58. Peterson New Lines for 2017: First Look

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Aside from a pilgrimage up Croag Patrick in County Mayo, followed by a pint of craft beer at the Porterhouse Brewing Co. in Dublin’s Temple Bar (as long as we’re pretending), I believe one of the best ways to celebrate is raise our Petes in humble thanks for all the Irish have given us, including good pipes to smoke.

To give you even more cause for celebration, here’s a first look at the 2017 new product lines from Peterson. I only have official photos at this point, but I’ll follow up with more information in a few weeks. For now, enjoy.


Limited Edition / Pipe of the Year

What could possibly follow the 2016 POY with such great visual contrast, but an homage to Peterson’s original 1906 chubby? I’ve talked about this shape before, but when Peterson made their first reproduction back in the 2005, they used the largest of the original “Jap” shapes. Here they use the medium shape and come closer to the classic forward-canted egg / bell from that catalog. My late friend “Trucker Chuck” Wright, known to many old-time Pete aficionados, had a companion-case set of these originals, one in briar and one in meer, which now sits in Tom Palmer’s office in Sallynoggin.

At first I was hoping for a P-Lip, but looking at that wide bit reminds me of my Italian chubbies from over at Neatpipes – and the wide-grip mouthpieces on those deliver extreme comfort between the teeth. Don’t know if this is a limited edition of 500 pieces again this year, but I’m hoping we might get an upgrade on the LE box. I like the blast on this year’s pipe (at least, the one shown) better than last, and the rustication is a vast improvement over the past few years, although still not up to the soft, deeply craggy  “Pebble Rustic” of the 1990s.





Do you remember back when you first took up the pipe? When you didn’t have two dollars to rub together and felt blessed if you had the money to take your girl for a burger and fries? Back when you smoked your Dad’s Kaywoodie (the bulldog with the stinger) and bought your first pipe out of a basket? Those days are as enchanted for me as anything in Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu.  I remember looking through the cases at all the pipes at Ted’s in Tulsa that I couldn’t afford, going from pipe to pipe to pipe. Pete Systems were $33, basket pipes $8. A Jobey Stromboli, my first real pipe, and one I treasure to this day, was $12.50.


Well, the Clontarf is the kind of pipe that, as a beginning pipeman, I would return to look at again and again, hoping my favorite shapes were still in the case. The visual design just pops—that smooth honey-brown with its striking rim rustication, the bold black PETERSON over CLONTARF logo (better than a Nike swoosh stripe, right?). And I imagine the price-point will be tempting for young and new smokers as well as old hands looking for something that says Peterson in a fresh way.


The Clontarf takes its name from the coastal burb just north of Dublin, famous for the Battle of Clontarf in 1014, when High King Brian Boru defeated the Vikings of Dublin and their allies, the Irish of Leinster. A dozen shapes have been announced, including the 69, 106, 408, 606, 999, B7, X220, XL11, XL20, XL21, XL22 and XL90.

The technique on the rim rustication looks similar to that used on fully-rusticated army mount Petes back in the 1970s and 80s on their army mounts.  Also looks like an ebonite (hurray!) mouthpiece with gold hot foil P stamping. Killer laser-engraving, the black-on-honey. (Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I believe the fishtail ebonite is a new slightly-redesigned mouthpiece. If you look at the Dublin Edition pipes on the market right now, you can see these are the same used here.)The XL shapes are all from the old Sherlock Holmes releases.  (If you’re new to the Peterson shape game, you can see any of these shapes by googling “Peterson [shape #] pipe smokingpipes.com.” You won’t see a Clontarf yet, but it will give you a visualization of the shape.)




The Newgrange sterling spigots feature a the seldom-seen F-mount, using K&P’s old-school “Pete-Speak,” where “F” stands for “facing.”  This might more usefully be translated as “flat,” because that’s what it does – covers the top of the shank at the mortise with a flat rather than domed surface. The beautiful black and maroon swirl acrylic mouthpieces compliment the gloss blast finish and what appears to be either a dark brown or cherry smooth rim. A dozen shapes have been announced, including the 01, 03, 05, 69, 87, 106, 408, 999, X220, XL02, XL11, and XL90. Standouts for me are the X220, which is a chubby version of shape 11 (De Luxe System) / 312 (Standard System), the XL11 (Original Sherlock Holmes) and XL02.


