70. Peterson “A” Shapes (the 1995 Antique Collection)

Note: For those so inclined, I have put two pipes appearing in the book up for sale in the “FOR SALE & TRADE” page found on the navigation bar at the top. There is also some Penzance and other tobaccos I’m looking to trade, if anyone has an excess of virginia tobaccos on hand. If you buy either of them, I will be glad to list your name as “from the collection of” in the photo credits at the back of the book!

 

 

The “A” Shapes — all in one go!  This must be the smallest shape group in the entire Peterson catalog. Certainly, it’s the smallest one I know about, consisting of just four numbers, A1 – A4. They all derive from Peterson’s first full-blown foray into antique reproductions. They weren’t the company’s first look back, the 1981 Mark Twain and a few other pieces having appeared in the late 1970s, but they remain the finest presented set, and were made available in a leather companion cased set as well as individually cased, beginning in 1995 and running through 1999 or so.

 

A1 (1910 – Straight Bulldog P-Lip Army Mount)

The inspiration for the “1910” A1 could very well be the bulldog System 35 pictured on p. 42 of the 1906 catalog. Alone of the four original antique shapes, the A1 has remained in the catalog, and has been available in several lines over the years, including the St. Patrick’s Day for 2008 (2nd below) and 2011, the Donegal Rocky, the Smokingpipes.com exclusive Aran sandblast, and the Derry Rustic (first below). It’s just a great bulldog shape, not too big, not too small.

 

 

A2 (1905 – P-Lip Army Mount Billiard)

The “1905” A2 seems to be a copy of the System 29, also on p. 42 of the 1906 catalog, where it is displayed with an AB long, or army-mount tapered long stem. Here the Dublin-Era designers of the mid-1990s one-upped the original catalog illustrations, opting for a chubby AB stem that I’ve always admired. The reproduction, of course, was not drilled for a System, which means the chamber is significantly deeper, and from personal experience, I can say it smokes very well indeed as a P-Lip. In its A-shape release, I’ve only been able to track it as appearing in the 2002 St. Patrick’s Day line, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it appeared in other lines as well.

 

A3 (1909 – Bent System with Space-Fitting Mount)

The A3 derives from the so-called “1909” bent System with Space-Fitting Mount. I say “so-called” because the shank angle and size of the bowl most closely resemble the System Ball shape 15 seen on p. 24 of the 1906 catalog, but the A3 is actually more of a chopped billiard than a ball. My sense of this shape is that whoever cut it did not have a clear understanding of the three basic Patent shapes (the ball, the billiard, the straight billiard or “dutch”). Perhaps making a ball shape is something contemporary cutters no longer know how to do.  In any event, what the Peterson aficionado is left with is, in fact, an original System shape with a functioning System design, which is kind of fun, really, as this makes it one of the rarest of all System shapes.  Like the A2, it is hard to track in subsequent lines. I’ve only found it appearing in the extremely handsome and remarkably P-lipped St. Patrick’s Day 2000 release. As you can see in the photo below from Smokingpipes.com, it is easily the handsomest of all the A shape releases, somewhat resembling the Sherlock Holmes Moriarty, although smaller in size.

 

 

A4 (1903 – Dublin with Space-Fitting Mount)

Originally the 31S System in the 1906 catalog (seen here as a 31A), like the “1905,” this great dublin-on-steroids shape wasn’t made in the Antique Reproduction collection as a true System, but did have a tenon extension built into the mouthpiece (also true of the “1909”) and performs quite well as a P-Lip.  It appeared subsequently as an A4 in the incredible sterling-mount P-Lip 1999 July 4th line and the 2002 St. Patrick’s Day F/T nickel-band.

 

 

Photographs courtesy
Danishpipeshop.com
Smokingpipes.com

 

69. Peterson B Shapes, Part 5 (B49 – B65)

Here we are at last, in this fifth installment and final installment cataloging Peterson’s B shape history.*  B49 – B65 includes pipes from the third Sherlock Holmes collection (2011), the Molly Malone collection (2011), the Iceberg 1912 collection (2012), the fourth Antique Collection (2013), and several Limited Edition shapes (now simply known as “Pipe of the Year”) in between.

