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Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > General Discussion > History, Tradition, Heritage
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History, Tradition, Heritage As related to the subjects of piping, drumming and pipe bands.

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Old 02-27-2018, 05:15 AM   #1
pancelticpiper
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Default Pipers in the old days

Due to my closing my Photobucket account all the previous links to my photos are dead.

So for the benefit of those who are interested in such things I thought I would start a thread of vintage piper photos.

Most interesting to me are the group photos, interesting for one because they're rare, for another because you can see in context the various ways pipers used to dress.

Here's the nicest and oddest, nice because there are so many pipers showing a fascinating variety of dress, odd because there's a paper cutout of a young lad in the midst of everybody. I'm guessing the youngster passed away.



This is my second-favourite. You can see the civilian doublets, both plain and with lace (braid) trim, which was a fashion around 1900, and military-style doublets. The four sporrans exhibit three different construction methods. I wish the footwear could be seen better.



Here in 1900 are more trimmed doublets, both male and female cut, and an excessively ornate waistcoat. The man in centre is wearing an Argyll jacket. At least three of the five sporrans lack tassels.



Here are long hair sporrans worn with tweed "day" jackets, which was the norm before small pocket-shaped sporrans appeared early in the 20th century.



I love this photo! The piper in an Argyll jacket and trousers, and plenty to drink.



Pipers' photos are nearly always posed, either playing or holding the pipes, but this Canadian photo shows pipers with their pipes in the cases on their way to/from a performance.

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Old 02-27-2018, 05:48 AM   #2
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Pipers in the old days

Continuing with some single photos.

This is one of my earliest, mid-19th century. One sees a variety of bonnet sizes and shapes then. That sort of hose appears in many 19th century photos but has fallen from favour.



Another excellent mid-19th century photo, decked out with two Highland pistols and powder-horn, but plain hose. That plaid brooch is huge.



Another early photo.



And another, showing the common mid-19th century wearing of ankle-boots with the kilt, a plain jacket, and a bias-cut tartan bagcover. Long hair sporrans, brown-grey, often lacking tassels, served as "day" sporrans before the small pocketlike leather Day sporrans appeared around 1900.



Further forward in time, a nice portrait of a young piper. Nice button-mount pipes and a plain doublet.



Due to the piping this photo excellently shows the cut of the old civilian doublet, standard piper's dress throughout the second half of the 19th century and well into the 20th.



Here is another great photo of the typical late Victorian civilian piper's dress. Once again the sporran has no tassels, and look at the size of those cuffs!

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Old 02-27-2018, 06:58 AM   #3
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Default Re: Pipers in the old days

Awesome collection of old photos. Great looking into the past. Thanks for posting.
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Old 02-27-2018, 08:15 AM   #4
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Default Re: Pipers in the old days

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Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post
...And another, showing the common mid-19th century wearing of ankle-boots with the kilt, a plain jacket, and a bias-cut tartan bagcover. Long hair sporrans, brown-grey, often lacking tassels, served as "day" sporrans before the small pocketlike leather Day sporrans appeared around 1900.


The "attitude" of the piper and the pipes is quite interesting. The drones are almost horizontal. Is it because the chanter stock is too long or the blowpipe too short? There are other period photos which show somewhat similar pipe postures.
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Old 02-27-2018, 08:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: Pipers in the old days

Quote:
Originally Posted by pancelticpiper

Another excellent mid-19th century photo, decked out with two Highland pistols and powder-horn, but plain hose. That plaid brooch is huge.

[img
https://i.imgur.com/nWQQwil.jpg[/img]

]
Rather looks like he just pistol whipped his bagpipe after receiving a DNP....
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Old 02-27-2018, 04:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: Pipers in the old days

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leong View Post
The "attitude" of the piper and the pipes is quite interesting. The drones are almost horizontal. Is it because the chanter stock is too long or the blowpipe too short? There are other period photos which show somewhat similar pipe postures.
I wonder about this when I see old pictures (and going back further, paintings and etchings) of pipers. It looks like the bags were shaped differently, sort of large and round in the back, like a teardrop shape, and they hold them with the front sticking up higher and the large round part under their elbow, with the drones sticking back like the guy in this picture.
Was this to keep water from getting on the chanter reed? I assume drops would roll down away from the chanter stock that way. Did they have something like a tube that we use now, before vinyl tubing and so on?

My other guess is that since you had to relax and stand still whilst having your picture taken back then (exposure times were long) that they weren't actually playing, and just set the pipes on their shoulder like that in a pose, maybe enough air in the bag to fill it out a little bit, so they wouldn't be blurry in the picture.
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Old 02-27-2018, 04:45 PM   #7
el gaitero
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. Did they have something like a tube that we use now, before vinyl tubing and so on?

.
Iirc,..Back in the only ( almost all always sheep) leather bag days ‘they’ didn’t use water traps etc...only depended on experience, the environment, seasoning, luck....;

Was it finally 1950’s-60’s ?? someone invented the cork ‘MCS’ ..a 1/4” dia.hollow metal tube jammed thru a cork pushed down into the stock,...the tube standing up about 2cm tall to create a reservoir in the stock.

Anybody recall more,others or differently?
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Old 02-27-2018, 05:43 PM   #8
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Pipers in the old days

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The "attitude" of the piper and the pipes is quite interesting. The drones are almost horizontal.
Yes you don't often see drones that horizontal, but you do often see drones more angled that most pipers do nowadays.

(Note that he has ribbons on his outer tenor that don't go anywhere.)



None of that "lend an ear to the drone" business!



Anyhow here's a fellow wearing a velvet doublet



Father and son?



Grandfather and granddaughter?



Elegant gent. The shape of his Glengarry is similar to the first single piper photo above.



Look how extraordinarily wide the tashes/flaps on his doublet are

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Old 03-01-2018, 03:50 PM   #9
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Default Re: Pipers in the old days

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Originally Posted by el gaitero View Post
Iirc,..Back in the only ( almost all always sheep) leather bag days ‘they’ didn’t use water traps etc...only depended on experience, the environment, seasoning, luck....;

Was it finally 1950’s-60’s ?? someone invented the cork ‘MCS’ ..a 1/4” dia.hollow metal tube jammed thru a cork pushed down into the stock,...the tube standing up about 2cm tall to create a reservoir in the stock.

Anybody recall more,others or differently?

**Not to hijack the thread, I'm loving these photos**

I mean to just keep drops of water from getting directly on the reed. I just started playing a hide bag, and I have a simple tube that goes to the back of the bag. That's all, no absorbent material or bottle or anything. This way the air starts at the back of the bag and the whole interior surface can be used for "moisture control." Works fine. Some condensation gets in the tube, depending on the temperature and humidity, but not enough to pool up anywhere. If I don't have the tube in though, those stray drops of condensed water seem to go STRAIGHT onto the chanter reed and even come out of the finger holes. So I wonder in the days of yore, if they/you/we just played with a soaked reed and chanter, or had some way of diverting away the water, like playing with the bag at the angle we see in some of the photos. I could play at that angle, but seems like it would be somewhat anti-social when marching and a drummer is behind me..
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Old 03-01-2018, 04:15 PM   #10
el gaitero
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Default Re: Pipers in the old days

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Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post
Yes

(]

Elegant gent. The shape of his Glengarry is similar to the first single piper photo above.
]
What do we suppose it is crawling up ( down?) the Elegant Gents’ chanter stock? If you enlarge the foto it looks like a face ..?

Notice no dongle at the end of his outside tenor.
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