The line takes its name, as I’m sure you  know, from the amazing megalithic Newgrange passage tomb in the Boyne valley. It’s very narrow inside, and when we toured a few years back, someone got claustrophobic and we all had to do the backstroke to help him get out. The de-stress of a Peterson pipe would have come in handy at that point, right? Newgrange is a World Heritage site and worth a day when you next visit Ireland—and the Knowth tomb is right next to it.



St. Patrick’s Day 2017


You’ve presumably already read about these and bought that wonderful B56 / Sylvius to enjoy it today, right? No?! Well you can read about them here: https://petersonpipenotes.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/sneak-peak-st-patricks-day-pipes-for-2017/ . And there’s still some SPD17s around—but don’t wait too long, as they’ll disappear before summer hits. Like Christmas, the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day is something you learn to cultivate all year long. At least, that what’s my Jedi master taught me.


Summertime 2017


For the second release in the Summertime line, Peterson goes for a nice blast brown/orange finish with orange swirl acrylic mouthpiece, traditional “navy” mount and silver hot foil P on the stem. It’s a great contrast next to the army-mount blue bowl & yellow stem 2016 Summertime – having them side-by-side in the pipe rack would be fun. The dozen shapes announced include 03, 68, 69, 80S, 150, 230, B10, D18, X105, XL02, XL16, XL90. I can tell you the giant D18 Oom Pauls – the 150th Anniversary Pipe – are going to go fast, so if you want one, you might try to go ahead and reserve it with Ben at Tobaccopipes.com or your favorite shop. The XL16 is another stand-out for me, having originally appeared as the Professor [Moriarty] in the Sherlock Holmes lines. The 80S and 150 also really shine in this dress.









From what I can see of the Valentia line, it seems to be Peterson’s first higher-grade green-stain line since the Racing Green appeared in the mid-1990s. Both feature sterling bands, but the Valentia appears to be a higher-grade than the Racing Green, indicated not only by the amount of grain showing through but the all-important aluminum-imbedded P in the swirl green acrylic mouthpiece. A worthy successor, I’d say. In Italy, these are called lady-pipes, originating in Peterson’s Belgique and Calabash designs from the mid-1940s. Announced in a half-dozen shapes, slim and elegant, including the 15, 65, 86, Barrel, Belgique and Calabash.


The line name comes from Valentia Island off the Iveragh Peninsula at the southwest corner of County Kerry. There’s a bridge at Portmagee that will take you over. When I die, I suspect heaven will look remarkably like County Kerry.




The Waterford line is the 2017 high-grade, so don’t expect to see many of them. I can count the 2016 Dublin & Londons I’ve seen on two hands – they’re for serious collectors. The Waterfords, as you can see, feature an amazing smoky orange finish with a dark black and deep orange acrylic swirl mouthpiece and (of course) imbedded aluminum P. This is Peterson’s higher-grade briar, and it shows. The dozen announced shapes are suitably sophisticated: 01, 01, 106, 338 (yea!), 502, 999, X220, XL11, XL13, XL22, XL25, XL90. Where in the world did they get 502 bowls? They must date from the 1980s (you can read up on the 500 shapes here: https://petersonpipenotes.wordpress.com/2016/10/24/the-peterson-500-shapes-and-new-old-stock/ ). Several big pieces here from the Sherlock Holmes series—the XL11, XL13, XL22, XL25.


If you’ve never noticed this feature on a Pete before, see how the bowl heads are beveled in around the chamber on these high-grade Petes: I think Dunhill used to call these “easy-loader” rims, didn’t they? Sometimes you see this kind of head on a mid-grade Pete, but it’s certainly part of the high-grade package.




