Friday, 29 October 2010

The Peterson Spigot

The Peterson Spigot is characterised by a sterling silver covering on the tapered end of the mouthpiece which compliments the sterling silver band of the pipe. The Spigot style evolved from the practice of soldiers in earlier centuries who repaired broken pipes by sliding a used cartridge case over the shank and reinserting the mouthpiece. In this unique spigot finished pipe, Peterson craftsmanship perfect the union of finest quality briar and precious metals. The silver or gold is spun to shape and then fitted to the pipe".
The spigot allows the pipe to be taken apart while still hot and stored away quickly,there is little if any problems with expansion.

Rather than being useful to me on the battlefield,my take is purely its aesthetic appeal. As an obsessive Peterson nut,I have to be very careful when viewing certain on line Pipe sites.
I am very weak and succumb easily to beautiful silverware. I spotted this 'Red' B11 Silver Spigot and just could not help myself. I am doomed.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Hidden Treasure.

I recently had some luck on e-bay,when spotting this fine example of a Peterson's Patent. It comes with it's original factory fitted case, and features a rare factory amber stem. The amber is in perfect condition and still has it's bone fitting on the inboard side of the stem. It is a 1901 birth date, having been lightly smoked and well cared for it is in beautiful condition. Both briar and amber are in excellent condition. A group 4 sized pipe, the dimensions are as follows: The overall length is 5-1/2 inches, the bowl height is 1-3/4 inches and the inside diameter of the bowl is 3/4 of an inch. The stamping is very clear, and complete, it reads as follows: The briar is marked Peterson's Patent, and the silver carries the Dublin Hallmarks for 1901-2' K&P and Peterson's Patent. I consider this a fine historic piece, of Museum quality.

Monday, 25 October 2010

International Peterson Pipe Collector/Smokers Club?

International Peterson Pipe Collector/Smokers Club?

With the demise of the official Peterson Smokers guild,what interest if any would there be to the formation of such an international group.
In response to  any substantial demand, it may be that we could create an exclusive  club for smokers and  connoisseurs  who appreciate the  standards of  craftsmanship and  quality which  distinguish the  Peterson brand.

What do you think,is it feasible. Would you join, what would you wish from it?
Please give your thoughts,for or against.Thank you.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Peterson Link to Pipedia.

Links to Pipedia.

Most of you regular Blog followers will be aware of that great pipe web source, Pipedia.
 Pipedia has the potential to be an even greater resource. The site is constantly upgrading and evolving with historical and current information about the entire scope of the world of tobacco pipes.
The current specialist Peterson page, has been attempting to accumulate and publish articles on the pipes origins and history. Until now the main page was fairly lean on Peterson facts and meaningful historical material.
I was invited by the site's custodian Scott Thile,to contribute to the Peterson pages. I was very flattered to be asked and gratefully accepted the opportunity to add to the pages development.
Following discussion with Scott it was decided to publish my paper titled “An Introduction to the Peterson Pipe”.The paper is really a compilation of most of the facts and interesting material which I had previously used in this Blog,drawing it together in a more compact readable form, suitable for purpose.
I hope you will enjoy the paper,it is a work in progress.

The site can be accessed from the blog links column on the right side of this page.

Monday, 18 October 2010

New Peterson 2010 Catalogue

The New Peterson 2010 Catalogue.

 Peterson staff at the Sallynoggin factory,Dublin.

You will see that I have added a new link to the new Peterson 2010 Catalogue on the links column on the right side of the Blog page.
This is a welcome addition to the Peterson literature and is very professionally done .Good detailed photos of Petersons comprehensive selection of pipes and tobacco products.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Pipe Focus - The New Mark Twain Collection

The New Mark Twain Collection -

The New Mark Twain Collection -

Since the issue of the original Mark Twain series of pipes in the 1980's, Peterson's became victims of their own success and were constantly under pressure from world-wide collectors to resurrect that successful series. The original pipes gained a cult following, mainly on the back of the Mark Twain legend, plus their handsome looks and excellent smoking qualities. In recent months Peterson's has issued a twin pipe set in honour of Mark Twain and to commemorate the 100 years since the great man's passing in 1910.

The first pipe in the two pipe boxed set is a smooth bent with a P-lip similar to the first issue pipe of the 80's. The second pipe in the set is a poker shape with a fishtail stem, related to the Corn cob pipe that Huckleberry Finn used to smoke. The pipes are available in four finishes, Smooth, Sandblast, Rustic and Ebony.

Samuel L Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. One of Americas most famous authors, had a very sharp wit, he was socio-critical, had a great analytical mind - and was an enthusiastic pipe smoker.
Ernest Hemingway, another great author said of him: “All of American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn - There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.”

