114. A Visual History of Peterson’s Shape 999

I always find myself thinking of the classic 999 John Bull (pictured above) as typical of Kapp & Peterson’s house style with its short, beefy shank, chubby tapered mouthpiece and P-Lip.  Unlike other iconic Peterson shapes, however, it seems unlikely that this one was an original. Collectors more knowledgeable than I know there were many English and French makers who also made a shape very like it, if not earlier, then at about the same time beginning in the 1920s or 30s.

A 1939 GBD 9239R (Courtesy Al Jones)

Al Jones has several favorites, including GBD’s 9242 and 9438, Comoy’s 499, and Sasieni’s Ashford. And if you play with the design a bit, you can come up with a number of variations and more than one name by which the shape is called. Many American pipemen call the 999 a rhodesian, although at BriarWorks they call it a bullmoose. But Greg Pease, perhaps thinking of Tracy Mincer’s Custombilt pipes, would say a bullmoose has a forward-jutting chin and is usually sporting a saddle bit.

For Pete Freeks there is fortunately away out of this etymological muddle: what has Peterson always called it? It usually just goes by its shape number, but when Peterson has given it a name, it’s always the same name: John Bull.

Note also that whenever the two shapes pictured above are named in the K&P ephemera—which is from 1947 to 1992—they’re always given the same names. Diamond-shank? Pete freeks, that’s a Rhodesian Bent. Round shank? John Bull. But while the song (or name) remains the same, the fact is the 999 pictured in the 1992 brochure illustration above was not the first nor even the second shape given this number, but the third.

Thanks to Steve Dundish and his remarkable 999 collection, it’s finally possible to document all three shapes and shed a little light on the number’s history.

The first sighting in K&P ephemera occurs in the 1937 “Chat with A Smoker” pipe box brochure, which was printed at about the same time that K&P opened its London factory in the Bradley’s Buildings on White Lion Street. The thing to notice here is that this 999 is the classic fat beaded version Peterson later dubbed “John Bull,” the name (as Anglophiles know) being a metonym or personification of England, visually depicted, says Wikipedia as “a stout, middle-aged, country dwelling, jolly, matter-of-fact man.”

The 999’s entry into the Peterson catalog may not be just a coincidence, either. The London factory had just opened (as the book will explain in further detail) to manufacture pipes for the English market, and what more natural than to do than make sure Peterson has on offer a few fashionable English shapes?

The historians among us remember Ireland entered what its people called “the Emergency” on September 2, 1939—WWII—a state of crisis that continued until the Emergency Powers Acts was discontinued on the same day seven years later. We review the impact of this for Kapp & Peterson in the book, but what is interesting for the 999 is that between its first sighting in 1937 and its appearance just before international hostilities halted US imports in mid-1942, the shape had morphed from a John Bull into what appears to be a slightly-larger unbeaded shape, what everyone calls an “author.” Here it is in the George Yale 1942 catalog illustration you’ve seen in the blog before:

Thanks to Steve’s fascination with the 999, we can also now see two real-life Emergency-era 999s, a Captain Pete (top) and a nickel-banded Shamrock (bottom):

That both of these author 999s are from US Rogers Imports lines, and that the author version of the 999 isn’t seen in any Peterson ephemera outside the US, brings up some questions: did the factory make the shape exclusively for the US market (which may be the case with the 9BC and the 02BB)? Or did K&P or Rogers Imports change their minds about the shape after the war? I doubt we’ll ever know.

The Shamrock line, according to Rogers Imports Ltd. copyright information, seems to have been in production as early as 1938, while their Captain Pete line began c. 1940, giving a few time to get to the States. As the stamps reveal on Steve’s pipe (seconded by Gary Malmberg’s documented research), Captain Petes were not made solely by the London factory (contra Pipephil.eu).

“MADE IN IRELAND,” both Gary Malmberg and I agree, is what is typically found on the Rogers Imports pipes, rather than the “ÉIRE” stamp one would otherwise expect for these years.