Christmas 2017 (Elf Army 2)


The Christmas pipe this year, designated the Elf Army 2 here on the blog, is a return of the glorious army-mount. This year’s will be a deep burgundy-over-black blast with engraved-nickel band, pearl-acrylic fishtail stem, and silver hot foil P.   It’s been announced in a dozen shapes: 01, 03, 05, 69, 87, 106, 408, 999, X220, XL02, XL11, and XL90. Eleven are from the Classic Range shape chart, but the XL11 is the “Original” Sherlock Holmes shape designed by Paddy Larrigan.



As to availability, I can only make a guess based on previous years. We will probably see the POY here in the States by the end of May or early June. The Summertime pipes may be out sometime in April. As to the others, I have heard that in the Sallynoggin shop (“factory” really just isn’t the word) initial batches of new lines are usually done sequentially — meaning we might see a larger-volume line like the Clontarf before the smaller, higher grade releases. It’s often the case that European vendors get their pipes in a bit before those here, so if you’re anxious you might check in to the etailers listed under the Blogroll in a month or so. They’re all excellent, and most will deliver your pipe in the same number of days it would take one in the States.


Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhaoibh!

 Pipe photography courtesy Peterson of Dublin


57. Peterson B Shapes, Part 4 (B35 – B48)

01-b46-kapreis-2With this installment, we’re just past the mid-point in the visual dictionary of Peterson’s B shapes. If this is your first look at the Bs, you may want to take a look back at Parts 1 – 3, because these twenty-five years—which span the early 1990s through 2013—mark an important and probably ended chapter in Peterson’s shape history. This is just a hunch, of course, but I suspect the era of Peterson special collections and extravagant Limited Edition pipes has come to a close, at least for now. What follows includes pipes from the Castle Collection (2009), the Antique Collection (2009), the Writer’s Collection (2010), and a sprinkling of Limited Edition / POY shapes.




02-b35-christmas-2013The “Kaffir” B35, one of my favorite shapes, is part of the 2009 Antique Collection. If you haven’t read about this Peterson shape before, you can catch up at  https://petersonpipenotes.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/the-peterson-kaffir-horn-and-bent-albert-zulu/ .  It has appeared in a number of lines after the Antique Collection, including (but probably not limited to) the 2013 St. Patrick’s Day, 2013 Christmas (seen above), 2014 Christmas, Italian Rock of Cashel (with acrylic marmelade stem below), the Italian Army Linseed blast, Derry Rustic, and most recently, a saddle bit Killarney (directly below).

Given all these appearances of the B35, I think I must be the odd man out, and it is quite possible no one else much appreciates this shape. Pete fan Mark Domingues may echo many pipemen in his dislike of this shape, because, as he rightly observes, when you’re smoking it, you can’t see inside the bowl, making it difficult to light or know if you’re scorching the rim.

03-b35-rock-of-cashel-alpascia-obverseKillarney Measurements:

Length: 6.52 in. / 165.58 mm.
Weight: 1.40 oz. / 39.74 g.
Bowl Height: 2.03 in. / 51.51 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.55 in. / 39.35 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.79 in. / 20.17 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.35 in. / 34.37 mm.



71258 Petersons Castle A4.p1.EPSShapes B36, B38-B40 are taken from the 2009 Castles Collection



05-b36-hunter-rusticThe B36, a barrel setter, derives from the Malahide, part of the quartet forming the 2009 Castle Collection. Its best presentation is certainly in the current Derry Rustic line seen below, although it previously has appeared in the Donegal Rocky and James Fox Hunter Rustic lines.

07-b36Derry Rustic Measurements:

Length: 6.04 in. / 153.48 mm.
Weight: 1.81 oz. / 51.41 g.
Bowl Height: 1.93 in. / 49.11 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.53 in. / 38.84 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.75 in. / 19.05 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.46 in. / 37.18 mm.


08-b37-christmas-pipe-2014This pipe is the other part of the 2009 Antique Collection, a quiet, slender billiard found in the 1906 catalog. It has appeared in the number of lines since then, including the Italian Blackrock (sterling mount) seen directly below, Christmas 2014, Donegal Rocky, Killarney, Derry Rustic, and, to great effect, last year’s Roundstone Spigot pictured after the Blackrock below.

