Thursday, 27 January 2011

Dating Headache!

Dating headaches!

As most followers who have older Pre-Republic Petes in their collection will be aware,the dating of them can either be a pleasant experience or a real pain in the head.
It is all part of the unique Peterson ownership experience! When in doubt, study my late, great, old friend Mike Leverette's marvellous reference work, The Peterson Pipe Project, “A Peterson Dating Guide; A Rule of Thumb.”
Unfortunately the Peterson historical records are not very good for the Pre Republic period. So Mike's great reference piece is invaluable to collectors.

I recently started to focus on doing some long overdue cataloguing on my older Pets's. One of these is a very good lightly smoked 1928 made in Ireland 356.System 3. Photo below.

The "Made in Ireland" block format evident on this pipe can be a headache in dating Peterson pipes, since this same stamp was used in the late Patent Era as well as the late 1940s. So for a guide we must take into consideration the style of lettering Peterson used on their pipes. From the start of the Patent Era until somewhere in the early 1930s, Peterson used the "Old Style" lettering that used a forked tail "P" in Peterson. Fortunately this one had a hallmark (n)on the silver collar dating it to 1928.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

The International Peterson Pipe Club.

The International Peterson Pipe Club.

 I thought it would be appropriate to let the blog follower's know that the newly formed International Peterson Pipe Club is progressing well.
We now have nearly seventy members registered from all over the world.
As can be seen we now have the club banner and Logo which allows us to give the club greater publicity, throughout the various media and internet resources available, to International pipe enthusiasts.
The club has already been recognised by Peterson of Dublin who have listed the club on their website, as a replacement and alternative, for the former Peterson Smokers Guild.

So to those who have never known or visited the Club ,please feel free to drop in and join us in my favourite pastime,discussing all things Peterson.
Here is the link to the site:-

Please click on the I.P.P.C link in the Links column on right side of the page.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Pipe focus - Dunmore B11

Pipe focus - Dunmore B11.

I am currently suffering from B11 shape fever! I just cannot get enough of that unique, bent brandy shape,Peterson do it so well. It is so bad, that I now have around 10 pipes of that shape.
Well here is the latest addition,a rare Dunmore.It's rare because it appears to be only on sale in the European market and not available elsewhere?I would imagine that is because of the 9mm filter, which appears to be a particular favourite with the German sales.
I managed to source this one from that fine German e-tailer Andreas Harm, at Esterval's pipe shop.I just could not pass on both its good looks and its price of $85.
Well the pipe duly arrived and has not disappointed,I was expecting a much lower quality of briar and finish for that price.It is quite a bargain and I would highly recommend them for value for money.The one I have has an acrylic large bore fishtail stem with the filter removed.It has an excellent draw.To early to comment on its long term smoking qualities,but hey! for that money it has got to be a good deal.Here are a couple of photo shots.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Darwin - Sub Species?

 Darwin - Sub Species?

Peterson never fail to amaze me with their diversity of Pipe issues.I am a great fan of the Darwin series and currently have seven different variants within my collection.What is the big deal you might think,well it is this,Peterson only officially issued four variants in the series.It all surrounds the new B42 bowl shape.
To complicate the situation further,I have just discovered another variant.This one however is not being sold as a Darwin, but as a Rock of Cashel?No publicity ,no prior announcement.It has a Cumberland stem.A very nice alternative. Here are a couple of photos.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

“Jim's notes from the Pete Bog” 3.

Jim's notes from the Pete Bog” 3.

Welcome to my latest edition of new 'Notes from the Pete Bog'. I hope you enjoy the experience.
These frequent brief notes are my personal ramblings,musings,anecdotes,news items and stuff. Primarily intended as a light-hearted look at all things Celtic. Mixed in with pipe/tobacco and general interesting related topics, which may be of interest to you Pete Nuts.
Health warning, not to be taken too seriously!

Scotland – In the bleak mid-winter.
This Winter has been particularly cold here in Scotland,in fact I believe it has been the coldest since records began,starting with heavy snow in November.
It is funny how ones attitude to heavy snow changes over the years,particularly with age! As a kid it was a big adventure to wake up and look out onto snowy landscapes,with the thought of all the potential adventures that it brought. Even in our early days, when my wife and I had our two boys as youngsters, it created great excitement and anticipation. With all of us joining in, both in the work of clearing paths,driveways and yards around the house. Then moving on to the recreational bonus that it brought, with sledging,snowball fights,snow angel creation, building igloos and snowmen. How times and age have changed such joys.
Now I look forward to balmy summer days ,sitting in the garden watching my Chickens and Dogs, smoking a favourite pipe and tobacco blend.

