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Pipes that made history: Lesson #2

Because there's more to life than pipe smoking. If it will not fit another forum, bring it up here.

Pipes that made history: Lesson #2

Postby KingBILLiARD » Mon Mar 16, 2015 4:30 am

“All my life I wanted to be a bank robber, carry a gun and wear a mask. Now that it's happened, I guess I'm just about the best bank robber they ever had. And I sure am happy.” - John Dillinger

Cop killer, murderer, bank robber, car thief, and America's most wanted. All were monikers used to describe one of America's most heinous 1930's gangsters, John Herbert Dillinger. Another term is serial jail breaker, because it's not just one jail, but two that Dillinger took an early walk from. This is where we find lesson 2 of, 'Pipes that made History.'

Taking a small step further back in time, The Great War is raging in continental Europe and arms factories in the United States are busy producing the means by which civilized people settle their differences. In one such factory in sprawling Chicago Illinois a Mr. Charles Lyon looses one of his arms in an unfortunate industrial accident. No longer able to keep his job, the hardworking Mr. Lyon begins making smoking pipes and sells them locally to support his family. During the Roaring 20's with the war over, The Lyon pipe company enjoys rising sales and WWI retired General C. G. Dawes, now vice president of the US is one the companies best customers. The pipe Mr Lyon makes has now been dubbed the Dawes Pipe due to the VP's fancy for it, and because the name sells.

So how does a one armed pipe maker, a vice president and ruthless tommy gun wielding desperado find themselves together? In March of 1934 John Dillinger was jailed in Crown Point Indiana not far outside of Chicago after being captured in Tucson Arizona. The jail in Crown Point was chosen to hold him because it was hailed as “escape proof.” Deputy Ernest Blunk claimed a real handgun was somehow smuggled into Dillinger who used it in his escape, but FBI files make clear Dillinger carved pipe from wood off a washboard and used shoe polish to make it look real. But there's another story...

Food was delivered to Dillinger by nearby cafe owner Lester Hoffman under contract with Lake County Indiana. Mr. Hoffman settled in Crown Point after previously living in Chicago and having been a next door neighbor to Charles Lyon. An avid pipe smoker, Lester especially liked his Dawes pipe and when not clenching it his teeth, he would “holster” it in his back pants pocket bowl sticking out, bit and stem inside. Dillinger seeing the pipe thus easily lifted it as Lester turned away after delivering a meal. Like taking candy from a baby.

The design of the Lyon/Dawes pipe is what afforded Dillinger his escape, you see the bowl sits lower than the stem, it's a so called under-slung pipe. Consisting of two bowls, an outer bowl and inner screw-in bowl. Unscrewing the inner tobacco bowl Dillinger made a hole in the bottom of its chamber large enough to slide it over the stem making it look like the cylinder of a revolver, the outer bowl he held as the grip. A few bits of newspaper, some black shoe polish and he had what appeared at first glance to be a small handgun. Facing a known murderer, who certainly was on his way to the electric chair, Dillinger's captors didn't dare take a second look and did as they were told. Taking another prisoner with him, who was also facing execution, Dillinger added insult to injury by stealing the sheriffs personal car and made his infamous get away. He was finally tracked down on July 22 at a theater in Chicago, and died in hail of bullets loosed by federal agents.

So ends our tale.

https://flic.kr/p/rDbzFF – Lyon/Dawes pipe in “pistol” configuration
https://flic.kr/p/qGpkkt – Lyon/Dawes pipe showing inner bowl unscrewed from outer bowl
Thank you, thank you very much - King Bill I Ard
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Re: Pipes that made history: Lesson #2

Postby Terrier » Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:51 am

Great lesson. Heading up to Michigan this summer. I think he had some hideouts there.
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