10-b37-roundstone-spigotRoundstone Spigot Measurements:

Length: 5.71 in. / 145.03 mm.
Weight: 1.60 oz. / 45.36 g.
Bowl Height: 1.93 in. / 49.02 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.56 in. / 39.62 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.76 in. / 19.30 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.47 in. / 37.34 mm.



11-b38-derry-rustic-2The B38, named the Glinn in its original appearance in the 2009 Castle Collection. This is one of two truly amazing shapes to come out of the Castles quartet, rarely seen but in my opinion an absolute gem as it appeared in the set. A few appeared in the Derry Rustic line, Donegal Rocky and James Fox Hunter Rustic lines, all on the European market.

12-b38-hunter-aka-glinnHunter Rustic (James Fox) Measurements:

Length: 5.55 in. / 141mm.
Weight: 2.01 oz. / 57g
Bowl Height: 1.92 in. / 49mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.65 in. / 42mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.71 in. / 18mm.
Outside Diameter (obverse to reverse): 1.57 in.  / 40mm.



14-b39-donegalThe B39, an amazing panel of near-chimney proportions, appeared as the Lismore Castle in the 2009 Castle Collection. I have one in my rotation and despite appearances, it doesn’t sit. My father had a rusticated one that did, so the balance of the design is rather precarious.

Donegal Rocky Measurements:

Length: 5.85 in. / 148.59 mm.
Weight: 2.60 oz. / 73.71 g.
Bowl Height: 2.28 in. / 57.91 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.85 in. / 46.99 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.80 in. / 20.32 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.56 in. / 39.62 mm.



15-b40-kap-royal-european-leftThe B40, named the Birr in the Castle Collection, is close to the B34 from the Rivers Collection, but not the same. Both shapes may, perhaps, be described as bent brandies. The B40 has appeared in the prestigious sterling-mount Kapp Royal line (seen above), as well as the 2011 (below) and 2012 St. Patrick’s Day line. A Flame Grain also appeared (further below), but Flames, while stamped as as a line, are rather rare, especially when decked out line the one pictured below.

16-b40-flame-grain2011 St. Patrick’s Day Measurements:

Length: 4.70 in. / 119.38 mm.
Weight: 2.30 oz. / 65.20 g.
Bowl Height: 2.00 in. / 50.80 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.72 in. / 43.69 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.80 in. / 20.32 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.79 in. / 45.47 mm.


18-b41-aka-le-2009This was the beautiful Limited Edition / POTY 2009. The only subsequent appearance I have been able to trace was in the James Fox 9mm Hunter line pictured below. As I remarked in the visual history of Peterson’s Limited Edition / POYs, the full beauty of this shape isn’t revealed unless you see it from the top and can appreciate its pinched shank.

19-poy-2009-top-detailHunter Measurements:

Length: 5.07 in. / 145 mm.
Weight: 2.3 oz. / 65 g.
Bowl Height: 2.16 in. / 55 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.65 in. / 42 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.70 in. / 43 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.79 in. / 20 mm.



42-b42-darwinWhen the B42 appeared in 2009, it  was the first new System pipe to appear since the late 1970s and the only one with a B shape number. Per Tony Whelan at the factory, it was issued simultaneously as the Darwin commemorative and the B42. While it has appeared in every conceivable System configuration, the only other appearances I have traced are in the Italian-market sterling-mount Blackrock (seen below) and Rock of Cashel lines.

43-b42-rock-of-cashelPremier System Measurements:

Length: 6.26 in. / 159.00 mm.
Weight: 2.66 oz. / 75.30 g.
Bowl Height: 2.17 in. / 55.12 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.62 in. / 41.15 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.84 in. / 21.34 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.87 in. / 47.50 mm.



b43-2010-limited-editionThe B43 was the 2010 Limited Edition / POTY (above). It appeared in two Italian-market lines, the Blackrock (directly below) and the Rock of Cashel (second below), both sterling-mount, acrylic fishtails. It also appeared in the James Fox exclusive Hunter Rustic (9mm). I wonder if it, too, has a pinched shank, which is why I include the photo of its original appearance, which seems to suggest one. If you have one of these pipes, drop me a line and let me know.