The B shapes are central to understanding the Dublin Era of Peterson pipes (1991 – Present), showing how Peterson’s house style evolved in what may be called “the age of the collectible pipe.”  As a shape-group, they are as distinctive in their own right as the original Patent shapes and the post-Great War shapes of the Irish Free State and Eire eras were in theirs.

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (2011)

Shapes B49, B51, B53, and B56 are all from the third Sherlock Holmes series, released in 2011 (and all bearing XL shape numbers as well as B numbers). I’m a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and of Peterson’s three commemorative series, which you will find well-documented in The Peterson Pipe: The Story of Kapp & Peterson. I’ve had spectacular success smoking the Sylvius and the Gregson, and am still trying to break in my Hopkins. At some point, I’d like to find a Moran as well.

 

B49 Ashford

Here’s the B49, one of the greatest of the B shapes, making a final bow. It appeared first as the Gregson in 2011’s Adventures quartet, then as an XL30 in the Kinsale line, which was created especially for SH shapes. As the B49, the most recent appearance of this almost-stack proportioned bent brandy is in the Derry Rustic nickel-mounted line, although it has previously appeared in the sterling-mount Italian-market Ashford and Kapreis lines.**

 

Molly Malone Cockels & Mussels (2011)

What an awesome set. Usually a set looks better in smooth than rustic, but not here. Maybe it’s the shapes; maybe it’s the faux-bone colored acrylic stems, but I like them. I’m going to try not and dwell on this, because if I do, I’m certain to get a case of P.A.D.

B50 Rock of Cashel

The lovely and curvaceous B50 is, appropriately, part of the Molly Malone duet from 2011.  It has appeared in the three standard sterling-mount Italian lines: the Kapp-Royal, the Kapreis, and the Rock of Cashel. In Europe, it also appeared in last year’s Derry Rustic nickel-mount line.

 

B51 Ashford

The B51 poker – cherrywood hybrid, originally appearing as the Hopkins in 2011’s Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series, is for my money the most outrageous shape in the entire B shapes catalog and deserves a place in the serious Peterson companioner’s rack if only for its outlandish design. It’s an unwieldy behemoth, difficult to hold, heavy as a brick, and looks like it escaped from a Magritte cartoon. I love it. Its first reissue was as shape XL27, in the Kinsale line. Subsequently, it appeared in the Kapreis and Ashford sterling-mount Italian lines, followed last year by its nickel-mount dress as a Derry Rustic. For those with a whimsical bent, not to be missed.

 

B-52 “BUFF” Stratofortress

No stock number exists for the B52 shape number, per Tony Whelan, Jr., at the factory. I’d like to imagine this was because it would be inappropriate (for an entire theological dictionary of reasons) to give a pipe – the emblem of peace – the same number as the long-range B-52 Stratofortress, or BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fucker), as it’s usually called.

 

B53 (unmounted) Aran

The muscular Moran, the diamond-shanked bent billiard from the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, appeared as the XL28 in the Kinsale line before its appearance in the Lubinski Kapreis line, the unmounted (mostly European) Aran line, and the Derry Rustic.

 

B54 Kapreis

The B54 originated as the marvelous Limited Edition 2011 panel. Seeming to take its cue from the B53, the B54 transforms that diamond-shanked bent billiard into a paneled shape, where it appeared in a number of lines European lines: the Lubinski Kapreis (as both an army-mount and a navy-push), Rock of Cashel, Blackrock, and Kapp Royal, as well as the 9mm Dublin Castle. Last but certainly not least, it appeared in last year’s Roundstone Spigot collection.

 

B55 Kapp Royal

I like the unusual slightly rounded crown and round shank of the B55 bulldog. It seems very old-fashioned, somehow. It first appeared as the other half of the Molly Malone collection in 2011 (which may account for its, *ahem,* full-figured shaping). As fetching as it is in both smooth and rustic finishes in the original, this is one B shape that doesn’t lose much of its allure when transferred to the army-mount Kapp Royal, Kapreis, and Derry Rustic lines.