Bog factoid (a note or article of general interest ).-

As most of you know I am a great fan of Mark Twain and in particular the Peterson series of pipes named after him. I am constantly trawling the web for interesting related photos and material. Here is a copy of an old photo of the great man . Now you may think that it is very similar to many others that you have seen before. However take a closer look at the pipe he is smoking,it was not his usual Deluxe one that has become the model for all the modern replicas. It is a basic,bog standard system Pete. Good to know he was really into Petes of all types.

This is a link to show that there was an earlier Peterson Pipe Club back in the 1950s-60s.
It is a photo of an enamel stick-pin badge. showing the club logo. I remember seeing an example recently for sale on e-bay. It might be a worthwhile thing to resurrect for the new International Peterson Pipe Club ?

Meerschaum, thing with amber tip,
Clutched between the dreamer's lip,
Fragrant odors from thy bowl
Mingling with the dreamer's soul;
Curling wreaths of smoke ascending,
Comfort sweet with incense blending.
Joy and peace and solace sending
To the dreamer's heart.
Fashioned like a satyr's head,
Crowned with fire, glowing red,
Quaintly carved and softly sleek
As Afric maiden's downy cheek.
Comrade of each idle hour
In forest shade or leafy bower;
Lotus-eaters from thy power
Ne'er can break apart.
Darkly colored from long use
With tobacco's balmy juice
From snowy white to ebon turned
By the incense daily burned.
Laid at night within thy case
Of velvet soft—thy resting place—
Whence with leering, stained face
Daily thou must start,—
To soothe the dreamer's every care,
To glow and burn and fill the air
With thy curling perfume rare:
As thou charmest gloom away,
With the dreamer rest for aye
Friend of youth, and manhood ripe
All hail to thee, thou meerschaum pipe!
New Orleans Times Democrat.

Useful Things

As usual, I was browsing the Alpascia site, (Warning - abandon all hope all ye who enter!)Going through the pipe accessories I spotted Italian leather Gilets for pipes.Now to a Celtic barbarian this was a new concept to me, I had never seen these before.
There is an interesting video to enlighten one. Please click on the link below.

Well I hope you enjoyed this issue of my musings. Please look out for the next edition of 'notes from the Pete Bog' and to all of you loyal blog followers, Lang may yer Lum reek”, an old Scot's farewell greeting, which in essence, hoped that the person receiving the greeting, always had smoke coming from their house chimney fire and enjoyed a long life.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Strange Beauty

Strange Beauty.
As regular followers of the Blog know,I am always on the lookout for the strange and quirky for my collection. My latest Pete acquisition from Brucciani is a real strange one. It is a large full bent Army Silver Spigot with very little informative stamps,other than Peterson .No shape number and no hall-markings on the silverware.I would think that the nearest shape would be a 69,as it is very similar.
The main feature of this pipe however is the marvellous Celtic scroll work in evidence,it is simply exquisite.Judge for yourselves,here from the attached photos.


Further to the above,Nicola has commented below, that this pipe is from the 'Black and White' series .I have copied an illustration and quote from the marvellous Cup O'Joes site which shows this series and provides a description.

Peterson Black and White Silver Spigot #68


Peterson Highgrade Pipe Smooth polished Black & White finish. Multiple applications of different color stain produce a stunning contrast, highlighting the beautiful grain on these pipes. Sterling Silver Spigot. Fishtail mouthpiece. Made in Ireland. Squares are 1" by 1"

I do not think that the original oddball pipe is a 'Black and White' Nicola,the Celtic Scroll work is similar.However I believe that the black and white reference for bowl staining is different to the original pipe, it is a natural finish.
I have subsequently been informed by Brucciani that this was one of several one-off high grade pipes done purely for show and sale at Trade shows.
Nicola , many thanks for your interesting comparison,good to see a lady enthusiast following the Blog.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Pipe Focus-The 7 Sherlock Holmes 'The Return of ' pipes

Pipe Focus-The 7 Sherlock Holmes 'The Return of ' pipes.

Regular Blog followers will recollect that I had previously reviewed the first Sherlock Holmes issue of seven pipes,'The Original Collection',back in September.Here is the second issue for review,'The Return Of'.

Please appreciate that my comments are my personal opinion and may not be representative of opinions, held by others. It is based on many years ownership and experience of smoking the complete Sherlock Holmes series. It is so easy to be drawn into the romance and mystique of such a well known issue of pipes and to lose the subjective focus,so here are my thoughts on this iconic series of Peterson pipes,warts and all. To facilitate my personal thoughts,I have scored each pipe from 0-10 on a quality,functionality, value and aesthetics scale.
In general terms I find the Sherlock Holmes series very appealing to the eye,but disappoints by failing in quality control and value for money. I would suggest that there is room for improvement in both the quality of finish and basic engineering, to make these much improved smoking pipes.