2010 LE Measurements:

Length: 5.47 in. / 138.94 mm.
Weight: 2.30 oz. / 65.20 g.
Bowl Height: 1.95 in. / 49.53 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.43 in. / 36.32 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.80 in. / 20.32 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.62 in. / 41.15 mm.



2010-writers-collection-strutcard-adThe B44 – B47 sequence comprises the 2010 Writers Collection, the penultimate B shapes collection, again featuring some wonderfully original designs.



46-b44-donegal-rockyThe B44 originally appeared as the Shaw, a bent dublin variant from the 2010 Writers Collection quartet. Its only appearance thus far seems to be in the European market as the Donegal Rocky.

Shaw Average Measurements:

Length: 5.10 in./129.54 mm.
Weight: 1.70 oz./48.19 g.
Bowl Height: 2.22 in./56.39 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.65 in./41.91 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.83 in./21.08 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.63 in./41.40 mm.



48-b45-hunter-rusticThe B45, deriving from the Writers Collection Joyce, is a personal favorite of mine, although its character is changed somewhat in its B appearances. It certainly strays far afield from the Peterson house style. I wonder what James Joyce would have made of it? Someone at Smokingpipes called it (with a hint of derision) an “egg-billiard hybrid,” which entirely misses the elegant femininity of this lithesome shape. It seems more Danish than anything else to me, not that I get out very much. I’ve only traced it in the Italian sterling army-mount Blackrock (seen below) and the James Fox Hunter Rustic (seen above).

47-b45-blackrockHunter Rustic Measurements:

Length: 5.62 in.  / 143 mm.
Bowl Height: 2.08 in. / 53 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.57 in. / 40 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.57 in. / 40 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.725 / 18.42 mm.
Weight: 1.80 oz.  / 51 g.



50-b46-dublin-castleThe B46 is the Writers Collection Yeats. It’s a lovely setter, and appeared in the Italian Blackrock (below) and Italian Kapreis lines (at top of article) with acrylic stems and sterling army mount. It also appeared in the European-only Dublin Castle 9mm line (above) with sterling band.

b46-blackrockYeats Measurements:

Length: 4.82 in. / 122.43 mm.
Weight: 2.00 oz. / 56.70 g.
Bowl Height: 2.25 in. / 57.15 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.65 in. / 41.91 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.77 in. / 19.56 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.48 in. / 37.59 mm.



51-b47-kapp-royalThe last entry from the Writers Collection was the Wilde, the B47. As an enthusiast of the Dublin shape, I must say I’m quite taken with this one’s flared bowl. It’s appeared in the Italian market a a Kapp-Royal high-grade army-mount (above) and a Rock of Cashel (below) – Fisherman, and in Europe as a Donegal Rocky.

52-b47-rock-of-cashel-fishermanWilde Measurements:

Length: 5.82 in. / 147.83 mm.
Weight: 1.60 oz. / 45.36 g.
Bowl Height: 2.15 in. / 54.61 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.75 in. / 44.45 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.79 in. / 20.07 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.65 in. / 41.91 mm.



Per Tony Whelan at the factory, no stock number exists for this bowl.


Photo at top: B46 Kapreis (courtesy Bollitopipes.it)
Photographs courtesy Bolittopipes.it, AlPascia.com, James Fox (Pipe Divan), Smokingpipes.com,
and Charles Mundungus

The final installment of the
B Shapes Visual Dictionary,
B49 – B65


Bail ó Dhia ort!


56. Sweet Petes: A 2016 Gallery

01-sweet-petes-banner Valentine’s Day seems like a good day to look back at the Sweet Petes of 2016. While everyone will have his favorites, I cannot think of any year since I bought my first Pete in 1978 which has rung such glorious changes on the Peterson house style. I use the bell-ringing metaphor because 2016 seemed to be about making Peterson designs more relevant to younger pipemen and women while remaining on the firm foundation of the company’s 150+ year style history.