Without handling several examples of a factory pipe made over a few decades, there’s no way one can really get a sense of true comparative sizes, which can vary by a few millimeters due to the nature of the wood, sanding, and production. Still, here are measurements comparing Steve’s 999 Shamrock Author with a classic 999 Shamrock John Bull:

999 Author                                                     999 John Bull
Length: 5.31 in. / 135 mm.                             Length: 5.25 in. / 133 mm.
Bowl Height: 1.69 in. / 43 mm.                      Bowl Height: 1.63 in. / 41.38 mm.
Bowl Width: 1.5 in. / 38 mm.                         Bowl Width: 1.80 in. / 45.91 mm.
Chamber Width: 0.87 in. / 22 mm.                Chamber Width: 0.70 in. / 17.88 mm
Chamber Depth: 1.25 in. / 31.75 mm.           Chamber Depth: 1.30 in. / 33.10 mm.
Weight: 1.8 oz. / 50 gr                                   Weight: 2.0 oz / 56 gr

There are three interesting things to note about Steve’s author Shamrock 999: first, the K & P maker’s mark in shields on the nickel band, which throughout Peterson’s history have typically been reserved for sterling mounts. Nickel bands and mounts typically were stamped with just the plain “K & P” maker’s mark. Second, Steve’s pipe has a P-Lip, while the George Yale has a very untypical fishtail.

The third thing I want to call your attention to is the tenon extension. Traditionally (if not during the Dublin Era), tenons and mouthpieces have been of great importance to Peterson. This one, while molded and not a bone screw-in, features the extended “chimney” so crucial to correct tenon-mortise airflow for the P-Lip mouthpiece. The graduated bore of the P-Lip as well as this extension makes the pipe a “sub-System” (as we call it in the book), which means that it will perform considerably better than a traditional fishtail. This type of molded extension goes all the way back to the original molded-stem Patent mouthpieces, incidentally, and doesn’t seem to have disappeared (alas!) from the Peterson workshop until the 1950s. This may have been due in part to the fashion of implanting stingers, and not merely to brand amnesia, but whatever the reason, it is unfortunate.

The author version of the 999 was never made again, and so remains the most elusive of the 999s and one of the rarest production shapes ever made by the company. In fact, I could never quite believe in its existence until Steve sent photos of his—despite its appearance on the George Yale page—thinking perhaps it was something the company intended to put in production, but never carried out when hostilities made it impossible to export their pipes to the US.

Following WWII, pipe production went into high gear at Peterson, just as it did for the other European pipe factories. The familiar pre-war 999 reappears in K&P’s red 1945 catalog, available in the company’s first four post-war lines: the De Luxe (highest), Dublin & London (high), Kapet (standard) and Kapruf (blast):

It was in the distributor’s shape catalog issued around 1947 that Peterson first officially named this shape the “John Bull”:

The “Product Line” (entry-grades) “K,” Shamrock and Donegal Rocky lines had all made their appearance by this time. As production geared up, K&P would continue to expanded its lines, adding the John Bull to a broader spectrum including (in approximate order of quality) the Supreme, Premier, Sterling, Killarney and Auld Erin.

The tenon work for Peterson will typically depend on the grade of the line. Using the prices from the 1953 Rogers catalog as one touchstone, neither my $3.50 Shamrock nor my $5.00 Killarney Natural have extensions, while Steve’s $10.00 Premier has a bone screw-in:

It is remarkable to me just how many classic 999s are seen on the estate market, always commanding good prices. Among the mounted lines, the Shamrock seems most frequent (being released in greater numbers than the higher grades), although every once in a while, a precious-metal band comes down the pike, like this one in the 1950s Sterling Silver line from Al Jones’s collection:

999 Sterling Silver line (Courtesy Al Jones)

But it’s far more typical to sight an unmounted 999—remember that sterling and nickel mount pipes were considered somewhat old-fashioned by the 1940s and 50s. Here’s several of Steve’s 999 collection  (the Captain Pete author in the upper left)—notice the John Bull Donegal Rocky 999, which (depending on the decade) was either sterling or nickel-mounted but lacked the standard double-bead):

