Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe I removed from box of Peterson’s Pipes that I have to work on was a Peterson’s System Standard pipe. It was purchased from an online auction on 09/12/2019 in Front Royal, Virginia, USA. It had a smooth finish. It was stamped on both sides of the shank. On the left side it read Peterson’s [over] System [over] Standard. On the right side it was stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland (3 lines) and under that was the shape number 312. The nickel ferrule was in great condition and was stamped K&P [over] three Faux Hallmarks followed by Peterson. There was a thick coat of lava in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the rim top. The inner rim had some darkening and is damaged and slightly out of round. The vulcanite stem was lightly oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter near the button on both sides. There was also a hole in the underside of the stem so a decision would need to be made whether to replace it. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work on it. Jeff 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 thick cake in the bowl and the light lava on the rim top. He also took close up photos of the stem to show its condition as mentioned above. He took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. On the left side it reads Peterson’s [over] System [over] Standard. On the right side it read Made in the Republic of Ireland (three lines) over the shape number 312. The nickel ferrule stamping is very readable and undamaged. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the sensational grain on this pipe. It is a real beauty that has a shape that follows the grain. 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 312 shape number. 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.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 Late Republic Era between 1950 and the present day. Personally I think this is probably a 60s-70s pipe. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
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 sump in the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrub 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. The hole in the stem was big enough that I chose not to keep it. Fortunately last weekend I was gifted some new replacement stems for Peterson’s pipes that came from the factory. I had the perfect stem that was the same size, shape and style, a veritable twin of the damaged stem so I replaced the stem with a hole. I took photos of the pipe and the new stem before I started to work on it. I took close up photos of the bowl, rim and the new stem. You can see the reamed bowl and the darkening, remaining lava and damage on the rim top and the inner edge. The new stem is in perfect condition and will only need to be polished. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and the nickel ferrule. All are 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 decided to start my work on this one by reworking the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I wanted to try and bring it back into round and smooth out the rim top and edges.I wiped off the varnish coat with acetone and a cotton pad to remove the spotty finish and to also blend in the sanded rim top. I polished the briar and the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. You can see a few of the flaws in the sides of the bowl and shank in the photos below. The bowl looks great though. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips 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 polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This nice looking Peterson’s System Standard 312 and a classic Peterson’s P-lip vulcanite stem looks much better now that it has been restored and restemmed. The rim top and edges cleaned up very well. The rich brown stain on the bowl came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. 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. The polished nickel ferrule looked great. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Peterson’s System Standard 312 is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 61grams/2.15 ounces. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store in the Irish Pipemakers Section soon. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.