I have a fair size collection of the original bent Mark Twain's (13) and was particularly interested in comparing these two new pipes, in this latest collection, to be given the honour of his name.
I recently took delivery of a pair of new boxed MT smooth pipes, photo below.
Having had the opportunity to put the pipes through their paces since arriving, I feel that I can now give a reasonable review and assessment of them.

On closer inspection the pipes are quite stunning to look at and in my opinion a great match of the original MT shape. Coupled with a rare choice of poker shape from Peterson, to tie-in with the Hucklberry Finn storyline.
Size: Large. I would even suggest that the new issue bent is marginally bigger than the older, original ones. The Poker too, is a large pipe.

Design: A full bent, the classic Peterson shape, designed to hang comfortably from the mouth and a large tactile straight Poker for southern comfort! Just like a big cob.

Aesthetics: Absolutely gorgeous, both have the elegant classic Peterson lines.

Fit/Finish: P-lip tapered stem,with hallmarked silver collar in the bent and fishtail stem for the poker. Available in choices of smooth,sandblast and rustic finish.
The shiny finish and colouring of the smooth has proven to be somewhat controversial with some collectors/smokers .Personally I do not entirely agree with the criticisms which have been made, in respect of this. I am willing to give it time and quite like the new finish. Of course to those who do not like the smooths, there is always an alternative choice from the other finishes that are available.

Engineering: Typical Deluxe system quality,with none of the fills and spills in evidence in the lower entry Petersons.

Smoking Qualities: Legendary high quality with good draw and excellent smoking,particularly with Virginia and flake blends. Peterson at it's best.

Cost : around $350 - $450 plus, depending on which finish.

Availability: After initial production and distribution hiccups, they are now widely available throughout Europe and North America.

Sandpipers score rating 9.5 out of 10, nearly perfect!
If customers had been given more choices , particularly in alternative smooth finishes and not had the Poker imposed along with the bent as a set, it would have been the magic 10 score. I still think that if they were good enough for old Samuel,they are sure nuff good for me,the Legend lives on. 

Here is my new MT bent. 

The new MT Poker.

Monday, 11 October 2010

“The Wearing of the Green”

The Wearing of the Green” and other shiny colours.

I have noticed recently that Peterson seem to be producing quite a few more pipes with coloured stained shiny lacquered finishes. I realise that they have been doing so, albeit on a much smaller scale, for the past few years. The Kinsale series being a prime example.
As with some of the other idiosyncratic decisions in Peterson's production,it has brought about a mixed reaction from traditional Peterson pipe smokers. Some appear to think that coatings/stains like these, impair both the pipes looks and functionality(overheating).Others myself included,have not experienced any great problem and I own quite a few.
I am sure that the questions of the engineering and bowl Physics involved in bowl coating could be argued ad-nauseum. Coupled to personal smoking pace, style,draw,cake build up. There are many factors to consider before laying the blame at a cosmetic enhancement.
To my mind such pipes should be for occasional smoking and maybe the subject of collection as variants to a main collection. To smoke them as main rotation pipes could accelerate both deterioration and dulling of the coating over a period of time.

Some examples would be such series variants as:-
St Patrick's Day
Green Spray
Racing Green
Irish Sea

Here is an example of a Green Spray X220 Silver Spigot which I have just purchased.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Pipe Focus – Peterson Rosslare series.

Pipe Focus – Peterson Rosslare series.

Todays pipe under the spotlight is the spectacular and unmistakable Peterson Rosslare series.

Clearly identified by the bright sterling silver mount at the end of the shank and on the stem and the yellow-gold variegated faux amber acrylic stem, all combining to create a striking and unique composition especially in the black sandblast contrast.

There are two finishes in the series,the basic Classic, priced around $115 and the higher grade Royal Irish at around $150.

Peterson claim that “Only about 5% of our bowls are good enough to make this selection of pipes. These special pipes, all of which are silver mounted, are rare and a limited number are available each year. Shapes can vary depending on availability of suitable raw materials”.Not so sure about the accuracy of some of that sales pitch,especially the rarity. I have never had any difficulty sourcing them. Most B& M's and e-retailers have them in stock, or can source them fairly quickly.

I have found that there is a clear dichotomy of opinion on the views of pipe smokers on the Rosslare series,they either love em or loath them. Some find the orange/yellow Acrylic stem a bit OTT.
Personally I love them and would give them a score of 8.5 out of 10.

Here are a few examples.First one,a favourite an XL02 sandblast.

Next is the very popular 999 shape Royal Irish.

A gorgeous B11 shape Royal Irish.

Another beautiful sandblast,this one a 606 Royal Irish.

Finally the beautiful  'Smokers Forum' year pipe 2009.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Pipe Focus - The XL 23 shape.