The 999 is found in Peterson shape charts from the 1950s through the mid-1970s, when it becomes the “XL999” in an Associated Imports brochure from 1976:

I can only make a guess here, but based on the other shapes included on the same line, it would appear in hindsight that Peterson was making a transition. In the 1977 Associated Imports catalog of the following year, the brief-lived new 998 shape and the older 999 appear together:

By 1978, the Associated Imports chart illustrates only the smaller 998 appears:

If you chance across shape 998, then, you can be reasonably certain it was made sometime between 1975 – 79. In 1980, a full-color brochure shows the older 999 in a meerschaum, and then, in 1984, the darkest year in the company’s history, the classic version of the 999 makes its last bow in the company’s tiny down-sizing catalog as the “Large John Bull” (the 998, of course, being the “Small John Bull”):

By the time Hollco-Rohr’s distributor pages appeared in 1987, the Large John Bull was gone and what we may call the Small John Bull (shape 998) had been given the 999 number, which it retains to this day. I know this newest version remains one of Peterson’s top-selling shapes and is widely admired in Pete circles, even though I find myself preferring the older, chunkier version. The Small JB, however, can sometimes approach the sublime, as seen here in its Amber Spigot release a year or so back:

Aside from their very real visual appeal, I think there’s two more ingredients that have made the classic Large John Bull so popular: it’s extremely comfortable in hand and has an exceptionally wide button, spanning between 15 and 17mm, making it a really easy clench between the teeth, especially when the button has the slight downward turn seen in so many of them. In fact, I don’t think there’s another mouthpiece in the Peterson arsenal that beats it, although the “Comfort P-Lip” on the original 301 Systems from the late 1970s equals it.

There’s enough classic John Bulls on the estate market that with a little perseverance and luck, you can usually bag one in a month or two if you’re persistent. And you’ll usually pay only a fraction of the price that similar shapes in one of the fashionable marques like Comoy’s, Sasieni or GBD demand. Maybe someday Peterson will see fit to restore this fine and richly-deserving shape to production, embodying as it does all the best marks of the classic Peterson house style.

 

 

Many thanks to Steve Dundish
for sharing photos of his 999 collection
and to Al Jones for sharing his passion & knowledge of the shape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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113. Documenting A Killarney Natural 999 John Bull

John Bull 999s are always a cause for celebration to me, and this one especially so, because it’s one of Peterson’s first documented and stamped “Natural” releases—the Killarney Natural, so when I saw this one recently on eBay, I wanted to investigate a little further:

The Killarney line is first mentioned on the Rogers Imports page of the 1949 RDTA catalog, then in the 1951 Genin, Trudeau & Co. catalog. But the first sighting of a 999 John Bull in the line is found in the 1953 Rogers catalog:

As you can see, it was available in both the traditional plum stain we’ve also come to associate with another Rogers line, the Shamrock, but the Killarney also came in a higher, natural grade. What’s fascinating to me is the stinger. I couldn’t draw through the air hole at all, so clogged had it become with tars. When the pipe was on the work bench, my thought was to carefully clean and remove it, then restore it and give it a smoke and experience what it was like to smoke this pipe 70 years ago. I let just the stinger soak in ice water for a spell, hoping that would contract it and make it easier to remove, but had no luck. I thought I was gently turning it with the jeweler’s liars and it just snapped in two. So much for reliving the past!

If you enlarge the picture to full frame on your computer, you can see that the stinger is glued rather than threaded into the traditional graduated-bore P-Lip mouthpiece—interesting, right? (I’m sure Charles Peterson would’ve rolled over in his grave if’d heard about it.)

Also note the “K” stamp. Apart from the oxidized mouthpiece and a bit of scuffing on the rim and light carbon in the bowl, this was an amazingly clean pipe. The stamps on both sides of the shank are among the sharpest I’ve seen in any Peterson.

The MADE IN IRELAND in a circle is indicative both of its being a Rogers Imports pipe (the shape isn’t found in the Canadian GT&C catalog) and being of a better grade. There are a few tiny fills, notably one on the bowl rim, but I think what qualified this bowl for the Killarney Natural line was the fantastic grain.