 

B56 St. Patrick’s Day 2017

This nuanced billiard of near-stack proportions made its first appearance as the Sylvius in the 2011 SH series, and as a matter of course was given shape number XL29 for the little-sister Kinsale line. It has appeared as the B56 in the extremely limited Royal Irish line and then more generally as the collectible-within-the collectible in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day issue.

 

The B57 – B60 are all the from the Iceberg 1912 collection, which was released to celebrate the centenary of the Titanic in 2012. That year also witnessed the opening of the amazing Titanic Belfast museum, located on the site of the old Harland & Wolff shipyard where the RMS Titanic was built. When we visited in the summer of 2013, the museum was still getting its sea-legs and some of the most interesting looking rides and exhibits were having a few difficulties. But gauging from current reviews, everything’s now smooth sailing.

I had wished at the time that the Iceberg Collection might have used the Titanic name so that more people immediately recognized what was being commemorated, but apparently there are licensing fees that made that a prohibitive undertaking. Nevertheless, as one of Peterson’s final special collections (at least in the foreseeable future), there’s some wonderful work here.

 

B57 (unmounted) Aran

The B57 dublin shape was issued as the Port from the Iceberg Collection. With a slight forward cant and bell at the crown, it’s one of a handful of updates on the classic Peterson dublin 120 shape that have been made during the Dublin Era (1991 – Present) that I want to explore in an up-coming blog. It has appeared in the fetchingly unmounted European Aran line as well as Lubinski’s sterling army-mount Kapreis.

 

B58 Kapreis

The B58, the Starboard of the Iceberg Collection, is easily my favorite of the pieces in this set, making a billiard – poker hybrid that is so intuitively iconic you’d think it’s been around for a hundred years. What makes it even better is that, from a technical standpoint, it’s also a kind of rocking “setter” (and should have been included in that earlier blog), making it a great sit-down companion when both hands are needed. It was the darling of the 2013 St. Patrick’s Day release, and has also appeared in the unmounted Aran line and with an amazing Cumberland acrylic stem in the Kapreis line.

 

B59 Roundstone Spigot

The B59, the third shape from the Iceberg Collection’s Stern, is for fans of the straight pot, which I imagine are legion. It appeared in the elusive Kapp Royal line for Lubinski, then disappeared until it resurfaced in last year’s Roundstone Spigot line.

 

B60 St. Patrick’s Day 2013

The B60 is taken from the Bow, another charmer from the Iceberg collection. It is sometimes mistakenly said to be the same shape as the Hansom (XL26) from the Return of Sherlock Holmes series (1992-1997). It is not, of course, but is very like. The Hansom is a diamond-shank stack rhodesian, while the Bow is a round-shank stack rhodesian. On average, the chamber of the Hansom also seems to be about 5mm deeper than the Bow, but I could be mistaken in thinking the Hansom has a deeper chamber. Like the B58, the B60 appeared in the 2013 St. Patrick’s Day (such a bargain in both cases), as well as the James Fox exclusive navy-mount Black Sandblast line and last year’s nickel army-mount Derry Rustic.

 

B61 Dublin Castle

The B61 first appeared as the Limited Edition 2012. It also appeared in the upscale, sterling-mount marmalade-stemmed Kapp Royal line for Mario Lubinski, and in the 9mm Dublin Castle pictured above, a great sterling-mount high-quality European blast line, with a P-Lip! My Dad smokes the Kapp Royal variant and loves it, not least because it’s another “setter,” and he can put it down whenever the need arises.

 

B62 Christmas 2014

This beautiful big brandy derives from the 2013 Limited Edition. It’s a great looker and has since appeared in a number of lines. The Derry Rustic, Christmas 2014, and Donegal Rocky versions all feature identical machine “pineapple” rustication, probably seen to its best advantage in the warm tones of the Christmas 2014 variation. It’s also appeared in the entry-grade Killarney line.

