(Reprinted from Bulletin of The Archeological Society of New Jersey, No. 20, May 1962)



by  Bernard W. Powell

      A type of kaolin (white clay) pipe, apparently unrecorded in the literature, was recovered during archeological survey work in the Naugatuck River Valley of southern Connecticut in the Fall of 1960.

The pipe find consists of the complete bowl minus the stem, which long ago snapped off clean at its juncture with the bowl (Plate IV, B, C.).Some kaolin pipestem fragments were encountered at the find spot (a Colonial cellar   hole), but none apparently related to the bowl since their internal bore diameters and modes of manufacture differ.  The bowl was submitted for examination to, and ultimately presented to, H. Geiger Omwake of the Delaware Archaeological Board - a well-known authority on kaolin pipes.

Sketch of Kaolin Pipe Bowl from Naugatuck River Valley, Connecticut


      Omwake's comments in re this pipe type are of interest in placing it in context:

"The complete bowl is both new to me and very intriguing.  I am surprised that the bowl, which is generally fashioned to represent a human head, does not exhibit facial features.  Most such 'effigy' pipes do.  The meaning of the 'sunburst' face [see drawing: right lateral view - Author] on one side escapes me but the upper part of the bowl in the form of a straight-sided hat with a collar-like brim is clearly indicative of the style of headdress worn by . . . the 'Beefeaters' of England.  I have not been able to run down the history of this outfit and, hence, can't pinpoint a date for the hat style.  The manufacture of the 'effigy' pipes was pioneered by the French about 1790 and quickly caught on in other countries. Therefore, I would guess that your bowl, whose 5/64ths-inch stem-bore size was most prevalent to about 1800 but continued thereafter with diminished frequency, dates from 1800 on." 1, 2


      The similarity in appearance of the pipe bowl to the head and head dress of an English Beefeater, as noted by Omwake, is quite apparent (Plate IV, A).  There is not a one-to-one correspondence however; and examination reveals the points of greatest similarity to be 1) the convoluted and striated uppermost rim of the bowl to the convoluted crown of the Beefeater hat (see drawings), and 2) the small beard-like projection at the "chin" of the effigy bowl to the goatee just visible in the drawing of the Beefeater.

      Notable points of dissimilarity are 1) the difference between the rolled, bulged, and convoluted rim below the striated "crown" of the pipe bowl, as cited, and the flat brim of the Beefeater hat, and 2) the upward flare to the crown of the Beefeater hat which is lacking in the "crown" of the pipe bowl, and 3) lastly, perhaps most puzzlingly, the lack of anatomical features which would clearly establish the bowl as a human effigy type.

Front view of Kaolin Pipe bowl

 from Naugatuck River Valley, Connecticut

(Photo by H. Geiger-Omwake)

      It seems, for the present that Omwake's observation on the similarity of the pipe bowl to the Beefeater hat is the most logical that can be tendered.  But the presence of the divergent elements cited above tempers complete acceptance of this observation, and may, indeed, refer to some completely different type of headgear or to some completely different object (i.e., not headgear) which escapes both the author and Omwake.


      Attempts by the author to trace the origin of the Beefeater costume and, specifically, the origin of the headgear worn by these men, were disappointing. A few references, mostly peripheral to the problem, were noted.  A direct appeal to the Resident Governor and Major of Her Majesty's Tower of London, where the Beefeaters are stationed as the Yeoman Warders of that institution, elicited even less useful data than the sparse references the author found in routine library research.3

      What may be of some interest in connection with the pipe bowl is the information that about 1570 the familiar crowned hat of the Yeoman of the Guard replaced earlier bonnets.4  This may establish a minimum early date for the appearance of the hat type, which continues in vogue to the present. The question remains as to why around 1800 a pipe manufacturer should want to mold a quasi-effigy pipe in this likeness.  It seems unlikely that the specimen, a mold-made pipe, was the only one of its kind. Perhaps the same or similar specimens have been encountered by other investigators- or will be in the future.  The possibility exists that such an unusual type may be quite limited in temporal distribution, and might therefore be a sensitive chronological indicator - if more comparative material could be developed upon it.


Reproduction of a sketch of an English Beefeater

(Courtesy of James Burrough, Ltd.)


      A reference of general, not archeological, interest concerns the origin of the provocative name for the Yeoman of the Guard.  Contrary to popular opinion, and even to press information released by the British Information Services,5 one authority does not agree with the story that these men received their name from their preference, in their diet, for quantities of beef.  He mentions the likelihood of corruption from the French word "Buffetier" for an officer whose duties included attendance on sideboards at state and military banquets. Apparently such or similar duties befell the early Yeoman of the Guard during Tudor times, and so their name may have arisen.6


1 Omwake, personal communication.
2 There is independent evidence that the site was in use during the early decades of the nineteenth century.
3 L. Wicler (Sp.?), personal communication.
4 Norris, Book II, p.687 and ill.  Plate XXIIIB.
5 Caption accompanying BIS press photo of Beefeater.
6 Norris, Book I, p.50.


Norris, Herbert

         1938  Costume and Fashion.  Volume III, The Tudor Period, Book I: 1485 - 1547, (and) Book  II: l547-1603.
          J. M. Dent and Sons, Ltd., London.