The Killarney Natural line last appeared in the 1957 Rogers Imports catalog, which makes dating this piece a cinch—it had to appear not much before 1953 and not much later than 1957.

There wasn’t much to the restoration that you haven’t already seen and read about here or on other sites dozens of times. I’m a recent convert to the joys and beauties of natural (un)finished pipes, so while I sanded the bowl with pads from 400 to 12,000 grit, I didn’t follow with carnauba, but with a very, very light coat of olive oil, which I laid on gently with my fingers and rubbed off with a micromesh towel immediately, leaving a soft, smooth matte finish.

I would like to know from other restorationists how you preserve the vulcanite stamping while simultaneously removing oxidation–in other words, how do you keep from sanding it off? And how do you apply a new coat of paint to the letter—in this case, the K. Mine came out pretty well if you look closely at the photo at the very top of the post, but there’s got to be a better method than toothpick, acrylic paint and tissue.

 

NEXT: A Brief History of Peterson’s 999

 

TIN TALK #10: Charles Peterson may not have
used Latin to say it.

 

 

 

 

 

111. Dublin Shapes: A Visual History by Era (1896-2018)

In the past few years I have become enamored with the Irish equivalent of the English billiard—the straight dublin. I have heard some folk cavil against it for one of the very reasons I love it: its v-shaped chamber, which creates a more concentrated flavor as the bowl is smoked to the bottom. In my experience, this type of chamber requires the least number of relights of any bowl geometry and for that reason also trumps the billiard. That it is linked by name with Dublin (and so with Irish smoke) is yet another reason for my affection. Seriously, can you think of any other pipe shapes named for a city? (No, Bull Moose, Minnesota doesn’t count.)

The dublin shape name seems to appear with every other straight shape at the dawn of briar history in the last decades of the 19th century. The name suggests its origins, and you might think it has something to do with the dudeen or clay pipe of Dublin. No, and yes.

No: dudeen, also spelled dudheen, doodeen, and doodheen, is from the Irish Gaelic dūidīn, and is the diminutive of dūd, “pipe,” so that a dudeen is “a short tobacco pipe made of clay,” according to the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. And “Dublin,” of course, is from the Irish dubhlinn (dubh = black and linn = pool). The dublin shape is common among clays, but not specific to the town of Dublin.

Yes: Somehow, quite early in the history of briar pipes, the shape name came to be associated with the town bearing its name.It doesn’t really matter, I suppose, whether it was a name used in an early pipe catalog or a name like the “dutch” billiard coined by servicemen. And if any pipe maker might be said to have proprietary rights to the shape, I’d say it would have to be an Irish maker, wouldn’t you? The Peterson book, incidentally, has some history about the Dublin clay pipe industry in the late 19th century as well as K&P’s own clay System pipes.

(Courtesy Bill Burney)

In the Fall 1998 issue of PipeSMOKE, Jacques Cole, one of the only writers to discuss shape names, writes:

The Dublin is probably the oldest briar pipe shape – like a cone, either slight or extreme – owing its origin directly to clay pipes. The reason for the name is quite obscure and no satisfactory explanation has been found. A variant of the Dublin is the obtuse-angled Zulu (sometimes called Yachtsman or Woodstock) and is made with either a round or an oval shank. A variation with an upright bowl and extreme cone is called a Bell Dublin.*

It’s significant, I think, that Peterson’s very first catalog contained the shape, if not the name. Remember that over the years, Peterson has only rarely added names to their shape numbers, although a few shapes have only had names. It’s also important to understand that Peterson has only attempted a comprehensive catalog of all the shapes in production five times in their long history (1896, 1906, 1947 and 1975/79), and even then omitted some shapes that were produced in such small quantities as to not warrant the printer’s ink. On the other hand, there is every reason to believe that there are a number of shapes that have begun production and then been in the catalog for decades, sometimes since the company’s beginning.

