Blog by Steve Laug
I am finishing the last of the 19 pipes for the fellow in Kitchener, Ontario I decided to work on the last one of them. He had been referred to me by my local pipe and cigar shop. While I am not currently adding more pipes to my queue of repairs I have made a commitment to the shop to work on pipes for their customers. Generally they have one or two pipes that need a bit of work. This fellow sent me the following email:
I just came across my smoking pipes that I’ve had in storage for about 40 years. I’m wondering what you’d charge to have them refurbished. There are 17 in total (11 are Brighams and 6 are various).
It turns out he said he had 17 pipes. That was certainly more than I expected but I communicated that there was a large queue ahead of him and I would have to fit them in as I could. He was fine with whatever time it took. He sent me the following photos of his collection that he wanted restored. The first photo shows his eleven Brigham pipes – all very interesting shapes. The second photo shows the six various pipes in the collection – A Republic Era Peterson’s System 1312 (Canadian Import), A Bjarne Hand Carved Freehand, a Comoy’s Everyman London smooth billiard, a GBD Popular Dublin 12, an English made Kaywoodie Rustica 72B, a Kriswill Bernadotte 60 with a broken tenon. When the box arrived there were two additional pipes included for a total of 19 – a Ropp 803 Deluxe Cherrywood Poker and a Comoy’s Sandblast Everyman Canadian 296. It was a lot of pipes! I have been randomly choosing the next pipe to work on and chose the Bjarne Hand Carved Freehand that is shown in the second photo below. I have drawn a red box around the Peterson’s System Standard 1312 in the photo below. I have also put and X through all of the pipes that I have finished. I am making progress on the lot – I have finished all the pipes now.The 19th and last pipe that I took out of the box was a Peterson’s System Standard pipe. It had a smooth finish. It was stamped on both sides of the shank. On the left side it read Peterson’s System Standard. On the right side it was stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland and under that was the shape number 1312. The nickel ferrule was in great condition and was stamped K&P Peterson. There were faux hallmarks under that. The finish was probably the cleanest of the 19 pipes so I am glad it is the last one. The rim top had some lava on the flat surface and the inner rim is damaged and slightly out of round. The bowl appeared to have been recently reamed and not smoked since the reaming. The vulcanite stem was lightly oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter near the button on both sides. There was also some calcification around the button. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top to show the condition of the bowl and the darkening and damage to the inner edge as well. You can also see the light lava on the rim and clean bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem to show its condition as mentioned above. I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank to show what I was speaking about above. It is very readable. On the left side it reads Peterson’s System Standard. On the right side it read Made in the Republic of Ireland over the shape number 1312. The nickel ferrule stamping is very readable and undamaged. I have included the information on the shape number on this pipe that I picked up on researching the other pipes. It is a Peterson’s System Standard pipe with a 1312 shape number. The 312 is identical in shape, size and marking. I started my hunt for information by turning to a Peterson Catalogue that I have on rebornpipes and looked up the System Standard pipes (https://rebornpipes.com/tag/peterson-hallmark-chart/). I have put a red box around the 312 shown in the catalogue page shown below. That should give a clear picture of the size and shape of the pipe. But there was nothing to give me any information on what the first number 1 meant in the shape number 1312 that I am working on.Since this is stamped with the same “1” as previous Peterson pipes that I have worked on I turned to the blog and had a look. I am including the information on the unique numbering. Mark pointed me in the direction that I needed. I quote the pertinent part of his email. The underlined portion was the clue I was looking for on this pipe. I have already cleaned up several of Bob’s pipes that were sold through GT&C (Genin, Trudeau and Company, Montreal, Quebec).
The index at the back of the book is pretty good, and points you to all the GT&C goodies, but 155 has a photo from the catalog with your 1307, while 318 and 323 explain the rationale for the “1” prefix. In a nutshell, just drop the “1” and you’ve got the shape. My theory is that GT&C added this to aid them in warranty work, so they’d know the pipe was bought on Canadian soil.
I turned then to a previous blog I had written on a Kapruf 54 that had an odd shape number stamp and referred to the Canadian numbering system used by GT&C. Here it the link to that blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/09/back-to-bob-kerrs-estate-another-canadian-import-petersons-kapruf-a-54/). In the blog I included a link to a blog I did on the GT&C Catalogue that came to me in some paperwork the family gave me. I have included the cover of the catalogue and the page on the system pipes showing the 1312 shape. I have put a red box around the shape for ease of reference (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/09/13/petersons-pipes-brochure-from-genin-trudeau-co-montreal-quebec/). Be sure to check out the rest of the document on the link.