I. The Amber Spigots

02-x220-amber-spigot-reversePride of place goes to the release of the incredible Amber Spigots. My co-author and I saw several tubs of amber mouthpieces back in 2013 on our research trip to the factory, high up in a storage area at the back of the factory, but it was either Mario Lubinski, Shane Ireland of Smokingpipes.com, or both, working with Conor Palmer and Jason Hinch at the factory, that brought them to life. It was a stroke of genius to strengthen the amber with the spigot stem, and as you can see in the photo below, the P-Lip mouthpiece versions include the original bone extension tenon. Bowls that will accommodate a reservoir, like the X220 (the chubby version of the 11S / 312), seem to have been bored for one, making them (if I am correct) Peterson’s first-ever genuine Spigot Systems.

04-x220-amber-spigot-obverseTake a careful look at the ferrule on the X220 in the top photo—this is the kind of detail I mean when I said the new pipes build on the underlying identity of the Peterson house style. The spigot mount dates from 1906; the amber itself from 1939. But this is a brand-new mount for Peterson, the first since 1896. I don’t know whether Jason Hinch, silversmith at Peterson, came up with this consciously or unconsciously or whether someone else hit upon it by accident or design. However it came about, it’s a masculine, dynamic blending of the original domed army-mount ferrule and the F or facing-mount (flat-top) ferrule. The short mouthpiece, reminiscent of the early BC or short-tapered stems, is even shorter, and would look awesome on regular production Standard and Premier Systems.


II. The 2016 Limited Edition

05-2016-le2016’s new direction really began with Limited Edition, which was designed back in 2015, even though we didn’t see it until a few months into the new year. Emblematic of 2016’s new lines, it speaks dynamically of both continuity and change.

The LE 2016 grows organically from the Peterson house style while being a strikingly contemporary, functional, and distinctively Irish design. The company has a long history with straight-sided bowls, one that goes all the way back to 1896, so that you could call them a signature design, and when you couple this with the massive, thick shank Peterson has always been famous for and the near-chimney proportion, you’ve got a great shape.

I said when it came out that it struck me as a kind of slimline, fat-pencil version of Tom Eltang’s Tubos shape, extremely dynamic. It’s also the first non-XL-sized LE Peterson has made, another innovation, and one I welcome in the current culture of 22 mm wide, squat-pot chambers.

I confess to being disappointed with the lack of a presentation box and surprised by the reduction of numbered pipes – this was the first year an LE has ever been released in an edition of 500 pieces – but Conor Palmer’s reasoning makes sense. He told me he wanted it to be a genuinely limited edition pipe, and reducing the number would make that statement.


III. Derry Rustic

06-xl339-derry-rustic2016 was the year for Peterson’s acrylic-stemmed army mounts: from the Summer Classic in its outrageous blue and orange and the “Elf Army” Christmas pipe to the sterling-mount Orange Army and sterling Roundstone Spigot. But the Derry Rustic was the most visible entry in the 2016 issues due to its numbers and price-point, and certainly captured my interest with its B-shape catalog and even rarer entries like the X61 and XL339 (pictured above).


With a company as old as Peterson, there’s always something new to be learned, a shape or line that many contemporary pipemen have never seen. Here’s a few favorites among the “Seldom Seens” I discovered in my own smoking pilgrimage and research over the past year.


IV. Patent Brevet Clay

07-8s-patent-brevet-clay-francePeterson has a long, quiet history with the clay pipe, which we discuss in the book. The first generation of Peterson System clays were made in France (“brevet” = “patent”) and were high-end products. By 1906, they were made in two shapes—the 8 (shown here, same size as the 313 System) and the 12.  I used to smoke a traditional clay made by legendary craftsman Eric G. Ayto back when I published Pipeman’s Quarterly in my grad-school days. I liked the taste, but found them often wet and uncomfortable to smoke (bowls too hot and mouthpieces too difficult to clinch). Having tried this System Clay, I can only recommend that if you chance upon one, grab it. It’s a System, the bowl stays cool, being thicker than the traditional heeled-dublin clay, it smokes very dry, and it’s comfortable for clinching with its fabulous P-Lip. Best of all, of course, it gives you the tobacco-only taste experience that only a clay can deliver. Tom Palmer told me recently that Peterson has no interest at present in re-introducing a clay, as they have unpleasant connotations of sour old ladies and wakes in Ireland — more’s the pity, I say, as I think the relative price of such pipes combined with everyone’s interest in great tobaccos would make them very popular.


