Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe I have chosen is another Peterson’s System Standard pipe that has been sitting here in Vancouver for a long time. It is a nice smaller size, flat bottom sitter. It has a nickel ferrule and a saddle style Peterson’s P-lip stem. It came to us from an antique mall on 10/20/16 in Chinook, Washington, USA. This pipe was obviously a favourite of the previous trustee. It had been well smoked and there was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflowing onto the rim top. The well grained briar was dirty with grime and dirt ground into the finish and some small dents and scratches on the bowl sides and heel. The nickel ferrule was oxidized but undamaged. The flat bottom on the bowl enables it to stand on the desk or table top while you are doing other work. The pipe was stamped on the left side and read Peterson’s [over] System [over] Standard. On the right side it had the three line Republic of Ireland stamp [over] the shape number 304. The ferrule was stamped K&P over Peterson on the left side. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks on both sides ahead of the button. The stem was not stamped with a logo but it appears to be the original stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work on it. Jeff captured the thick cake in the bowl and the heavy lava overflow onto the rim top and beveled inner edge in his photo. There really was no way of knowing what the edges looked like under the thick cake. The heavily oxidized and calcified stem surface had a lot of tooth chatter and marks on the stem and on the button surface and edges. He took a photo of the heel of the bowl to show the interesting grain patterns in the briar. It was quite beautiful.He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and on the ferrule and stem. It is readable but faint in places.I remembered that Paresh had restored a Peterson’s System Standard 314 earlier this year and as usual had done good work on the research. I turned to his blog and read through his work on the pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/07/24/helping-a-fellow-piper-with-his-dream-pipea-petersons-system-pipe/). I quote below from the section on his blog regarding the dating of the pipe.
While dating a Peterson’s pipe, I always fall back to my under mentioned favorite site; http://thepetersonpipeproject.blogspot.com/2007/07/dating-peterons-pipes.html
I quote from the above site.
Stamping of Bowl: During the years of Kapp and Peterson’s business operations, the country of Ireland has undergone several name changes and K&P’s stamping on their pipes reflects these changes. Knowing these changes, a Peterson pipe can be roughly dated and placed in “eras.”
The Republic Era is from 1949 until the present. The Republic of Ireland was formed on 17 April 1949. From 1949 to present 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.
With Paresh’s help on the date in place, I then turned to the Peterson’s Website to get a sense of the 304 System Standard Sitter shape (https://www.peterson.ie/pipes/system/system-standard-smooth/moreinfo.cfm?pd_product_Id=172). I quote from the site regarding the shape, line and the range of pipes.
About the Shape: A smaller version of our signature flat-bottomed Oom Paul, this deeply bent design is a sturdy sitter with the comfortable posture of a bent pipe. Despite its compact size, it maintains the iconic muscularity, stout proportions, and overall antique look of our House Style.
About the Line: Our flagship line, the System Standard stamp first appeared in 1945, but the entry-level design has been a staple in our catalogues since Charles Peterson secured his final patent in 1898. Designed to provide a cooler, drier smoke, each pipe features a deep reservoir within the shank to collect excess moisture; a graduated bore mouthpiece that funnels the smoke and allows moisture to collect within the reservoir; a sturdy nickel military mount, which allows the pipe to be broken down and cleaned without damage or warping; and our patented P-Lip bit, which draws the smoke upward, thus reducing tongue bite. While the P-Lip bit is the traditional choice, we also offer System Standard pipes with fishtail stems. Available here in the traditional walnut stain of the Smooth finish.
About The Range: In 1890, after 15 years of handling and repairing pipes while working for the Kapps, Charles Peterson secured a patent in his own name, titled “A certain new and useful improvement in Tobacco-Pipes,” which introduced a unique system comprised of a higher draft hole and a moisture reservoir bored into the shank and transition of a briar pipe. Over the next eight years, Charles continued to refine his System, applying for and securing patents for a graduated bore mouthpiece (1891), and a unique button design known today as the P-Lip (1894-1898). Designed to wick moisture away from the smoke, reduce tongue bite, and increase the longevity of the pipe, Peterson’s complete System patent sparked a tradition of innovation, one we continue to uphold to this day. The System Pipe is the invisible source behind our unique House Style: our pipes’ muscular shanks and transitions, tubular profile, and generous bends. Our overall shaping style has a distinctly antique form because it has remained largely unchanged for over 120 years.
In our System range, you’ll find a variety of shapes in myriad finishes, each featuring Charles Peterson’s groundbreaking improvements in the realm of tobacco pipes. Whether you’re looking for your first pipe or to enhance a robust collection, here you’ll find numerous options to suit any taste, all backed by our legacy of craftsmanship.
I finished my reading about the shape 304 System Standard Flat Bottomed Oom Paul by following a link to some information on the smokingpipes.com website that is quite helpful (https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/new/peterson/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=362575). I quote a portion of the description regarding the shape below. It was written by Truett Smith.
The “304” shares both style and history with the “306”: Both designs were introduced to Peterson’s shape chart in 1992 and were the first new System pipes since the “301,” “302,” and “303” were featured in the 1978 catalog. The “304” and “306” also boast flattened heels, allowing them to sit upright while still offering the comfortable posture of a bent pipe. While most Peterson shapes change numbers when featured outside the System line, these two flat-bottomed forms remain constant across series. Presented here is the “304,” being a touch smaller than the “306,” catering to pipe smokers’ personal preferences.
With that information at hand I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had thoroughly cleaned up the pipe. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrubb to remove as much of the oxidation and calcification as possible. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I started to work on it. I took photos of the rim top and bowl as well as the stem to give a sense of the condition of both. The rim top looked amazing – no burn or chip damage on the top or on the beveled inner edge. The stem cleaned up fairly well leaving behind some residual oxidation that would need to be dealt with. The tooth marks on the top and underside ahead of the button are visible in the photos. I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides. The are clear and readable as noted above. There is some faintness on parts of the stamping but it is still readable. I took the stem out of the shank and took a photo of the overall look of the pipe. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. 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 “painted” the tooth marks on the surface with the flame of a lighter to lift them as much as possible. I was able to lift many of them but a few still remained. I filled in the remaining tooth marks with black CA glue and set it aside to cure. I sanded the repairs smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to begin blending them into the stem surface. I started the polishing with some 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. 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. This Republic Era Peterson’s System Standard 304 Flat Bottom Oom Paul with a vulcanite P-lip stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The beautiful grain that shines through the polished finish is stunning. As the pipe is smoked the patina should develop and look even better. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Peterson’s System Standard 304 Oom Paul fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 54 grams/1.90 ounces. I will be adding the pipe to the Irish Pipe Makers Section of the rebornpipes store. If you are interested in purchasing this pipe send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.