R. G. Lawrie
R. G. Lawrie was said to have worked for Peter Henderson until 1890 when he started his own business. Early Lawrie drones are very difficult to distinguish from Henderson drones of the same era. Hallmarks are helpful in establishing the date of manufacture however not absolute.
As might be expected, Lawrie bagpipes changed over the years. I've divided this exhibit into four categories;
1. Pre-1900 - It is very difficult to put an exact age on any maker's bagpipe without strong evidence. As with identifying bagpipe I don't like guessing. Everytime we get it wrong we muddy the waters in trying to unravel the past. Notwithstanding from hallmarked silver, profiles, and specific details we can get close on many sets. It is not uncommon to find two-piece projecting mounts.
2. 1900 - 1920 - The Lawrie pipes produced during this period were generally excellent, made of ebony, cocuswood, and African Blackwood. They are prized as solo instruments. Silver is often without hallmarks however distinctive in style and design. I think that perhaps ebony Lawrie bagpipes are the most brilliant in sound. Sometimes the bass can be problematic with a tendency to growl.
3. 1920 - 1940 - With the appointment of John MacColl as Manager in 1918 some changes took place. The instrument continued to find favor among top pipers and pipe bands. As with other makers, African Blackwood was preferred by the turners. Most of these instruments are outstanding however you can encounter those with difficult (temperamental) bass drones. It is not unusual to find Lawrie drones with either celluloid or catalin fixtures with real ivory bushings. Very odd. Also, the bead on the lower projecting mounts started getting bigger and bigger. By the end of this period, projecting mounts had a pronounced "dish" in design.
4. 1940 - 1975 - During this period we find a steady decline in the quality of the instrument. Toward the end the company stopped making bagpipes altogether. The sound became very muted and unacceptable for competition purposes.
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