Restoring a Republic Era Peterson’s System 120 Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

This is a pipe that I have taken out of my personal collection as I just do not use it too much. It is a nice looking Dublin shaped pipe with some nice grain around the bowl and a Sterling Silver ferrule. I smoked solely Virginia tobaccos in it so it is very clean. The inside of the shank, the system sump and the shank was quite clean. The smooth rim top had some darkening on the back top and inner edge. The smooth finish was very clean but dull and quite lifeless. The grain runs horizontal on the left side of the bowl and shank. The stamping on the shank is clear and readable. The left side is stamped Peterson’s [arched over] Dublin. On the right side it was stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland (3 lines). To the right of that stamp is the shape number 120. The Sterling Silver ferrule is oxidized and dull but it has the Peterson’s [over] Dublin. Next to that it was stamped Sterling [over] Silver followed by three hallmarks – a Seated Woman (Hibernia), Harp and the cursive letter J. The stem was quite clean, with minimal oxidation near the button. It is free of tooth marks and chatter on both sides. I took some photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the bowl and the stem. You can see the reamed bowl and the darkening and damage on the rim top. The stem surface was clean and free of tooth marks or chatter on both sides. I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the bowl and shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo to give a sense of the proportions of the pipe. It is really quite nice looking.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 to Mark Irwin’s Peterson Pipenotes site for information on the shape 120 Dublin. I quote the information below (https://petersonpipenotes.org/tag/peterson-120/).

Shape 120 Patent Lip Straight Dublin.

Years of production: 1906 – present.
Average Measurements:
Length: 6.16 in./156.46 mm.
Weight: 1.40 oz./39.69 g.
Bowl Height: 1.94 in./49.28 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.63 in./41.40 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.83 in./21.08 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.38 in./35.05 mm.
P-Lip: Yes

There was also this great cutaway of the 120 System pipe to show the system details.

A late 1950s 120 Demonstrator – This demonstrator from the 1950s shows how the pipes were drilled. What it doesn’t show, since it is missing the stem, is the extended bone tenon that would have screwed into the vulcanite P-Lip and extended to just below the airway into the chamber.The IFS-Era added two new straight Dublins to the 120, 121, and 122: the 120F (“Flat” or oval shank) and slender 417. The System straights seem to have disappeared by this time. The 120 “Flat” is a natural thought in Peterson’s design language, which always comes back to comfort and practicality, and I can imagine someone in bowl-turning or even a customer thinking how great it would be to set his straight Dublin down in order to emphasize a point over a pint or a cuppa.

I always like to date the year a pipe was made while I am working on it. In the process of working on a pipe if I can pin down a date that it was made that it adds another dimension to the restoration process. Once I have identified the hallmarks on the pipe then I use a Hallmark chart to pin the date down. In the case of Peterson’s pipe with a silver band I use a hallmarking chart that Peterson included in their catalogs and on their website

I have a copy of the hallmark charts in one of the Peterson catalogs that I have uploaded to the blog on rebornpipes. I turned to that chart to lock down the date letter for the Sterling Silver System Dublin that I am working on. Here is the link to the blog on the silver ferrule (https://rebornpipes.com/tag/identifying-hallmarks-on-a-sterling-silver-ferrule/).

To the left there is a great description of the stamping on the silver ferrule. The one I am working on has the same three stamps as those to the left. It has the seated woman (Hibernia) representing the country of manufacture – Ireland. The Harp crowned is a stamp of the purity of the silver. The third mark is a cursive J that identifies the age of the pipe.

I am including a chart below that helps to identify the date with the J stamp. That stamp dates the pipe as being made in 1995.I have drawn a circle around the date letter below. It identifies the date of this Peterson’s pipe to 1995. I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s Dublin. On page 298 it had the following information.

Dublin (1906-2003) Although DUBLIN appears under PETERSON’S  on many pipe over the decades, it has served mostly as part of the brand name. The word first appeared on pipes hallmarked 1906-11, stamped PETERSON’S over PATENT over DUBLIN. The simpler PETERSON’S over DUBLIN first appeared on pipes hallmarked 1912 after the expiration of the patent. Illustrations of pipes in the ’37 catalog show a random dispersion of the stamp PETERSON’S over OF DUBLIN together with the ordinary PETERSON’S over DUBLIN on every model offered. Specimens of the former will bear either and Irish COM or LONDON MADE over ENGLAND COM and almost certainly date from 1945-62. It was first mentioned as part of a model name in the ’68 price list, as K&P DUBLIN, in ’92 for a Danish market line and in 2017 (see below).

“Dublin” (1992-2003) An orange-brown smooth line with a brass-nickel-brass sandwich band, vulcanite fishtail mouthpiece, consisting mostly of D shapes released for the Danish market. Stamped PETERSON’S in script over “DUBLIN”. A tenth anniversary pipe for the line was produced with a sterling band stamped 2001. Market demand fell shortly thereafter and several pipes stamped “DUBLIN” were released in ’03 for the Fourth of July commemorative for the US market.

Now I knew that I was dealing with a Republic Era pipe made between 1950 and the present. The Peterson’s Sterling Silver ferrule has three hallmarks with a J date stamp that identifies it as being made in 1995.  It was a smooth Straight Dublin with a unique shape and chamber beneath the bottom of the bowl. The finish was stained with a combination of rich lighter brown stains. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the walls on the bowl with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel to take the walls back to smooth once again. I worked on the pipe with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage on the rim top and edges of the bowl. It looked better but would need a bit more work.I polished the rim top and edges with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to raise a shine. I wiped it down with a damp cotton pad to wipe off the debris after each sanding pad.   I polished the silver ferrule with a  jeweler’s cloth. The cloth is impregnated with polish that not only raises a shine but protects the metal. I cleaned out the shank and sump below the bowl and the airway in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl. It was clean and smelled better.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips. It works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth and raised the shine. The bowl looks great at this point.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the oxidation and tooth marks next to the button with 220 grit sandpaper. Once the surface was smooth I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry.  I put the stem back on the Peterson’s System 120 Straight Dublin and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. This classic Peterson’s shape and finish really highlights a proportionally well carved pipe. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem has a rich glow. This Peterson’s System Straight Dublin fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of and inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.20 ounces/34 grams. It was one I chose for my own collection and enjoyed, but I am happy to pass it on to the next pipe man or woman. This beauty will be going on the rebornpipes online store in the Irish Pipemakers Section. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

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