Baccy Pipes

Preserving A Early Patent WDC Milano Hesson 1549


Last week i got a email from my friend Al over at Dr. Grabow Collectors Forum. He wanted to know if i was interested in a  WDC  Milano Hesson poker stamped  Pat ‘d Dec 22, 1925 1549. He would offer it to me first before he posted it on Ebay.  I told him i was interested and so he sent me some pictures and offered it to me a a great price , so a deal was struck. I do own a early 1900’s  WDC Durobit NOS poker but i have never been able to bring myself to put a flame to it yet. So a WDC poker i could smoke and enjoy was something I was looking forward too.

From the pictures he sent it looked in pretty good shape for a pipe that is at least 87 years old. When the pipe arrived i was not disappointed.100_1804 (640x411).jpg

100_1818 (640x356).jpg

The rim had seen some wear and wore quite a few ashtray dings.100_1808 (640x469).jpg

The pipe was certainly early 20th century as it used a screw in tenon that was threaded directly into the briar of the shank. The skinny stem at the button is another sure sign of a pre 1930’s pipe.100_1809 (640x457).jpg100_1815 (640x382).jpg

The stamping’s are getting pretty weak so after cleaning it up some i took the pipe outside and manged to get some OK shots of them.

WDC /Milano100_1886 (640x414).jpg

Hesson Pat ‘d Dec 22, 1925 1549. With pretty much no info on WDC shape numbers i assume 15 means Hesson and 49 means poker shape.100_1878 (640x359).jpg

After doing some research i found that WDC updated the Hesson patent in 1932 and renamed it the Hesson Guard as depicted in this 1930’s ad.Hesson-Life-12-20-1943-108-M3.jpg

The most notable change is they switched from a screw in tenon to a push stem as noted in this pic i found off the web.Hesson Systems (640x477).jpg

Also later 1932 post stamping seem to be WDC inline with Milano instead of WDC over Milano as in this other pic i grabbed of the web also.

il_570xN.455821095_b209 (179x143).jpg

My estimation on the year of the pipe is 1925-1930 ish. Maybe as late as the later patent date as 1932 but i kind of doubt it. Threaded briar was pretty much done by 1930 and in fact I am surprised it was still being used as late as 1925.

I gave the outside of the pipe a good cleaning with mild cleaner/water i mix up myself.100_1821 (640x397).jpg

The cork “guard” seems to work pretty good as the pipe shank did not need much cleaning at all. In fact i was assuming it had all crumbled away after 90 years but its still there and is solid.100_1823 (640x416).jpg

Topping the rim enough to get rid of all the dings would have taken off more material then i was comfortable with as the poker is on the smaller size at only 1 1/2 inches tall. I opted to sand out as many as i could with light sandpaper and mineral oil. It will still wear some of the dings but I am OK with that , after all the pipe is almost a 100 years old  and i would rather keep it as original as possible.100_1824 (640x448).jpg

Sanding the rim did lighten it up quite a bit so to add some patina back to it I dried off all the mineral oil and stained it several times with black coffee and a Q-Tip. Letting it dry between coats , I gave it at least 6-8 coats of black coffee.100_1834 (640x450).jpg

After soaking the stem in alcohol it cleaned up pretty easy and only had a light oxidation that i was able to scrub away with Bar Keepers and did not have to subject the metal tenon to a Oxy- Clean bath. I sanded a few  light tooth marks out , gave it a good wet sanding and cleaned up the metal with some 000 steel wool.100_1850 (640x443).jpg

After both the stem and bowl was cleaned and ready for a buff and wax  i put them together and gave it a few dry drags. The draw seemed kind of restricted to me so i used a small 7/64 inch drill bit that was just barley larger than the hole through the cork guard and gave it a re-drill.100_1852 (640x473).jpg

I had also gave the chamber a new carbon coating so i though maybe some of that might be blacking the airway.

I do not know what kind of cork they used but I’m here to tell you that stuff is very hard! It took quite a bit of effort to re-drill it by hand. The draw was much improved by the drilling.100_1854 (640x476).jpg

I gave it a good coat of mineral oil and wipe down before taking it to my buffing wheel.100_1856 (640x403).jpg

Finished WDC Milano Hesson 1549


I have smoked a few bowls of 5 Brothers straight burley in it and i have to say  its a much better smoker than I thought it would be. The Hesson “cork guard” seems to work better than i expected and delivers a really dry smoke.11.jpg

Until Next Time,

Good Smokes To You.


If you would like to see my NOS  WDC Durobit poker it is also on Baccy Pipes

3 thoughts on “Preserving A Early Patent WDC Milano Hesson 1549

  1. Another fine restoration Troy. The few WDC pipes I have owned are of excellent workmanship and are of good quality. They are a fine example of American pipe manufacturing in its prime period.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks
    I could not agree more , the WDC’s i have are of top quality and very well built. Even this one with the threaded briar does not feel weak or likely to break when i screw it in. The metal tenon is not some cheap thin metal, its very thick and high quality.


  3. Troy, I can see by reading your work that I still have a lot to learn. The coffee “dye” is a new idea to keep the patina matching, awesome!! The last thing I dyed with coffee was a Confederate uniform back in my younger days used to shoot Yankees on weekends! Coffee and tea had a new meaning then and now too, Thank. John

    Liked by 1 person

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