 

B63 Killarney

 

Antique Collection 2013

In 2013, Peterson released their fourth Antique Collection set, this time the full-bowled, short-stemmed pocket pipes known as “Pats” in the 1906 catalog. The B63 is the straight billiard from the 2013 Antique Collection, and as I happen to own and smoke one, I can tell you it’s a great little P-Lip wonder, one of Peterson’s finest reproductions. It has appeared since in the entry-grade Killarney, mid-grade Derry Rustic, and high-grade Roundstone Spigot lines.  None of them, of course, captures the original spirit of the B63, but there you have it.

B64 Dublin Castle (9mm)

The B64 is the other pocket-charmer from the 2013 Antique Collection. It has since appeared in the European 9mm sterling-mount Dublin Castle, the Killarney, and most recently, Derry Rustic lines.

 

B65 Orange Army

This massive billiard seems to be the final B shape, taken from the 2014 Limited Edition, which was a kind of homage to the early straight-sided Patent Systems, unfortunately sans System, sans P-Lip, sans vulcanite mouthpiece (ouch). I think it has actually fared better in its subsequent multiple-line releases, which include the Killarney, Derry Rustic army mount, Rock of Cashel, Dublin Castle 9mm, Orange Army, and even in a Silver Cap natural. As an army-mount, I think my favorite is the Orange.

 

*The B Shapes:

Part 1 (October 3, 2016): https://petersonpipenotes.wordpress.com/2016/10/03/petersons-b-shapes-a-visual-encyclopedia-b1-b11/

Part 2 (October 17, 2016): https://petersonpipenotes.wordpress.com/2016/10/17/the-b-shapes-part-2-b12-b21/

Part 3 (November 21, 2016): https://petersonpipenotes.wordpress.com/2016/11/21/the-b-shapes-part-3-b22-b34/

Part 4 (March 6, 2017): https://petersonpipenotes.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/57-peterson-b-shapes-part-4-b35-b48/v

 

** In case you missed Jim Frenken’s comments back in February and March, he believes there are two bowls with this shape, one larger and one slightly smaller. The B21 is the smaller POTY 2004, while the B28 and B49 derive from the the larger POTY 2008. Jim’s measurements of his own POTY 2004 and POTY 2008, seem to bear out there is a difference between these two shapes (the black sandblast is the POTY 2004, the smooth is the POTY 2008). His top photo below gives a visual referent.

POTY 2004:

Bowl inner depth: 44 mm
Bowl inner width: 20 mm
Bowl outer height: 60 mm
Bowl outer width: 38 mm
Width bowl at rim: 31 mm
Pipe overall length: 147 mm
Pipe overall height: 75 mm

POTY 2008:

Bowl inner depth: 52 mm
Bowl inner width: 20 mm
Bowl outer height: 63 mm
Bowl outer width: 40 mm
Width bowl at rim: 34 mm
Pipe overall length: 150 mm
Pipe overall height: 85 mm

 

Pictured at top: B50 Kapp Royal

Photos courtesy
Smokingpipes.com,
AlPascia.it,
Haddockspipeshop.com,
&

Tabaccheriaguzzi.it

68. Preserving A 356 System Oom Paul

I had thought to finish up the B shapes this time around, but placed a half-serious bid on eBay and found myself the winner, to my consternation (at first), but delight (on actually examining the pipe). Sometimes the most exciting auctions seem to involve sellers who don’t know what they’re selling or auctions with photos that are just fuzzy enough to create a certain amount of uncertainty as to what, exactly, the shape is, or what condition the pipe is in.  I thought it might be the O2 house pipe (that’s “O” for “oversize,” as we explain in the book), and in a moment of madness bid on it, although I rarely smoke such behemoths. I fully expected to be outbid as the auction had 5 days left to run, but no one did.

It didn’t turn out to be the O2, but a shape I reach for much more often, the first, chubby version of the 02.  This is Peterson’s classic Oom-Paul shape, going back to the patent shapes of 1896. I love the size of chamber on these pipes, which is usually about 19mm x 48, one of the best in my smoking experience for Virginias and VaPers.

By the 1937 catalog the original 02 shape had three numbers: 02 for DeLuxe, 305 for 2nd grade, and 356 for the 3rd grade – 2nd being today’s Premier, 3rd being today’s Standard.  One of first things I knew we needed for The Peterson Pipe book was a cross-reference shape chart of shapes that bridges System and Classic Range, and just last week I had a question about an unfamiliar System shape that turned out to date from the 1930s.

