By Al Jones
A few weeks ago, I found a Peterson 411 and learned it was known as the “Bullcap” Peterson shape. This week, a sister pipe to the Bullcap popped on Ebay, and I was able to acquire it. Once again, thanks to information provided by Peterson Author and collector, Mark Irwin, I was able to learn a lot more about this pipe. This pipe is a shape 407 and it is a smooth, Kapet finish Peterson. This also has the block style “MADE IN IRELAND” COM mark that was used between 1947 and 1949. Mark also sent me this catalog page showing both shapes, which is from a 1925 Philipp Weiss & Sohne brochure (Vienna, Austria). They were Peterson’s distributor on the continent in the early decades of the 20th century.
In the search for Peterson catalog information, I was surprised about the complete lack of material available on the internet. With nearly every other key British brand, someone has scanned old catalogs to a website. This is not the case with Peterson. If it were not for Mark’s assistance, I would not know much if anything about these two shapes. Mark shared with me that one of his goals was to reprint key Peterson catalogs. I suspect the availability of these catalogs would be met with great enthusiasm by Peterson collectors and fans.
The pipe was advertised as “New In Box” and as we often see, this wasn’t the case. The pipe had been smoked, but sparingly. This was actually a good thing as it eliminated the age old question about unsmoked vintage pipes – “should I smoke it?”. Of course now the answer is “yes”. The seller gave me a small refund on my purchase and I proceeded with the simple restoration. There was a small amount of tobacco residue in the bowl and the stem was mildly oxidized.
The pipe also came with a Peterson box, silk pipe bag, Guarantee and brand leaflet with a shape chart on the back. While the shape stamped on the box is not 407, Mark tells me this was a common mistake made by tobacconists. I guess who knew boxes would have value to a collector 65 years down the road? The pipe came with a slightly different “stinger” apparatus than my Bullcap. The pipe is very close in size to the Bullcap and it weighs 29 grams.
I removed the stem oxidation with 800, 1000 and 2000 grit wet sandpaper, followed by 8000 grade micromesh. The stem was polished with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish. The bowl was soaked with sea salt and alcohol, although I could have easily skipped this step.
Below is the finished pipe. As you can see, this pipe has a fish-tale stem and I’m curious to how it smokes compared to the P-lip stem on the Bullcap.