Museum The Bagpipe Place
John MacDougall

This bagpipe opens a book of questions.  The chanter stock is stamped J. MacDougall Dundee.  We know that the MacDougalls made bagpipes in Perth, Edinburgh, and Aberfeldy however prior to this bagpipe surfacing there was no information regarding a MacDougall making bagpipes in Dundee.

We do know that Allan MacDougall made bagpipes in Perth around 1790 until his son, John, took over the business in 1834.  John would have been 32 years old at that time and continued the business (in Perth) until 1857 when his son, Duncan, took over the business.

So how is it that a bagpipe would surface stamped J. MacDougall, Dundee?  We know that John was a "wright" meaning a wheel wright or a cart wright.  Perhaps at a young age he set out to make his fortune and settled in Dundee for a spell.  Perhaps he made a few bagpipes during those years before returning home to continue his father's business.

This is entirely speculation however what struck me about this bagpipe was the "Thow" look of it.  Of course, we know that John Thow lived in Dundee and began making bagpipes commercially in 1853 at the age of forty.  In 1834 he would have been 21 years old.  We know that in 1850 he is listed as a Wright in the Dundee trade directories. 

Is it possible that Duncan MacDougall and John Thow had contact (as wrights) in the late 1820's and early 1830's?  Is it possible that John Thow learned bagpipe making skills from Duncan MacDougall?  I don't know the answers to these questions however it does give one reason to ponder.
The bagpipe below is also stamped J. MacDougall, Dundee, (on the bass drone tuning pin) however the look is much more modern.  This helps us to see and understand that makers were not slaves to a particular pattern or design.