I have a hunch based on the Peterson ephemera and the 02 shapes I’ve seen that sometime during the 1940s the original chubby 02 was modified, slimming down the shape, but not the chamber size, as you can see in the Shamrock 02 photo above. My reason for believing this has to do with the disappearance of the chubby original 02 shape from the catalogs after 1937, the appearance of the 02BB shape in the 1940s, and the transition to simply the 02 number before it was finally discontinued in the c. 1973 Associated Imports catalog.

Why the “BB” you may ask? I can offer you my fairly educated guess: the second “B” just stands for a tapered stem (fact), an old Peterson practice still in use with saddle stems, which are marked “S.” The first “B” (supposition) stands for a tapered bowl.  Like I said, that’s just a guess, but until I get another chance to dig through the Peterson archives, I suppose it’s as good as anyone’s.

When the pipe arrived, I was delighted to find it stamped IRISH FREE STATE, which means it was cut between 1922 to 1937, although my co-author has never logged a hallmarked IFS early than ’27. Even so, to companion and smoke a Peterson that’s going on 80 years old is a marvelous thing. The only rarer COM stamp would be the EIRE, that short period from 1938 – 1948.

As received, the 356 wasn’t in anything like the condition that Steve Laug routinely deals with on a daily basis over at Reborn Pipes, but in what I call the “well-beloved” state, meaning that while it looks pretty nasty, the owner actually took extremely good care of it, apart from neglecting to ream the carbon-cake! Some dental chatter, lava flow, extreme cake, a small burn mark at the front of the crown, and some small cracks under the ferrule at the mortise are all I had to contend with, all well within my DIY skill-set. The vulcanite testified to use, but not abuse, and certainly hadn’t been out in daylight for a long while.

The wood itself is what I call “classic standard-grade Peterson” – good, strong birdseye covering most of the bowl, and better than many, many Standard Systems. The only fill – and what made it a 3rd (Standard) grade – is on the back toward the mortise. It is fairly small, black and still strong after all these years, so no need to pick and refill it.

The three cracks at the mortise deserve mentioning, because the 02 shape, like the 14, has an enormous opening here, making the briar extremely thin. It’s not surprising that the company eventually moved away from such extremes, although I wonder (as I always do) how this gigantic opening and its accompanying reservoir impacts the smoking qualities of the pipe. I know my System shape 14 pipes (which have the same huge mortise) perform extremely well.

The ferrule was loose, and on backwards. I had worried from the eBay pictures that the soldered band was cracked or had been inexpertly repaired, but such was not the case – it had just discolored, as solder will do on a nickel band. If you’re new to the world of vintage Petes, you can expect such solder marks as an indicator that the pipe dates to before 1963.  I was surprised by the brass color of the solder, as when most old Pete bands are polished up, the solder simply disappears until the band becomes oxidized again.  Doesn’t look like silver, doesn’t it? Metallurgists (Al?) can you shed some light on this?

You can see in the various photos the discolored white glue the craftsmen used to seat the ferrule. I’ll use Liquid Nails to re-seat it onto the stummel, because I’m in the habit of polishing Peterson bands with a silver cloth on a routine basis, which can break the hold when using white glue. On Al’s advice, I wasn’t as aggressive in polishing the nickel mount this time, and while Fabulustre didn’t quite do it for me, white diamond did enough to keep me happy & keep the nickel intact and the nomenclature clear and crisp.

Also notice that on these hand-soldered nickel mounts, a bevel has been turned down where the band meets the wood, something you unfortunately don’t see on post-1963 machined-pressed nickel mounts.

The bowl smelled like its previous companioner had smoked non-aromatic tobacco, and using the smallest head on my PipNet, it came out like sand with just gentle turns, telling me the pipe had not been smoked in many years. No heat fissures beneath, and a pleasant smell, so I opted for Steve’s trick of using cotton pads instead of sea salt for an overnight alcohol soak. It passed the olfactory test the following morning, and when I cleaned out the shank it also didn’t take much – a tube-brush scrub and 7 or 8 pipe-cleaners and it was clean.

