The Pamplin Pipe Factory site in Appomattox County contains the archaeological remains of several consecutive
periods of clay pipe manufacture.
Tradition holds that pipemaking there began as early as the 1740s when the
first European settlers arrived in the area. As a home based
industry, pipe production continued through
the years, with pipemakers using local clays to make pipes of various styles.
Between 1878 and 1880, E.H. Merrill Co., of Akron, Ohio, founded
the Pamplin Pipe Factory, which operated
well into the 20th century.
The factory was equipped with
foot-powered pipe-making machines that used interchangeable metal molds
a variety of pipe styles. Although the factory and home producers
used some of the same styles of molds, they also had their own unique ones as well.
Pipes produced at Pamplin were shipped to outlets and customers across the U.S. In 1935 the factory
purported to produce one million pipes per month. By 1952,
however, Pamplin Smoking Pipe and Manufacturing Co. was
Today the site is a permanent archaeological preserve owned and
maintained by The Archaeological Conservancy. It is
closed to the public
unless a visitor is accompanied by a conservancy staff member.
Map by Dominic Bascone, DHR