What follows is as comprehensive a visual catalog of Peterson’s dublin shapes as I’m able to present based on the literature at my disposal and the generally poor condition of what Poirot calls my “little gray cells.” This post surveys only the straight dublins, although I would like to document the heeled and bent dublins sometime in the near future.

 PART 1: THE STRAIGHT DUBLINS

 Patent-Era Straight Dublins (1896-1921)

1896 Patent System Dublins

Straight Systems are fascinating pipes, and if you ever get a chance to smoke one, try it. I believe the 120 System re-entered the catalog quite briefly twice, once in the 1950s and then again in the late 1970s. They have three characteristics: they’re very dry; they have shallow bowls (as you can see in the demonstrator photo below), and they ghost easily, much as the current reverse calabashes, and so require care if not devoted to a single type of tobacco or blend.

Pre-1963 Shape 120 Demonstrator

 

1906 Patent System Dublins

By the 1906 catalog, Patent System dublins are represented in only two sizes, shapes 31 and 32. As the 1896 and 1906 catalogs were printed at full scale, by laying a transparency of the 1906 shapes over the 1896, it appears that the 1896 shape 30 is closest in size to the 1906—identical, it looks to me. And the 1906 shape 32 is smaller than the 31, making it the smallest, with the 1896 large shape, the 28, having been discarded.

 

1906 Patent Lip Dublins

Far more important for later generations of smokers was the introduction of the Patent Lip dublin shapes, which with their traditional drilling at the side of the chamber’s floor allow for a conventional chamber size. The largest of the three, the 120, has been in production now for 112 years, but the 121 and 122 were both seen well into the mid-twentieth century.

 

Irish Free State-Era Straight Dublins (1922-1937)

The IFS-Era added two new straight dublins to the 120, 121, and 122: the 120F (“Flat” or oval shank) and slender 417. The System straights seem to have disappeared by this time. The 120F is a natural thought in Peterson’s design language, which always comes back to comfort and practicality, and I can imagine someone in bowl-turning or even a customer thinking how great it would be to set his straight dublin down in order to emphasize a point over a pint.

The first illustration of the 120F seems to be in the1937 “A Chat with the Smoker” pipe-box brochure issued not longer after Peterson opened their London factory. (It may well have been in production before then.) Examples of the shape appear as late as the 1965 catalog and may well have been made for several years after that.

The 417, a small-bowled Dublin with a “bing”-length shank, first appeared in the 1937 catalog, but with two shape numbers: 417 for the Kapet and DeLuxe and 2022 for the “K” and 1st quality. The 2022 number would be dropped by 1945. Like the 120F, the last sighting of the 417 was in the 1965 catalog.

 

Éire Era Straight Dublins (1939-1948)

The Éire Era produced two new dublin shapes. The first was a rarely-seen and gorgeous 935, illustrated here in the US-only Shamrock version created for Rogers Imports, Ltd. The 900 shape numbers are seen only in the 1937 catalog and a tantalizing chart in the 1942 George Yale catalog. As you can see from the average measurements (given at the bottom of this post), the 935 is smaller than the 120.

The other Éire dublin came at the end of the era in the 1947 shape chart as part of “SPORTS” line’s shape 8, a pocket-pipe version of the 120.  This line was created using used popular bowls, then shortening the shanks and mounting them with tiny P-Lips (aside from the original bulldog shape 5). Italian smokers continued to order the “SPORTS” pipes well into the early 21st century and they are still sometimes available in the US.

 

 Late Republic Era Straight Dublins (1969-90)

Peterson created no new variations on the dublin shape for most of the Republic Era (1949-1990), although one magnificent example appeared in 1988 at the very end of the Late Republic-Era as part of the 988-1988 Dublin Millennium pair of commemoratives. It is a unique and aggressive shape with its forward-sloping chamber jutting out like a ship’s prow from the famous Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast. While neither the current nor former factory managers (Joe Kenny and Tony Whelan, Jr.), nor Doris Barrett, could recall a catalog number, the intrepid Jim Frenken spotted the number on a German eBay listing, XL88S. Here’s one of the photos:

 

Dublin Era Straight Dublins (1991-2018)

 Tom Palmer’s Dublin era saw no less than four new dublin shapes as well as a bell dublin and a handful of bent dublins. It is significant that these shapes followed 1988’s Millennium with its almost futuristic or Italian sensibility yet began with the 1995 shape A4 dublin Antique Reproduction. In hindsight, I think Peterson was making a de facto statement about the importance of the dublin shape to its catalog.

