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The Thow family made bagpipes in Dundee Scotland from 1853 until 1953. We are expecting pictures of a stamped set here soon..

These next pictures come to us from Yann Le Lan of France.

"J Thow Dundee" stamped below the mount.

A faint stamp remains on the chanter

Some comparison pictures of Ebony and Cocuswood Thow sets.

Thanks to Ronan Maguire for the following pictures -

A suspected Thow bagpipe

Detail of mounts and ferrules

A lower projecting mount

Combing and beading

Side profile of a tenor drone top

Very unique sweeping shoulder to mount

Zoomorphic design on the silver

A great shot of the bass drone top

This set is another suspected “Thow”. They belong to George Hannah in Australia. They are quite different from the first 3 sets shown, is it possible that Thow had many changes in profiles during their 100 years of pipemaking? I think so.

Very nice pictures of the drone tops

A tenor top section

6 Responses to “Thow”

  1. For those that are interested, this suspected “Thow” set is obviously made of cocuswood, with ivory mounts/ferrules/caps & bushings. The ivory is perhaps Indian, but I’ll leave that to an expert. What can’t be seen is that all tuning chambers are brass sleeved. The blow-stick is from a different set (ebony with different profile ivory mount). Sadly, all stocks were missing when I received this set. These pictures (above) were taken not long after I removed them from an oil bath, hence the glossy appearance.


    George Hannah

  2. About 20 odd years ago I bought the complete contents of Thow brothers bagpipe makers which were lying in a disused store room in what was the actual Thow brothers workshop in Dundee. I got in the region of 120 chisels and gouges, files, reamers, reeds, reed making tools, bits of pipes, bits of ivory, templates of all the pipes they made and details of where every set went to between 1882 and 1936. The average price for their pipes in the 1880′s was £4.10 shillings ( £4.50p). The accounts books also include details of basket hilt swords, kilts, sporrans and Scottish flintlock pistols that some of the customers requested along with the pipes that they were buying, in particular for customers in New Zealand and Australia. The details include names and addresses of the people that the pipes were delivered to. I also have the templates of all the chanters they made which were different for each pipeband. This includes the Forfarshire Volunteers Pipeband. If you want anymore info or photo’s, drop me an email and I will try to help.



    • Stewart Baillie

      I’m trying to identify when my set of Thow’s were made. They are made from ebony with ivory mounts and nickel silver ferrules. Each of the nine ferrules are secured with 2 tiny nickel silver rivets, something I’ve never seen on other sets. I’m fairly certain they were made by Thow of Dundee as they very closely resemble the set from France shown on this web site.
      I hope you can help – I’m interested in anything connected with the Thow of Dundee bagpipe making business.

      Hope to hear from you soon,
      Kindest regards,

  3. The photo of the tenor bottoms,” Detail of mounts and ferrules” shows them to be of two
    different lengths; one has five beads, the other six. The mounts have different profiles too.

    I have a WWI era set that is possibly Center with similar unequal tenor bottoms.
    One more bead and six mm longer between mounts. The overall lengths are the same.

  4. I have photos and PDF’s. I will send info soonest (not tonight, it’s nearly midnight!!)

    • Donald MacDougall

      I too have a set of J. Thows in cocuswood that are very similar in profile to the two sets at the top of the page. I would be very interesd to see if there is a record of the man who purchased them from Thow. I think his name was MacPherson, and he was living in Inverness at the time. If you could help, or have any information regarding the company when John Thow was in charge, I’d appreciate it.


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