The second issue was called 'The Return of' - and was based on the success of 'the Original',with seven additional new shapes and dedicated wooden rack being created. All similar to the first issue,with XL bowl sizes and similar sterling silver bands with the SH stamp.

The first pipe in the 'Return' series was 'The Rathbone'- a large elegant bent, with a large stack bowl. In honour of the actor who played Holmes in the old black and white pictures of the nineteen thirties and forties. This is shape XL20.A great comfortable bent shape with a good draw. Scoring a solid 8.

Next pipe is 'The Hudson' – a large quarter bent Bulldog. A great classic bulldog shape that smokes as well as it looks. This is shape XL21. I would score this one 7.5 .

Third is 'The Mycroft' - named after Holmes's brother. A classy elegant Horn shape that is an excellent smoker. This is Peterson shape XL22.Scoring a good 8 on the scale.

The fourth pipe in the series 'The Lestrade' - is my personal favourite of all of the Sherlock Holmes series. This is the instantly recognisable, full-bent apple shape XL23. It is the quintessential dangler/clench-er pipe. It is equally tactile in the hand when not dangling,in this form I prefer it with a tapered fishtail stem to maximise the draw and smoking pleasure. Being a wee bit biased in regard to this one, I have to give it a very worthy 9 score.

Next is 'The Milverton' – a large full bent with an angular stem .Peterson shape XL24.I have to admit, it is not one of my favourites. I just do not like the angular stem. In terms of smoking it is average by me. I would rate it a 7 on the scale.

Number six is 'The Strand' – a quarter bent apple, it is Peterson shape XL25.To my mind a very pleasing elegant flowing shape. Very tactile for a straighter stemmed pipe and an excellent smoker.
I would score this one a credible 8.5 on the scale.

Finally, the last of the seven is 'The Hansom' – a shape I just cannot warm to. I find it seriously wanting in regard to it's aesthetic appeal. A bent Rhodesian, Peterson shape XL26.I only have one to complete the collection. I find it neither pleasing to hold, or to look at. Others may feel differently,I can only award it a 7.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Reflections of the year past and hopes for the new one.

Reflections of the year past and hopes for the new one.

Being an old sucker for nostalgia, I find that this time of the year, is the prime time for both contemplation and reflection. So please excuse me while I light up a pipe for the contemplation and reflection process to work. Ah! that is better ,some University Flake in a Pete Tankard.

OK, let me see now,this blog took life around six months ago. Since its inception, it has gone from strength to strength. We are according to the daily hit counter fast approaching 8000 visitor hits,with an ever increasing average. I find this quite remarkable, that so many returning visitors obviously enjoy reading my idiosyncratic ramblings and musings on Peterson pipes. I take it as a great compliment and hope to continue doing so for a few years to come,God and good health willing.
As some of you may know, I am disabled through Arthritis and find that I am pretty much limited to my house environs. My obsession for all things Peterson allows me to meet other Pete Nuts and make friends with similar interests from all over the globe,using my trusty computer.
If I were to look back over the short period of the last six months, a heck of a lot has taken place that I find most fulfilling and satisfying. The highlights would include not only the launch of this blog,but also the Invitation for me to take up the mantle of telling the Peterson story on Pipedia and the publication of my work on 'The Peterson Chronicles', that is a real labour of love of which I am extremely proud and which still requires constant updating.
I also would mention the launch of the International Peterson Pipe Club in partnership with my great friend Chuck Wright. Again this is proving a worthwhile venture and is much appreciated and very popular with true Pete Nuts.

In looking now to the future I hope that the various Peterson forums and initiatives continue to provide enlightenment and satisfaction to those who seek to increase their knowledge of the Peterson Pipe and its history.
As an observer with an outsiders interest in the production of the modern Peterson range of pipes,I would hope that Mr Tom Palmer,Peterson's CEO, would take on board the views of the many thousands of supporters of the brand from all over the world.It would be good to have some sort of vehicle/platform for sharing views and opinions with him.Any business that ignores the views of its customers does so at its peril.
It would be a very foolish person that would say that pipe smoking is unpopular and is in decline. Given the erratic International monetary situation and its impact on business,particularly in the European Union. I would go as far as saying that Peterson's future is likely to survive the current choppy waters and will in time enjoy a much calmer sea of prosperity.

To the Peterson brand and all the Pete Nuts that continue to support it , I wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year.

Jim Lilley - proud collector of the Peterson range of pipes.

For those of you that have never had the opportunity to visit Dublin and enter the shop( Alladins Cave!!),just to whet your appetite, here are some photos.

Pipe Focus - The Peterson Celtic Series.

Pipe Focus - The Peterson Celtic Series.

In my opinion the Peterson Celtic series of pipes are very handsome pipes. Everything about them seems well done, from the finish and the quality of the briar, to the Celtic knot work on the silver or nickel bands. There appears to be two grades of quality. Even in the basic one, the pipes are light, there are no obvious fills present and they smoke great, a quality briar, in natural smooth, green or ebony polished finish. Retailing for around $175 - $200 in the basic form.