The A4 is one of my favorites in Peterson’s dublin group, originally issued as the 1903 Antique Reproduction in the quartet of four shapes from 1995. It was doubtless inspired by an engraving with just this mounting from the 1906 catalog (which you’ll see in the Peterson book).

Peterson’s reproductions are hit-and-miss, sometimes being homages rather than strictly authentic re-creations, sometimes being somewhere in between, and once in a while hitting the target dead center.

As a reproduction, the A4 is a fascinating, even remarkable piece. Folk unfamiliar with Peterson history might easily enough mistake it for the real deal. The thick shank makes it an obvious homage to the shape 31 Patent System seen above [not to be confused with the current-production System 31]. And it scores perfect marks for the high-fidelity S (saddle) Patent-Lip System mouthpiece with its graduated bore and build-in (rather than screw-in) extended tenon seen on mid- and lower-grade Patent Systems. But it’s not a System pipe. Instead, Peterson designed it as what we call in the book a type of “sub-System”—a long-standing Peterson design concept—the graduated bore P-Lip mouthpiece will keep a straight pipe’s air hole much drier, but by forgoing the reservoir, allow for a deeper chamber (20mm x 42mm). And that, in my opinion, is all to the good.

The B16 is the Big One in Peterson’s shape group, the largest of all production dublins, and appropriately so as it honors Tom Crean, the “Irish Giant” who was pictured several times smoking a Peterson dublin. The B16 was issued as part of my all-time favorite Dublin era special collection, the Great Explorers, which came out in 2002.

In 2010, Peterson released its most visually extreme straight dublin shape, the aptly named ‘Wilde’ or B47 from the Writers Collection quartet. The narrow waistline of the bow and cant of the rim gives the shape the quasi-optical illusion of a dublin bell, accentuated by the slightly downturned mouthpiece. It’s still a straight dublin, but it has become much more fluid.

Peterson has always been a bit secretive about who designed what shape. Apart from Charles Peterson’s originals in the 1896 and 1906 catalogs and several Paddy Larrigan originals, only a few shapes can be traced to specific designers, as you’ll see in the Peterson book.

But whoever designed the Titanic centenary collection, released as the Iceberg 1912 quartet, did a remarkable job evoking a maritime feeling. The B57 / Port takes the classic dublin shape and cinches it slightly at the waist. It is almost (but not quite) the same shape as the B47, being a little thicker around the waist and with a straight mouthpiece.

 

Average Measurements and Production Years for a Few Classic Straight Dublins

 Shape 120 Patent Lip Straight Dublin.
Years of production: 1906 – present.
Average Measurements:
Length: 6.16 in./156.46 mm.
Weight: 1.40 oz./39.69 g.
Bowl Height: 1.94 in./49.28 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.63 in./41.40 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.83 in./21.08 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.38 in./35.05 mm.
P-Lip: Yes

Shape 122 Patent Lip Straight Dublin.

Years of production: 1906 – c. 1960
Average Measurements:
Length: 5.5 in. / 139.7 mm.
Weight: .095 oz. / 27.7 g.
Bowl Height: 1.78 in. / 45.29 mm.
Chamber Depth:  1.527 in. / 38.80 mm.
Chamber Diameter:  0.734 in.  / 18.65 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.226 in. / 31.15 mm.
P-Lip: Yes

Shape 120F (flat shank) P-Lip Straight Dublin.
Years of production: 1937 – c. 1965
Average Measurements:
Length: 6.03 in./153.16 mm.
Weight: 1.10 oz./31.18 g.
Bowl Height: 1.86 in./47.24 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.61 in./40.89 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.75 in./19.05 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.33 in./33.78 mm.
P-Lip: Yes