As a help to those interested in such things, I include a side-by-side comparison of the tenon end of the mouthpiece with a recent-production mouthpiece: the tenon extension juts straight out on the recent one, but is conical on the original. Note the width of this thing—6.5 mm!

The rule of thumb for a System graduated mouthpiece is 1.5 mm at the button, 5 mm at the tenon. (And no, if you’re wondering, the old Systems never had filters.) Premier and DeLuxe Systems dating from the same era would have had hand-cut vulcanite stems with screw-in bone extensions, if they had not been erroneously removed by unknowing owners.

I’ve become convinced over the years that a tight fit on the mortise-tenon juncture is essential to good performance on a System (or any army mount): it creates a much better, cooler, more flavorful airflow. One way to spot a replacement stem is simply to notice the fit. An original will probably bear a ring scar from where it hits the ferrule. A replacement won’t seat as well. This is one reason the company won’t just send customers a mouthpiece: they know it needs to be fitted by hand, by an expert.

I decided to strengthen the three hairline cracks in the mortise with clear CA glue. Not really necessary with the ferrule glued over it, but as long as it’s off, it’s just a bit of extra insurance to prolong the life of the pipe. While the excess glue wouldn’t show, I did need to smooth off the excess glue on the inside of the mortise (with a small dowel and 220 grit) for the tenon to fit securely.

I was careful not to soak the crown of the pipe long enough in alcohol to lighten the stain around the top. The original 3rd Grade Systems, according to the ’37 catalog, were stained “medium walnut.” One of the things I don’t like about many restorations I see is that, in re-dying a bowl, the original grain is often obscured. Fortunately, I read Charles Lemon’s latest post at Dad’s Pipes, and got out the mineral oil instead.

I coated the pipe with a cotton pad, then stood it up in my makeshift dyeing / drying rack (pipe reamer inserted in beer bottle). I had intended to go back and wipe it down, but got distracted, and when I came back, the wood had soaked it all in! More importantly, it was gorgeous. The following day, I applied some carnuba with the Foredom to let the oil set up a bit. This was a revelation for me. I’ve never seen carnuba take to a Pete bowl like this before, and all I can conclude is that the mineral oil was the magic here. Charles, I am indebted to you!

I’ve learned from bitter experience that breaking in a pipe this old can be every bit as hazardous and worrying as any new pipe, so I gave some thought to giving it a very light coat of pipe mud, just enough to help get the new carbon cake started and prevent undo any heat from burning the bowl. I say this because I once companioned a Patent pipe, which I had paid dearly for, only to have a giant burnout develop down at the airhole. It was devastating to think I’d mucked up a 100-year-old pipe, and so I’ve vowed to take much greater precautions with old wood ever since. I don’t like the taste of cigar (being mostly a Virginia user), so I decided in the end not to apply it. I hope I don’t live to regret that decision! If anyone has suggestions for breaking in old briar like this, please let me know. I can use all the help I can get.

The stem work was routine – after internal cleaning, I pulled out nearly all the dental chatter with soft passes of the lighter. I’m more a preservation than a restoration guy, so I left two little dents on the bottom of the button rather than resort to CA glue.

I soaked the mouthpiece in Oxyclean for about 4 hours, then went to work with micromesh pads. This time I thought I’d try wet-sanding with each grade, just to see if the work went more quickly. I confess, this is the most tedious part of the job for me, but I hate stems that are still brown under the shine. I’m sure it was hard on the pads, but the work went much quicker, and while I stopped (again, like my hero Steve) between every three grades to wipe it down with Obsidian oil, the results were noticeably better than usual, so I think I’ll make wet-sanding a habit.

The bend on the stem does not conform to the 1937 catalog, giving the pipe an extra .25 inches in length over a similar 356 with the 1937 bend. I decided to leave as it was.