Taking inspiration from Celtic art, stretching back over 1000 years. Peterson have created this series of pipes, the main feature of which, is the unique Celtic Knot design on the hallmarked sterling silver band.
The higher grade natural finish series of pipes is not cheap to purchase, being at the top end of the higher grade pipes. They usually retail at around $300 - $400, and similar in quality to the Royal Irish series, they are comparatively rare and scarce, with few retailers currently offering them for sale.
Here are some photos of mine, I certainly intend to add more of these beauties to my collection.1st is an ebony 05,second is a XL02 natural and final one is an ebony69. 

Tobacco Review - University Flake.

Peterson Tobacco Review – University Flake.

This month's tobacco choice for the start of the new year, is University Flake.

Brand: Peterson
Blend: University Flake
Tin Description: Originally manufactured in Ireland by Murray, and now manufactured in Germany by Kohlhase & Kopp. The new tin description reads "An easy smoking blend of fine Virginia's and Burley tobaccos, made the traditional way."
Country: Germany
Cure: Air cured
Cut: Flake
Tobaccos: Virginia, and Burly.
Packaging: 50 gram Tin
Strength: Medium to Strong
Taste: Medium
Room Note: Pleasant to tolerable.
Reading the above notes and descriptions from the manufacturer and Tobacco Reviews, you could easily be misled into thinking that this months choice was fairly ordinary and unexceptional. How wrong that would be!
OK. the reviewing and the tasting of tobacco is subjective and very personal to the reviewer, this I understand and appreciate.
I tend to view the tasting of the myriad selection of tobaccos available to today's pipe smokers, as an Odyssey. A very long pleasant journey, punctuated by different influential experiences. I have tasted all of the 150 blends of tobacco which I have in my personal cellar. From light fruity,sickly sweet aromatics and through to heavy Latakia's at the other end of the taste spectrum.
University Flake stands out from all of those in my experience. It is a very pleasant,uncomplicated, well balanced smoke that is on my regular rotation. Given my wide choice of blends available for tasting/smoking, I would have to say it probably is up there in my top three favourite blends.
If you like a high-quality sweet tasting tobacco that doesn’t bite and is not sickly, then you can safely choose this one. Some would and still do class it as an aromatic, referring to Plum or Berry flavours or toppings, I do not get any of those weird suggested ingredients, I think that impression comes from the choice of blended tobaccos which includes Kentucky. To my taste I find aromatics generally, are bland, sickly and lacking in strength. There is a Burley nuttiness and a light Virginia sweetness, combined with a smoky fire-cured Kentucky, that makes for a well-rounded flavour. Giving off a pleasant room note.
I would say that the nearest comparison would be MacBaren's Navy Flake, also a favourite of mine. Both of these have the basic ingredient which I seek in any blend, plenty of good body and strength. This is a blend for the more experienced pipe smoker.
As far as preparing the pressed flakes for smoking, I tend to simply rub these out in the palm of my hand. Easy peasy! Let the resulting rubbed out tobacco dry out for around 20-30 minutes and then lightly pack the bowl. This method ensures that I never have any problem of having to relight with this blend.
Would I buy it again? , you can most certainly rely on that!! .


The New Mark Twain Boxed Set - Review.

New Mark Twain Review.

I had waited patiently until the holiday to write about the new Peterson boxed pair of Mark Twain 2010 issue pipes. I felt that by doing so it would give a fair amount of time to have elapsed since smoking and purchasing them earlier in the year.
The bent in my personal opinion, is just as good aesthetically as its predecessors in the range. Irrespective of the shiny finish,which is apparently not to everyone's taste. There is just something
about that classic shape that is so evocative of times past. The fit of the stem to the jaw, if you are a dangler/clencher like me, is luxurious. Not many pipes manage to give such a comfortable sensation in that position, and at such a potentially problematic angle. Some bent pipes need to be tilted to avoid inhaling secondary smoke, this new one however does not,it is just perfect.
The second pipe is a different beast entirely. Although I initially felt forced into purchasing a pipe shape i.e. the poker sitter, that I would not have intentionally gone and purchased,I have come round to enjoying it on a different level. As a sitter it has great practical applications when smoking at the computer, or reading a book with a glass of some Highland Nectar!
I find the draw on both pipes to be excellent,the poker/sitter tends to heat up quicker,due in part I believe to the excellent draw and a large capacity bowl. No doubt it will, in time, be offset by a good cake build up.
Given the very reasonable retail price of around $335 per set,I think that Peterson have done well in resurrecting this great classic. I certainly will be adding more of them to my collection.I am equally sure old Samuel would have been pleased with them .