This Month in Delaware…

clay pipes
Set of mid-eighteenth century clay pipes produced by Olof Forsberg (DHS collection, gift of The Swedish Tobacco Company)

The City of Wilmington celebrates the 350th Anniversary of the founding of the New Sweden Colony in Delaware in1638 by hosting a royal visit.  As part of the festivities planned for their seventeen-day tour of the United States to promote the historic and business relationship between Sweden and the United States, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Sylvia of Sweden visited Wilmington on April 13, 1988. During their brief stop in the city, the royal couple were treated to a busy schedule of welcoming ceremonies and events that culminated in a gala dinner at the Hotel Dupont.

To commemorate the event, the Swedish Tobacco Company of Stockholm presented Wilmington Mayor Daniel Frawley with a boxed set of four antique clay smoking pipes, which Mayor Frawley in turn presented to the Delaware Historical Society. The pipes were unearthed as part of archaeological excavations in 1984 at the Heleneborg estate in Stockholm, once the manufactory of pipe maker, Olof Forsberg, who owned the premises from 1739 to 1759. The pipes came from a store room destroyed by fire that contained over 300,000 pipes.  Forsberg produced over twenty-one different styles of clay pipe for sale, but only four are represented in this commemorative boxed set: the Tre Kroner (Three Crowns), the Sveriges Vapen (a high-end model with the Swedish Coat of Arms), the shell-shaped Krushuvud, and the Korta No. 2 (the number indicated the size of the pipe’s bowl in this series).  This unique gift serves as an important reminder of Wilmington’s participation in the celebrations.


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