Reader Offers Pipes and Pipe Making Tools for Sale

Reader John Maclay is offering an array of bagpipes, chanters and pipe making tools for sale. The sale includes a set of ivory pipes by Henry Starck, five ‘Brian Boru’ chanters made by Starck, a full ivory Irish warpipe by Starck (bass, baritone and tenor drones), a set of miniature pipes (metal ferrules, ivory chanter sole), plus an array of wood, ivory and pipe making tools.

The whole lot is available for £5,000 or divided as follows:
Starck Highland pipes £1,500 – blackwood & ivory
Irish Warpipes £1,500 – full ivory, bass, baritone and tenor drones
Five Brian Boru chanters by Starck £1,000 – ten, seven and four key
Tools £500
Other material £250
Books £75

Check out our first gallery:

The lot also includes plastic chanter blanks (undrilled), spare drones and spare ivory. The books are part of a comprehensive library of piping books and manufacturing instruction manuals.

The books: Piobaireachd Society Collection 1-14, Willie Ross Colelction 1-5, Scots Guards 1&2, Seaforth Collection, John MacFadyen, John MacLellan, ‘Irish Bagpipe Construction’, ‘Complete Tutor for Brian Boru Warpipes’, ‘Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics’, ‘Timber Drying Manual’, ‘Creating a Scottish Bagpipe’, plus many others: total 47 books.

Mr Maclay in his younger day

Mr Maclay is now 82 and and is anxious to find a good home for his collection. He lives in the south of England. He can be contacted on 01590 675977. Mr Maclay was for many years a stalwart of the Scottish Piping Society of London.His house in Kensington was well known to pipers and judges visiting the capital for the Bratach Gorm in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

The Bagpipe Museum website has this on Henry Starck: Henry Starck made exquisite bagpipes. Their motto was “Only the best is good enough” and this is reflected in the quality of Starck bagpipes. The attention to detail was simply exceptional.  

The second gallery:

Starck, a flute maker, was persuaded to make bagpipes by William Ross when he was piper to Queen Victoria in the 1880s.  Initially, Starck refused, however eventually agreed to work with Ross. He became one of the most prolific and innovative makers in the industry. When Ross died in 1891, Starck continued the business and was followed by his son Albert Henry (1874-1955) and grandson Henry Albert (1909-1989) who joined the firm at the age of 14.

Henry Albert was determined to preserve the family’s reputation. In the absence of a son to carry on the family tradition, he closed down the business when he retired. In a newspaper article in the 1950s Henry Albert admitted that the memory of his grandfather throwing a set of finished pipes on the fire because they did not meet his standard was deeply etched in his mind. ‘Craftsmanship,’ he was quoted as saying,’is something wrapped up in the individual. It is putting into the work something so as to turn it out as perfect as human hands can make it.

In the early 1900s Henry Starck Sr. was involved with William O’Duane of Dungannon, Ireland, in the development and manufacture of a new type of bagpipe, which was advertised as the Dungannon, the forerunner to the ‘Brian Boru’ pipe.  This could be played on the march, had two complete chromatic scales and was described as having been ‘revived from the ancient Irish bagpipe’ and being ‘the most perfect bagpipe made’.

Starck was a genuine talent.  His GHB chanter was superior in pitch to the chanter of his era and produced a very true scale.  He innovated on many levels.  He also made bagpipes for several others who applied their own stamp to the product. He was a dominant producer of Highland bagpipes in Scotland and Australia. He supplied Ireland with Irish War Pipes.

3 thoughts on “Reader Offers Pipes and Pipe Making Tools for Sale

  1. I am interested in the Starck Irish war pipes, are they in good working order? could I use a normal Highland chanter with them and drone reeds? Could I have a few more pictures of them bell drones etc,

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