Shape 417 Straight Dublin.
Years of production: 1937 – 1965
Average Measurements:
Length: 6.21 in./157.73 mm.
Weight: 1.00 oz./28.35 g.
Bowl Height: 1.74 in./44.20 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.57 in./39.88 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.67 in./17.02 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.24 in./31.50 mm.
P-Lip: Yes

Shape 935 Straight Dublin.
Years of Production: 1938- c. 1945
Average Measurements:
Length: 6.25 in. / 158.75 mm.
Weight: 1.40 oz. / 40 gr.
Bowl Height: 1.75 in. / 44.45 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.375 in. / 34.925 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.75 in. /19.05 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.325 in./ 33.65 mm.
P-Lip: Yes

Shape Millennium Dublin (1988).
Year of production: 1988
[One of the set of two pipes released in celebration of the 988-1988 Dublin Millennium]
Average Measurements:
Length: 6.26 in./159.00 mm.
Weight: 1.80 oz./51.03 g.
Bowl Height: 2.04 in./51.82 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.67 in./42.42 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.82 in./20.83 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.55 in./39.37 mm.
Stem Material: Vulcanite
P-Lip: Yes

Shape A4 / 1903 Antique Reproduction
Years of Production: 1995 – c. 1998
Average Measurements:
Length: 140 mm / 5.46 in
Weight: 47 gr / 1.64 oz
Bowl Height: 49 mm / 1.92 in
Outside Diameter: 34 mm / 1.32 in
Chamber Diameter: 20 mm / 0.78 in
Chamber Depth: 42 mm / 1.64 in
P-Lip: Yes

Shape B16, Great Explorers Crean
Years of Production: 2002 – c. 2006
Average Measurements:
Length: 5.63 in./143.00 mm.
Weight: 2.00 oz./56.70 g.
Bowl Height: 2.06 in./52.32 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.70 in./43.18 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.84 in./21.34 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.58 in./40.13 mm.
P-Lip: No (aside from a few sets through Lubinski.it in Italy)

Shape B47, Writers Collection Oscar Wilde
Years of Production: 2010 – c. 2014
Average 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.
P-Lip: No

Shape B57, Iceberg 1912 Port
Years of Production: 2012 – c. 2016
Average Measurements:
Length: 5.71 in / 145 mm
Weight: 1.92 oz / 54.4 gr
Bowl height: 2.17 in / 55 mm
Chamber Depth: 1.73 in / 44 mm
Chamber Diameter:  0.79 in / 20 mm
Outside Diameter: 1.61 in / 41 mm
P-Lip: No

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*From “PipeSMOKE’s Guide to Pipe Shapes and Styles,” Vol. II, Issue 2, Fall 1998. This was on-line a few years back, but doesn’t seem to be available any longer. Cole’s article was taken from a chapbook he wrote, Briar Pipe Shapes and Styles: Pipe Line Guide No. 1 (Park Hill Publications, 1990), 38ppgs. Gene Umberger kindly forwarded me the entry for “Dublin,” which appears on p. 8:

 

“The DUBLIN is most probably the oldest Briar shape, owing its origins to the traditional shape of the simple Clay Pipes. Some of the earlier Dublins were found also with the ‘heel” under the bowl. Modern conditions are not encouraging for the maker to turn this type and the Dublin has had its ‘ups and downs’ in popularity. Between the last Wars, it virtually disappeared from some catalogues. In Western Germany, after 1945, pipes were small to contend with the shortage of tobacco, but when larger shapes began to be once more required, the DUBLIN was one of the first to be asked for. You will find a number of derivations centered on the stem, and the most popular of these is perhaps the ZULU, sometimes called YACHTSMAN. Usually produced with an oval stem, it is also made with a round shank. A fairly long ‘all-square’ can be rather pleasing.”

