Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe I have chosen is smooth finished Peterson’s System 2 Military bit Prince pipe. The stamping on the shank was similar to the Billiard and the Bulldog that I have worked on previously. I had a bit of a bland looking finish but had some good looking grain around the bowl sides and shank. It also came to us from the estate of Anglican minister that was a great friend of mine here in Canada. This Prince was in decent condition and had a Sterling Silver ferrule on the shank end. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Peterson’s in an arch [over] Dublin 2 in an arch. It was stamped on the right side and reads Made in the Republic of Ireland (3 lines) with a shape number 407 next to the bowl. The pipe was in filthy condition when he brought it to the table. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the briar sides and rim. There was a light cake in the bowl and light spattering of lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. There was some damage to the rim top and the inner edge of the rim. The silver ferrule was oxidized and had a few small dents in it. The ferrule was stamped Peterson’s over Dublin on the top. That was followed by the stamping Sterling Silver on the right side. On the underside it had three hallmarks – the first was a woman with a harp, the second was a harp and the third was the letter “h”. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is lightly caked and the rim top and edges show quite a bit of damage around the bowl. The photos of the stem show some oxidation and tooth marks and chatter near the button. Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the amazing grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe. He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is worn but is still readable in the photos below and is as noted above. I am including the link to the 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 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 Prince that I am working on. Here is the link to the site (https://rebornpipes.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/peterson-cataloguecomp_page_27.jpg).
The chart defines the meaning of each hallmark on the silver band. The first one is of a seated woman with a harp is known as the Hibernia stamp and identifies the pipe as made in Ireland. The second stamp is a crowned harp which is a fineness mark denoting the high quality of silver that was used. The third stamp is the lowercase letter “h”. I have included a larger screen capture of the section on the third column of the chart in the photo below.
I have drawn a square around the date letter below. It identifies the date of this Peterson’s pipe to 1975.From the hallmarks it appeared that I was dealing with a pipe that the hallmarks date to 1975. However, the other stamping on the shank sides left me wondering a bit about what was happening.
I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s Dublin 3. 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 commemoratives for the US market.
I wrote to Mark Irwin again and asked for his help in clearing up the mystery and helping to date this pipe. I also asked him to provide any additional information for me. He responded with the following:
Steve…It’s first decade of the Early Republic (1948-1958). The 2 and 3 numbers were discontinued in 1958. Great little pipe! The “2” = today’s Premier grade.
I had forgotten to include the hallmarks on the silver so that left me even more in a quandary. So I wrote Mark back about the date stamp on the silver and the conflicting stamping on the pipe.
How does that work with date on the ferrule seeming to point to 1975? It has the standard stamping – woman on chair, harp and the letter “h”
Mark responded as follows:
Haha! I love it. You have just entered the Twilight Zone of Peterson pipes, because the “2” and the small “h” for 1975 cancel each other out. I would prefer to leave it there: “a dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge.” If, however, you want to get mundane about it, there are only two possibilities: it was rebanded in 1975 (highly unlikely but not impossible) or someone picked up the old stamp (and they have dozens and dozens) who was new to the hand-stamping job. For myself, I’d rather leave it in the imponderables, but there are always skeptics who prefer the easy explanation to the miracle.
I could not have said it any better! The Twilight Zone of Peterson’s Pipes. So I have a pipe made between 1948-1958 with a silver ferrule that is dated 1975! What a great mystery! Now it was time to work on the pipe.
Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top had some looked quite good and the inner edge had some darkening and damage. It should clean up really well. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface near the button. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look. I polished the silver ferrule with silver polish to remove the tarnish. Once it was clean the silver really shined. I decided to address the damage to the edge of the bowl and the rim top first. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel to accommodate the burned areas and blend them into the surrounding briar. I also worked over the darkening on the rim top with the sandpaper. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with a lighter to lift the tooth marks. I was able to lift the majority of them. I sanded out the remaining tooth marks next to the button with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the vulcanite. I started polishing the stem by wet sanding it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am excited to finish this Peterson’s Dublin 2 Prince. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful flame grain all around it. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem combined with the bowl and made a stunning pipe. This smooth Classic Older Peterson’s Dublin 2 Prince is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 23grams/.81oz. It is a beautiful pipe that will joining the two Dublin 3 pipes – the Billiard and the Bulldog in my collection. I look forward to carrying on the trust left to me by my friend. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.