P-Lip army mounts are among the worst to restore, at least for me, because of the P-Lip and the shoulders on the mount. I always seem to have a fine light brown haze around the shoulders and a thin brown line at the juncture of the upper and lower walls of the button. This time I used a small diamond file to carefully cut through the oxidation on the walls at the button, followed by careful use of a split 2400 micromesh pad, before running the gauntlet from 1800 to 12,000. It’s been my experience that if you don’t cut through the oxidation at the beginning, you’re going to see it when you’re done. I also put more effort into those shoulders, and I’m pleased to report (as maybe you can see) that under the Ott-Lite, all is a glossy obsidian.

And finally, the finished pipe:

Cataloging Information

Stamps:
Peterson’s over System (fork-tail P) over 3 (in a circle) on obverse;
356 stamp, lower reverse side of stummel;
IRISH over FREE STATE on obverse of stummel, just below ferrule

Year: Cut between 1922 – c. 1940
Mouthpiece: Probably original
Length: 6.25 in. / 159 mm.
Weight: 2.15 oz. / 60 gr.
Bowl Height: 2.22 in. / 56.61 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.9 in. / 48.45 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.762 in. / 19.35 mm
Outside Diameter: 1.37 in. / 34.97 mm

 

 

Shamrock 02 photo courtesy Smokingpipes.com

 

 

 

 

67. Sneak Peek: The 2017 Christmas Pipes

I know Christmas is still eons away, but it’s not every day one gets the chance to visit the Peterson branch of Santa’s Workshop and see what the Sallynoggin elves are up to, much less take photographs and bring back a report. So turn down the air-conditioning (if you’re here in the hottest part of the U.S.), don your Aran sweater, put on your favorite Christmas music, and take a look.

XL02

I didn’t think we’d see another Elf Army, but I am happily proved wrong. This year’s lineup, as you know from earlier blogs, features the full “12 Pipes of Christmas”—for 2017, shapes 01, 03, 05, 69, 87, 106, 408, 999, X220, XL02, XL11, and XL90. Eleven are from the Classic Range shape chart, but the twelfth, the XL11, is the “Original” Sherlock Holmes shape designed by Paddy Larrigan back in the 1980s. That’s two straights and ten bents, as usual in a variety of chamber dimensions to suit almost anyone’s tobacco preferences.

XL11 (Larrigan’s Original Sherlock Holmes shape)

Shapes 03, 999, 69

The “Elf Army 2” (ask for it by name!) features a nickel mount with a laser-engraved bow on the top of the ferrule and the classic K&P over PETERSON nickel stamp on the bottom.

The laser-stamping of the bowl gives full documentation, as you can see, of the line, the year, and the shape number. Bravo.  The stain is a deep brown over red contrast, producing a suitably seasonal ember-glow effect. The blast on the ones I examined is also quite nice, as Peterson continues to improve in that department.

69

Sometimes the blast will be quite striking, and on the whole, it’s even craggier than some of the current spigot lines, which suits me just fine. I don’t mind saying again just how soothing a good sandblast can feel, rolled between thumb and fingers after a long day.

The acrylic fishtail mouthpiece is widely slotted, featuring a silver hot foil-stamped P.

As you can see from the detail photos, the acrylic rod isn’t white, but a lovely striation of creams, mostly straight but varying just a bit from stem to stem. It will be difficult to see these photographed against white, like most e-tailers do, so I thought I’d set it them against black to give you a little better look.

I’ve been trying to learn how best to smoke a Peterson fishtail army-mount, because it doesn’t behave for me like a System, a P-Lip, a spigot, or a fishtail “Navy-mount.” When I try to use my usual smoking style (long drafts), I find it smokes too hot and is less flavorful than other Peterson mounting styles. Recently, however, I’ve learned that short draws seem to make all the difference, bringing back the flavor and dissipating the heat. If you smoke an acrylic-stem army-mount, please chime in and let everyone know how it works best for you.

01

408

03

05

I can’t remember when the 2016 Christmas pipes arrived here in the States, but I think it may have been as early as August. Until then, a thought from forgotten essayist Hamilton Wright Mabie: “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”

999

 

Photographs: Chas. Mundungus

Next: Can it be? The Last of the B Shapes Catalog!