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CE Kron

CE Kron & Co. was founded in 1987, and began making bagpipes at Dobbs Ferry, New York in 1988 under the name Kilgour & Kron. The original workers were Charley Kron, and George Kilgour of Edinburgh. George learned the trade at James Robertson’s shop on Grove Street in Edinburgh.  CE Kron produces a standard bore bagpipe which is based on an older Glen bagpipe, as well their Heritage model which is based on Jim McGillivray’s 1912 Henderson.

Here is a great story directly from Charley Kron -

George Kilgour and I started making here in early 1988. First paycheck was March 1st. The first pipe would have gone out around the end of that month. We stamped every part of every drone, with G.P. KILGOUR, C.E. KRON, and NEW YORK. When George left Friday, August 11, 1995 (JFK airport, gate 6 British Airways 7:30 PM) I continued to stamp without his name for a while. Kilgour & Kron pipes were very good, but the profound increase in quality began when Dave Atherton began work. I had hired him the week before George left, and he was to start the 14th.

The first change was in response to the P&D article which panned my pipe. The rules of the contest were to send a set of drones, hemped, no stocks, full art. ivory. I believe the main reason for my bad review is this: my stocks being Robertson size, the Canadian judges would have had to add hemp so the drones could fit their Henderson stocks. Being mere pipers, they would have botched the job, and the reeds would have waggled about in the bores of the stocks, making the drones unsteady (plus using reeds suitable for Henderson, not necessarily Kron.) I didn’t realize about the curious Canadian propensity for Henderson style drones until about 2001, when Jim McGillivray told me I’d never sell a pipe in Canada until I made Henderson style drones. So I did, and immediately the “Heritage” outsold the standard 10-1, and sales to Canada (previously zero) became about 60% of total almost overnight. You and Kinnaird were part of that.

Two other reasons for the panning, which are valid. The judges didn’t like the varnish, which looked caked. The varnish on Robertson pipes was similar, so looked normal to George and me. The problem is, Robertsons are old, so the thick varnish seems acceptable on them. Dave called it “pancake syrup.” The other comment was the quietness of the bass.

Dave and I started using a special varnish that was much shinier, and which was used a lot in Scotland for a while. We went away from that when we realized that it chipped pretty easily. From then on, we only polished our African blackwood drones. This gives them a bit of a dullish look when the polish wears off, but our wood is good, and they then look like old ebony.

We opened the bass middle a bit, and this solves the quietness of the bass, but it would still be less loud than Henderson. For many people, most of them not Canadian, this is a positive thing.

Dave and I decided to stop stamping the drone parts around 1998 or so. We did this because of the time it takes, and because the quality was becoming so good that there was no doubt who made the pipes. A typical, but by no means only, aspect of the improvement was Dave’s pioneering improvement of the combing and beading, unheard of in the modern period. This was an obvious, visible quality thing. You probably remember that we exploited it.

Another pioneering improvement came when we decided to forgo nickel and use only silver, around 2000. I made our ferrules from thick tubing and threaded them. As far as I know this had never been done before on bagpipes. The plain silver ferrules indicate my pipes, without a doubt.

Around 2002 I had silver tubes made for ring caps, two sizes for bass and tenor. This meant I could send off a set of threaded silver – nine ferrules and three ring caps - to a silversmith for beads and caps. I mostly used Malcolm Dowie in England, who always did superb work, adding a bead that was perfectly proportioned to the size of the ferrule and ring caps, and also “square” with the thread. I also started making my own tuning slides. This meant that I had control over premium silver, needing to buy only the mouth tubes (Dowie made them exactly as I wanted them) and pipe chanter soles.

The big diameter silver also allowed me to make my “ring band” sets, with blackwood projecting mounts and buffalo horn bushes – a pipe with no art. ivory.

When Dave left in August 2007, 12 years to the day from when he arrived, I changed drone style right away. I stopped making Heritage Henderson style drones, and altered the bass of my standard again to get a richer sound there.

The standard ferrule diameter for Kilgour & Kron was 1 3/8″ on the stock, 1 5/15″ on the bass, and 1 1/4″ on the tenor. I always have used three sizes.

When I started the silver ferrules, I stepped that down to 1 5/16″ on the stock, 1 1/4″ on the bass, and 1 3/16″ on the tenor.

When Dave left I stepped down yet again, to 1 1/4″ on the stocks, 1 3/16″ on the bass, and 1 1/8″ on the tenor.

On some pipes I use ferrules 1/16″ smaller than these, even.

K&K was always 24 TPI combs.

Heritage was always 26 TPI combs.

CE Kron standard was 24 TPI until around 2002, when we switched to 26 TPI.

After 2007 I stuck with 26 TPI.

~~Charley Kron”

Cord Beads reminiscent of Donald MacDonald....

Note the beautiful grain on the Mammoth Ivory!!

Close-up of the combing and mount of the Heritage model

Bass drone top and cord beads of the new Kron style(since 2007)

Side profile of the shoulder and combing

Beautiful silver and ivory bass drone.

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