V. 1906 Bog Oak

08-1906-bog-oak-obverse08b-1906-bog-oak-catalogThis small Irish bog-oak (morta) pipe was offered in Peterson’s 1906 catalog. The specimen here had a bowl split at the back and was missing its band. It got away from me before I could acquire it for the book, so I offer it here. There is still a large craft-culture in bog oak in Ireland, and wouldn’t it be great if Peterson were to offer one again after 110-year hiatus? I had a Paolo Becker morta in my rotation for a time, and morta offers a taste experience quite unlike briar, but absolutely wonderful.



VI. 109 Diamond Shank Billiard

10-billiard-109Thanks to Phil Blumenthal, I am a confirmed Peterson straight-pipe smoker, counting my 107, 120s, and 106 in my regular rotation. I wondered if the 109 would be a larger pipe than the 107. It turns out it is not, although I very much like the chubby look of it. This one is from the Emerald line, which ran from c. 1992 – 2010.


Length: 5.71 in./145.03 mm.
Weight: 1.70 oz./48.19 g.
Bowl Height: 2.06 in./52.32 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.56 in./39.62 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.78 in./19.81 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.48 in./37.59 mm.


VII. 261 Belge-Canadian

11-261-belge-canadianHere’s an unusual shape. It’s longer than the 264, and its forward-canted bowl is what—a Belge? That’s the best I can come up with, anyway. This specimen was released for the Danish market in the Dublin line in the early 1990s.


Length: 6.45 in./163.83 mm.
Weight: 1.20 oz./34.02 g.
Bowl Height: 1.99 in./50.55 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.73 in./43.94 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.77 in./19.56 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.27 in./32.26 mm.



VIII. Pickaxe

12-pickax-obverseYou just know Tolkien’s Dwarves made and smoked the pickaxe shape. This isn’t the first Peterson pickaxe I’ve encountered, but since it was never documented in the Peterson catalog, I wanted to share it with you. It always has shape 1 stamped on it.

Length: 136 mm. / 5.35 in.
Bowl Height: 67 mm. / 2.64 in.
Outside Diameter: 30 mm. / 1.18 in.
Chamber Diameter: 17 mm. / 0.67 in.
Chamber Depth: 44 mm. / 1.73 in.
Weight: 34 gr. / weight: 1.20 oz.


IX. FS4 Freestyle

14-freestyle-fs4-reverseHaving lived through the 1970s and 80s, I’ve no desire to return, but wanted to show you the best of a handful of “freestyle” calcinated block meerschaum shapes that appeared at the tail-end of the 1970s during the heydey of Peterson’s work with Manxman Pipes on the Isle of Man. Kind of groovy in a big-haired sort of way, right? Perfect for cruising along the drag in your AMC Pacer or Ford Pinto listening to FM underground radio or your favorite 8-track.




X. O.3. Extra Large Patent

16-o3-systemThe last Sweet Pete in 2016’s crop was officially the third, and certainly the rarest, of all System shapes. It’s the O (for “Oversize”) 3, which appeared in both the 1896 and 1906 catalogs, designated an “Extra Large” in the latter. This particular specimen is stamped EIRE and was made between 1938 and 1948. The ferrule is very unusual, and like the Brevet System Clay is not simply a dome, but has an inner sleeve as well. For lovers of the Dutch billiard shape, it doesn’t get much better than this.


Length: 160 mm. / 6.25 in.
Bowl Height: 64.29 mm. / 2.53 in.
Outside Diameter: 38.9 mm. / 1.53 in.
Chamber Diameter: 20.90 mm. / 0.82 in.
Chamber Depth: 51.02 mm. / 2.0 in.
Weight: 69 gr. / 2.45 oz.