The GT&C Catalogue combined with the earlier Peterson Pipe Catalogue page make the link definitive. I am also including the information from Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.
1950 – 1989 The Republic Era – From 1950 to the present time, the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated.
During the 1950’s and 60’s the Kapp & Peterson company was still in the ownership of the Kapp family. However 1964 saw the retiral of the company Managing Director Frederick Henry(Harry) Kapp.
Pipedia also included a section of information on the System pipes including a diagram of the sytems look (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson#Republic_Era_Pipes). I quote a section of the article in part and include a link to another article on Pipedia on the System pipe.
The Peterson System pipes are the standard bearers of the Peterson pipe family, famous for the excellent smoking pleasure they provide. Often imitated but never equaled, the Peterson System smokes dry, cool and sweet, thanks to the scientiﬁc effectiveness of the original design. The heart of the System is the unique graduated bore in the mouthpiece. This makes the suction applied by the smoker 15 times weaker by the time it reaches the tobacco chamber. The result is that all the moisture ﬂows into the reservoir and, thus cannot reach the smoker’s mouth. The Peterson Lip further enhances the effectiveness of the graduated bore by directing the ﬂow of smoke upwards and away from the tongue. This achieves a uniquely even distribution of smoke and virtually eliminates any chance of tonguebite or bitterness. Furthermore, the shape is contoured so that the tongue rests comfortably in the depression under the opening. Each “PLip” mouthpiece is made from Vulcanite. For the Peterson System pipes to work properly, the stem/tenon has to have an extension, the tip of which will pass by the draft hole from the bowl and into the sump. Upon the smoker drawing in smoke, this extension then directs the smoke down and around the sump to dispense a lot of the moisture before the smoke enters the extension and stem. On the System Standards and other less expensive systems, this extension with be made of Vulcanite turned integrally with the stem. On the more expensive System pipes this extension will be made of metal which screws into the Vulcanite stem. This extension on the earlier pipes will be of brass and the newer pipes will be of aluminium. Most smokers not knowing this function of the metal extension, assumes that it is a condenser/stinger and will remove it as they do with the metal condensers of Kaywoodie, etc. Should you have a System pipe with this metal extension, do not remove it for it will make the System function properly and give you a dryer smoke (https://pipedia.org/wiki/A_closer_look_at_the_famous_Peterson_Standard_System_Pipe).
With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. I knew from the information that the pipe was made during the Republic Era between 1950 and 1989. Most of the pipes in this lot seemed to come from the 60s so my guess is that this is also a 60’s era pipe. I also knew that the pipe was brought into Canada by the Canadian Importer, Genin, Trudeau & Co. in Montreal, Quebec. Noting above that the catalogue postal code puts it in the late 60s early 70s which also fits the story. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
I cleaned up the thin cake in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and sanded the bowl with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the top of the rim and to lightly bevel the inner edge to clean up the out of round bowl. I was able to make it look better. I cleaned the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. They were dirty but the pipe is clean now. I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim down after each sanding pad to remove the dust and debris from the sanding. The rim top was looking very good after the final polishing pad. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I rubbed the stem down with Soft Scrub on with a cotton pad and it removed the oxidation. It was looking better. I sanded out the remaining tooth marks, chatter and oxidation with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I rubbed down the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish, a red gritty paste and a cotton pad to remove the remnants of oxidation and to blend in the sanding. The stem is starting to show promise at this point in the process. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with a cotton pad to remove the sanding debris. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I finished by wiping it down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil and buffing it to a shine. It feels good to be finishing the restoration of this 19 pipe lot from Eastern Canada. With the completion of this one I have finished the entire of the pipes. I look forward to the final look when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The grain is quite stunning and really pops with the wax and polish. The shiny black vulcanite stem is a beautiful contrast to the browns of the bowl and thick shank. This Peterson’s System Standard 1312 Bent Billiard was a great pipe to end the restoration work on. The polished nickel Ferrule works as a contrast between the stem and the briar and binds it all together. It really is a quite stunning piece of briar whose shape follows the flow of the briar. The pipe is comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This beautiful pipe will be going in the box with the others and be sent back to Eastern Canada. I look forward to hearing what the pipeman there thinks when he sees his collection now that it has been restored. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This was an interesting estate to bring back to life.