Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the table came to us from one of our pipe hunts or a trade I just cannot remember. It is a rusticated Peterson’s “Donegal” Rocky 338 Bent Billiard. The finish is quite nice with at that classic Peterson’s rustication pattern. The pipe pretty clean with the exterior polished and dust free. The bowl had been reamed somewhere along the way and the bowl was pretty clean. There was darkening on the rim top but otherwise it looked really good. The pipe is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank and reads Peterson’s “Donegal” Rocky with the shape number 338 ahead of that. It is also stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland. On the oxidized Sterling Silver band it is stamped K&P in shields over Sterling Silver there are three hallmarks below and to the left of that. The hallmarks are: 1. a seated woman (Hibernia) – the city stamp for Dublin, 2. Harp – the mark for the quality of the silver, 3. a slanted lower case “n” – the date identification of the pipe. The stamping is clear and readable on the pipe and band. The stem was dirty and lightly oxidized. There were light tooth marks and chatter on the stem near the button on both sides and some on the surface of the button as well. There was the Peterson’s “P” on the left side of the taper stem. I took photos of the pipe before I worked on it. I took photos of the rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the relatively clean rim top and edge. The stem was also in decent condition other than light tooth chatter and marks.The stamping on the underside of the shank read as noted above. The photo shows that they are faint but clear and readable. The stamping on the silver is also readable. The P on the left side of the stem is faint but in good condition.I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to show the overall look of stem, tenon and profile of the pipe. It is a great looking pipe.I am 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.
I turned then to deal with the Hallmarks. I turned to Pipephil’s site for his quick reference charts on the Peterson’s Hallmarks (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/infos/hallmark-dublin.html). I have included the pertinent charts below. The first chart defines the first two hallmarks on the Sterling Silver Band. The Hibernia/Lady is the Dublin Town Mark. The Harp identifies the fineness of the metal.The second chart pins down the date that this particular pipe was made. The lower case “n” mark identifies the pipe as being made in 1979. I have drawn a purple box around the “n” on the chart below.
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. Pipedia then qualifies the dating as follows: From 1950 to the present time, the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland”. The “n” hallmark sets the date at 1979 in the center of the time period. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
Since the pipe was in very good shape I started my work on it by cleaning out the inside of the shank. The sump was quite clean and the airway had some debris. The pipe had an aroma of English tobacco that was quite nice. I cleaned it out with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. Once the shank and airway were clean it smelled good. I cleaned out the airway in the stem at the same time with alcohol and pipe cleaners. The bowl was clean the briar looked very good so I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to get it into the deep crevices of the rustication. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The rustication came alive with the balm. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I touched up the P stamp on the left side of the stem with Paper Mate Liquid Paper and once it dried I scraped off the excess. The P stamp definitely looks better at this point. This Republic Era 1979 Peterson “Donegal” Rocky 338 Bent Billiard is a nice looking pipe. The rustication and mixed stain around the bowl sides and shank really stand out with the polishing. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting stains work well to give some contrast to the rusticated finish of the pipe. The polished black vulcanite P-lip taper stem adds to the mix. The pipe is really quite eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel, carefully avoiding the stamping on the shank and using a light touch on the rusticated portions. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax by hand and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Bent Billiard is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another interesting pipe. This Peterson’s “Donegal” Rocky will be added to the Irish Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.