Jim Lilley, who was instrumental in getting The Peterson Pipe: The Story of Kapp & Peterson up and running, passed away not long ago. His blog and work for the International Peterson Pipe Club will long be remembered.

Ar dheas Dé go raibh a anam:
May his soul be on God’s right hand.


55. The New (Vintage) Amber Spigots

peterson-105In late December, Smokingpipes.com received about 30 or so new Peterson vintage amber spigots. By the time I found out about them later in the day, all but four had sold. But recently Conor Palmer, commercial director at Peterson, sent me several photos of these pipes, leading me to wonder if more may hit the internet at some point in the near future. Maybe Peterson just wanted to mark the occasion and had their photographer in that day, but my hunch is that there’s a few more that will be on the market. Either way, I thought I’d post a few of the photos he sent and tell you a little bit more about Peterson’s history with amber mouthpieces.

I won’t repeat what Sykes Wilford and Andrew Wilkes have already written, so you might first want to head over and read what they have to say at https://www.smokingpipes.com/smokingpipesblog/single.cfm/post/amber-stems-and-petersons-amber-spigot-line. Their words of caution for prospective owners are all to the good.

peterson-87-105You’ve probably run across vintage amber-stemmed Petes on eBay and elsewhere, and invariably you’ve found a beautiful old pipe with a broken stem. Arguably the most beautiful mouthpieces ever made for pipes, amber isn’t as durable as horn, and much more brittle. It was bought in lumps (seen in one of the 1906 catalog photos on the bench in front of Chalres Peterson) and worked by Charles and his right-hand man Jimmy Malone into P-Lip mouthpieces until shortly after the Great War, when amber prices went through the ceiling.

Soldiers returning home weren’t nearly as interested in the prestige of an amber stem as they were—quite understandably—in durability. You’ve only got to look at some of the pipes they brought home from that war and the Boer Wars before it to know what I’m talking about. They wanted something that could take quite a bit of abuse, and amber just wasn’t it.

peterson-86-smoothNevertheless, although Peterson quit advertising amber stems, they still had enough call for them to have purchased the raw material and worked the stems until at least 1939—according to the sale receipt found early last year when the Smokingpipes folks were poking around at the factory.

Smokingpipes weren’t the first to stumble upon stores of amber at the factory, nor the first to have them made up into pipes since Peterson quit offering them. That story will have to wait for the Peterson book. But the beautiful idea of sheathing the delicate stems in a spigot is something that hasn’t been seen from Peterson in the last century.

peterson-105-sideOn most of the pipes I’ve seen, the stems do seem short—an optical illusion caused by the fact that they likely weren’t intended for spigot treatment. It’s also possible they may have been intended as “tubes,” or cigarette holders, but could just as easily be adapted for pipe stems. In either case, as any aficionado of Nose-Warmers can tell you, a short stem doesn’t mean a hot smoke.

ft-304-amber-natural-reverseAmber is not for clinching, being harder than either horn or acrylic, but as most of us (at least here in the U.S.) are getting used to the idea of acrylic, the experience shouldn’t be too dissimilar. If you’ve bought any of the recent vintage Ropp horn-stemmed pipes, you’re getting closer to what amber will be like.

While the original P-Lip mouthpieces had a graduated bore, I don’t know if Jason Hinch (silversmith at Peterson) has been able to preserve the graduation or not. It is theoretically possible to make a P-Lip spigot, as I have a P-Lip vulcanite spigot made for me by his predecessor David Blake. My own Peterson spigots do seem to smoke a bit wetter than regular P-Lips, but that’s in no way a complaint, just an observation worth passing on.

x220-p-lip-amberIf they appear again on the market, you can expect to pay around $340 for a natural finish high-grade bowl, or a bit less for a brushed black rustic. If you’ve got deeper pockets (about another $100), there are still a few sites on the Italian market where, quite sensibly, you can get a natural high grade bowl made up with two spigot mouthpieces—one amber, one vulcanite. At either price, not a bad investment to companion a piece of Peterson’s earliest history!


Top photos courtesy Peterson Pipes
Other photographs courtesy Smokingpipes.com and AlPascia.it

Rath Dé ort!