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.






26. A Look at the Peterson D Shapes

A few weeks ago Dave Beaven contacted me about an estate Pete he’d just received—the D7 pictured below—and asked if I knew anything about it. You probably know that my co-author Gary Malmberg and I are supposed to be done with the text for The Peterson Pipe: The Kapp & Peterson Story and now be working on the illustration packaging. Well, we are. Mostly. But Dave’s question set off some bells, and I got to thinking that I’d never set down anything about the history of the five Peterson shape groups. Oops. Our publisher will, I’m sure, be pleased to know I’ve rectified that situation.

In the meantime, while I can’t give you the copy I wrote on the D shapes, there’s nothing to stop me from sharing a visual encyclopedia of them and give you a few hints about them, as well as point you in directions you may be able to still find them, since most of them are no longer being made. They’re a vanishing breed, so if you see one you like, now’s probably the best time to think about adding it to the herd.

You’ll notice there’s no D10. I don’t know whether this was because Peterson skipped over the number (which sometimes causes confusion when there’s a “1”), or whether I was simply unable to source one.

Most of the best places to look for D shapes are going to be in Europe (1st hint). And there’s a country there that begins with the letter “D” (2nd hint). The shape group could therefore be called traditional fill in the blank.” D shapes began appearing in the mid 1990s, but aside from their occasional appearance in the Outdoor Series and the new Churchwardens, they have disappeared from the catalog and won’t be coming back according to reliable sources.

01 D1 KillarneyD1 (Killarney)

01a D1 Outdoor series
D1 (Outdoor)

02 D2 Supreme
D2 (Supreme)

03 D3 St Patricks day 1st year
D3 (St. Patrick’s Day 1998)

04 D4 Kapp Royal
D4 (Kapp-Royal)

05 D5 Aran
D 5 (Unmounted Aran)

06 D6 Dublin Silver
D6 (Dublin Silver)

06a D6 Smooth
D6 (Outdoor)

07 D7
D7 (Sterling)

08 D8
D8 (Dublin Silver)

09 D9 Irish Made Army
D9 (Irish Made Army)

11 D11 Killarney obverse
D11 (Killarney)

12 D12 Kapet
D12 (Kapet)

13 D13 Sterling
D13 (Sterling Silver)

14 D14 Special Edition Donegal
D14 (Special Edition Donegal)

15 D15
D15 (Churchwarden 2015)
16 D16 Churchwarden
D16 (Churchwarden 2015)

17 D17 Churchwarden
D17 (Churchwarden 2015)

If you know an e-tailer with D shapes still in stock, let me know. In the meantime, here’s a few places you might look:





Ebay also has a Kapp Royal D6 (as of 7/4/15, anyway)—item #351200097421.

Good hunting!