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.


  1. I like mt black sandblast set also. My only complaint, if you can call it that, is the Poker tends to smoke a little hot until it develope some cake.

  2. I've been waiting to get your take on the new MT, Jim. Thanks for your most excellent and informative review.