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The Factory.

William Merrill, the son of a very successful Akron, Ohio pipe and stoneware manufacturer,  established the pipe factory in Pamplin by 1880.
   The factory operated under successive owners from the late-19th century through the first half of the 20th. Even so, commercial clay pipe manufacturing had peaked by 1919—a decline partially owing to the growing popularity of cigarettes after World War I.
   From 1919 to 1929, three local entreprenuers ran the factory as the Pamplin Smoking Pipe and Manufacturing Co., diversifying production to include building materials.
   New owners acquired the factory in 1929 and continued producing pipes, building materials, as well as earthenware. By 1935 the factory reportedly produced one million pipes each month; it also claimed to be the largest clay pipe manufacturer in the world. Nonetheless, it sold at public auction in 1938 to new owners, who ran it until 1951.
   The bottom postcard image shows the factory circa 1940. The top photo was taken in 1969, the center one in 2009.