Americans, the Dutch, British, Colonial European and African-Americans. Before  constructing the station an extensive archeological dig was conducted on the  site, and two 18th century city landmarks - four sections of the Battery Wall  and portions of Whitehall Slip - were uncovered, along with 65,000 artifacts.  This exhibit will feature over 100 artifacts, documents and images of these  exciting discoveries and unravel the stories they tell about New York life  long ago.

Tobacco Pipes

Attesting to both their popularity and fragility, 1,470  fragments of clay tobacco pipes were found on the project site.
Though pipes are utilitarian  objects, their design, decoration, and maker’s marks can be seen as icons for  the brief period of time in which each was manufactured and used.   Tobacco, native to America, was introduced to Europe in the mid-1500s. By the  17th century it was popular among all segments of society, regardless of  class, race, or gender.

Since pipes frequently broke and were easily replaced,  they are often found in archeological deposits.  Many pipes found at the  project site showed signs of use — having been smoked, broken and then  discarded as trash.  We can tell that many samples were crudely or  hastily made, leading to the conclusion that pipes sent to the colonies from  Europe were often inferior products, or possibly “seconds,” in comparison to  those sold in Europe

English Made Pipes


Many of the clay pipes found at the site were made in the  southwestern port city of Bristol, England, while others were made in  London.  Among the major Bristol manufacturers exporting their products  to the American colonies were three generations of Robert Tippets.  The  family worked from 1660-1722, passing down their “RT” and “R TIPPET” maker’s  marks to successive generations.  Because the mark was passed down, it’s  unclear which generation made the pipes found here.  

By the mid 1700s, most pipe manufacturing shifted  north.  Pipes from Chester were found on the project site, decorated with  wheat sheaves—a symbol of the area.  Liverpool, a port city just to the  north of Chester, was the center of the industry by the 1760s.   

The dominance of Bristol and Liverpool in the pipe  manufacturing industry was related to these cities’ roles in the slave  trade.  Both cities were central to the so-called “triangle trade.”   Pipes and other goods were exported on ships bound for the west coast of  Africa.  There, the goods were traded for slaves and precious materials  like gold and ivory.  The ships then set sail for America and the West  Indies, where enslaved people were sold or exchanged for goods.


English export pipe bowl with rouletted rim  

Heeled English pipe filled with charred  tobacco


Pipe stem decorated with a tulip and tendrils motif,  dotted flowers, and bands of dotted squares in relief

Made in Chester

Fluted pipe with vertical milling around the rim and a  wheat sheaf between floral decorations on the side of the bowl  
Made  in Chester

Complete pipe made by Robert Tippet I, II, or III  
Made  in Bristol

Pipe bowl marked “RT”

Circa 1660-1690
Made in  Bristol

Stem fragment marked “W.MORGAN.LIV”  
Made  by William Morgan Sr. or Jr., Liverpool

Pipe heel, with mark on left and right sides called  “Daisy on a Leafy Stalk”

Probably made in London

Stem marked “NICHO/*LAS/BRIS”

Made by William Nicholas,  Bristol

Stem marked “BRAD/LEY*”

Made by John Bradley,  Brosely, Shropshire


Dutch Made Pipes


Many of the 17th century pipes found on the  site can be traced to manufacturers in Amsterdam and Gouda based on their  makers’ marks.  Three lettered initials were common marks used on early  Dutch pipes. Research from other New York digs suggests that “MTS” was owned  by English-born Matthias Stafford working in Amsterdam.  Some marks were  passed down through generations of a family, such as the “hand” mark on a pipe  here that was passed down through various De Vriendt family members for 63  years.  Other marks were bought and sold or rented by local pipemakers,  such as the three-leaf clover mark exchanged between dozens of pipemakers  between 1660 and 1840.  Pipe design and decoration can provide clues to  origin—18th century Dutch pipe bowls were often cone-shaped rest backwards on  their stems, and were often more highly polished.  English pipes from  that time period sat more upright, with a duller finish.  

Dutch belly bowl marked “SH”

Made by Sander Robbertz,  Gouda

Gouda pipe marked “DA”
Made by Daniel Andriesz,  Gouda

Amsterdam pipe marked “EB”
Made by Edward Bird, his  son, or widow, Amsterdam

Maker’s mark on fragment, “MTS”
Possibly made by Matthias  Stafford, Amsterdam

Pipe with three-leaf clover (klaverbla
d) mark  on heel  
Probably made by Pieter Dammasz Krijger, Gouda


“Hand” mark
Probably made by the  De Vriendt family, Gouda

“Crowned 16” mark on base of pipe bowl  
Made  by Firma Gebroeders van der Want
, Gouda

Typical early Dutch stem decorated with four rows of  rouletting and dentate or V-chain milling

17th century

Pipe marked “HG”

Hendrik Gerdes,  Amsterdam