 

** Joe’s opinion was confirmed by Doris Barrett in shipping and Tony Whelan, Jr., retired factory director. Email to Mark Irwin, 24 October 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

109. The 124: A Short History of a Small Pencil-Shank Shape

This is the short story of a small, pencil-shanked shape that’s peculiarly Irish yet rarely seen, even in the Peterson catalog. The shape’s name seems to depend on what type of stem is attached to the end of the bowl—zulu, churchwarden or dublin.

1947 Shape Chart Detail

After World War II, or “The Emergency” as it was known in Ireland, Peterson re-established their trade ties and, like other pipe-makers, found the demand for their pipes even greater than it had been seven years before. At some level of consciousness in the Irish spirit there was a nostalgia for something older and more secure, something that spoke of home, stillness, and rest.

Charles Peterson’s favorite Oversize house pipes, with their 7 and 12-inch mouthpieces, were a thing of distant memory. The smaller-bowled straight “reading pipes” of the Patent Era, which also symbolized a leisurely evening’s smoke at home, were also forgotten.  But the ache for what they represented must have returned, eventuating in Peterson’s first batch of Specialty Briars “church wardens,” illustrated in the 1945 catalog and 1947 shape chart with the iconic 124, which Peterson dubbed a “dublin.”

1965 Shape Chart Detail

The 124 disappeared from the company’s literature for 20 years, until the mid-1960s, when it reappeared with a 6.25-inch mouthpiece and 1/8th bend, making it (at least technically) a zulu shape. It’s interesting that it reappeared at a time of great social unrest, a time characterized in part by a renewed interested in the mythological, the spiritual and the mythopoeic: hashtag Joseph Campbell, Martin Luther King, J. R. R. Tolkien.

1983 Rustic Churchwarden 124

Following a now-familiar pattern, the 124 again disappeared for another twenty years. It resurfaced in 1983’s catalog as a churchwarden. While it was not listed in the Classic Range chart from the same catalog, it made an appearance in the Shamrock line, as documented in the beautiful pipe, box, and papers that came across my desk not long ago.

What made the particular 124 seen above so much easier to date was the matching box and “Chat with a Smoker” brochure, which can be dated to 1983 according to p. 359 of The Peterson Pipe: The Story of Kapp & Peterson. [Yup, the book’s done and at the printer’s.]

For those interested in such plumbing devices, it is interesting to document that this 1983 pipe had a “stinger,” a pointed, aluminum tube that easily slides in and out and seems to have been extensively used by generations of pipemen before mine, then promptly forgot. (If you have experience using such devices, what’s your experience with them?)

A little over a decade later, the shape made another “nostalgia” appearance in the 1996 Old English Collection, Peterson’s most elaborate set in the Dublin Era (1991–2018), albeit with a shorter and not (to my mind) quite so compelling mouthpiece. I haven’t a clue as to what the shape name might be here: “pencil-shank dublin”? The bowl has a slight cone, which makes “dublin” seem correct. But the stem is also slightly bent, and the overall effect just isn’t stout enough in my mind to qualify it for dublin status.

And that’s the end of the story, at least as far as the pencil-shank version of the 124 goes. The shape was re-frased (reshaped) with a thicker shank and a different bend (again, I have no idea what the shape name might be) for the Outdoor Sportsman line of nose-warmer shapes in 2011. It has afterwards appeared in a number of lines: the Craftsman Series for January 2016, the churchwarden line (of course), the 2016 Short Classics, and doubtless a few others.

1983 Shamrock 124 Measurements:

Length: 6.25 in. / 158.75 mm.
Weight: 0.90 oz. / 25 gr.
Bowl Height: 1.92 in. / 48.80 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.62 in. / 41.33 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.71 in. / 18.05 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.18 in./ 30.00 mm.

 

2018 Outdoor Natural 124 Measurements:

Length: 4.51 in. / 114.55 mm.
Weight: 0.80 oz. / 22.68 g.
Bowl Height: 1.90 in. / 48.26 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.63 in. / 41.40 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.75 in. / 19.05 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.13 in. / 28.70 mm.

 

Tin Talk #8: Paradigm Shift (“Fight the Good Fight”)