By Al Jones
Lately, my pipe purchases have been those remaining on my “Holy Grail” list, but occasionally a pipe turns up that is in my wheelhouse. I stumbled across this Peterson when I missed out on an Ebay bid. I could see that it was Pre-Republic from the “Made in Ireland” stamp but it had no shape number and was not one that I recognized. Fortunately, Peterson authority and author, Mark Irwin, is easy to reach via email and always seems eager to help in a quest for information. Mark did indeed know about this shape, known as the “Bullcap” and shape 411. He even included these catalog shots.
Mark shared this about the shape:
The shape is first documented in the 1937 catalog as a 411 Kapet, the catalog mentioning the aluminum inner tube “for easy cleaning.”
The Kapruf line (RUF meaning sandblast) was the counterpart of the Kapet, and is first seen in the 1940 catalog. The 411 shape as a Kapruf is seen in the “Junior Briars” column of the 1947 shape chart – “Junior” meaning slender, as all the pipes are at least 5 inches in length. The squares = 1 inch.
I’m very appreciative of this information from Mark, as I can find no other example or information about this shape or the “Juniors Briars” catalog. This pipe is indeed quite diminutive, weighing only 24 grams. It is the lightest pipe in my collection.
The pipe appeared to be in terrific shape with no bite marks on the stem. Upon delivery, it was as good as depicted. The bowl had some very slight cake, which was removed. The stem fitment was excellent and it included the factory inner tube. The “P” stem logo was missing the white paint, but in great shape.
The block style “Made In Ireland” stamping was used until 1949. Mike Leverette’s Peterson Dating Guide is even more specific, suggesting it may have only been used between 1947 and 1949.
While the bowl was soaking with sea salt and alcohol, I turned my attention to stem. It had been a long time since I’ve had to restore a stem logo, so I consulted Steve Laug and Dave Gossett. Each suggested that I use white acrylic paint and a fine brush. Dave recommended applying a heavy coating of paint and letting it dry at least 24-48 hours. He recommended using some worn micro-mesh (3,000 or higher) to buff off the excess and then let it set another 24 hours before buffing. I picked up white acrylic paint and a pack of fine brushes from Hobby Lobby, which were found in the modeling section. This process was more difficult than I anticipated. I’m not sure that I’m satisfied with the final outcome
The briar bowl didn’t need much attention. There were several light spots where the stain had either faded or was pulled off. I darkened some Fieblings Medium Brown stain and gave the bowl a “wipe” with a paper towel. After that had dried, I buffed it by hand with some Halycon wax.
Below is the finished pipe. With the tiny bowl (fits my index finger), I’ll dedicate this one to Orlik Golden Sliced or a similar flake. The draft without the inner tube is quite large, I’ll start by smoking with it in place.