Pipe Focus - The XL 23 shape.

The pipe shape we are about to review has a great popular following throughout the pipe smoking world. Particularly if you are a dangler and /or a clencher.
The distinctive XL23 shape is a large ball or apple shaped bowl, with an almost full bent configuration. Originally from the "Le Strade" of the Return of Sherlock Holmes series, the XL23 design, in essence is an extra large rounded ball,similar to the 02s and the 302, with a sharply curved bent stem. Sometimes erroneously referred to as an Oom Paul shape. Although almost a full bent,It lacks the 90 degree angle and is not a stack shaped billiard.
The following photos show the wonderful variety that there is in this distinctive shape,a real favourite of mine.
As well as the original version from the Return of Sherlock Holmes (above).
The first one is a beautiful straight grain.

Next is a gorgeous Red silver spigot.

Another spigot,this time a green one.

This one is a Sandblast Lestrade with a saddle stem.

This is also a Sandblast, but this one with a tapered stem.

Next one is a magnificent Gold supreme.Oh my!

Finally my unique Silver Lestrade.My pride and joy!

I hope you have enjoyed viewing these beautiful pipes.I have found that the examples which I have satisfy me on several fronts.
The are very tactile,look superb and all are good, to very good smokers.Of course I am a bit biased in that respect.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Hungarian/ Oom Paul shapes.

Peterson Hungarian/ Oom Paul shapes.

To explain the 'Oom Paul' label, it was a designation given to a 19th century South African politician named Paul Kruger, their first President. He smoked a pipe shaped similar to what's called the Oom Paul or Hungarian today. 'Oom' in Afrikaans, means uncle.

 Many prefer the term Hungarian over Oom Paul, since the pipe's history is more appealing than the history of the man, with it's connotations of racism and association  with apartheid.

The Oom Paul is a very distinctive pipe shape, with the chimney stack bowl on the true Hungarians, being almost parallel with the stem. It appears to be one of those shapes that has as many detractors as followers. Personally, I love them, being a sucker for any full bent shape(except the Cavalier).

A full-bent Oom Paul pipe.
Such pipes are usually described by the fraction of 90 degrees they depart from being a straight.
Very few pipes are/have true 90 degree bends, and are generally wrongly listed as Oom Pauls or Hungarians. Others are extremely deeply bent billiard-bowled pipes.Some Petes such as the XL23 shaped Le Strade, are often wrongly referred to as being Oom Pauls. Here are some examples of some of my true ones.

My favourite Oom Pauls,top gold Millennium (unsmoked),centre 1946 Pre republic,last Shamrock 1938.
As a clenchers pipe, they are terrific. Often criticised for not passing the pipe cleaner test,I have overcome any such problem by using fine Falcon pipe cleaners which pass without any problems.
They are amongst my favourite smoking pipes, great pipes for a long reading session with a favourite book.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Tricky or a Treat?

Tricky or a Treat?

The Samhain Series of Pipes.

With the imminent onset of Halloween,I am reminded that last year, I purchased one of a new, reasonably priced series of 'entry level' Pete's, called the Samhain, just to see what the quality was like and whether they smoked well. I was particularly drawn to and liked, the X220B tapered stem version, which looks very similar to the new Mark Twain series.

The night of Samhain, in Irish, Oiche Shamhana, is one of the principal festivals of the Celtic calendar and falls on the 31st of October. It represents the final harvest. It is custom in some areas to set a place for the dead at the Samhain feast and tell tales of the ancestors on that night.

In early Ireland people gathered at the ritual centres of the tribes, for Samhain was the principle calendar feast of the year. The greatest assembly was the “The feast of Taka”, focusing on the seat of the High King as the heart of the sacred  land,the point of conception for the new year. In every household throughout the country, hearth fires were extinguished . All waited for the Druids to light the new fire of the year – not at Tara, but at Tlachtga , a hill twelve miles to the north-west ,it marked the burial place of Tlachtga , daughter of the great druid Mogh Ruith, who may once have been a goddess in her own right in a former age.

This 221 bent billiard shape with saddle stem is a fine example of the Samhain series,it is such a typical Peterson shape. The Samhain series, which recognizes Halloween and the Celtic festival that celebrates the onset of winter and a new year. The series, nickel-banded and stamped with a witch on a broom, is stained to an appropriate glossy black-and-orange finish. It is appropriate just as we begin to consider Halloween. They are in my opinion, very competitively priced at around $89.

Samhain 221 saddle fishtail.

Here is another fine example, an A1 bulldog shape.

I would highly recommend this very good series of pipes,particularly to any new pipesters as they are very competitively priced, smoke well and are very handsome. Only downside is whether you can live with that glossy finish,I could not fault them otherwise.