Tag Archives: Peterson’s System pipes

Cleaning up an unsmoked NOS Peterson’s System Clay 12


Blog by Steve Laug

The next few blogs I am writing are about pipes that I worked on with Jeff on a recent visit to Idaho for my Father’s 91st birthday. The next and last of these was a pipe that came from one of the pipe lots Jeff picked up on his travels. It was in a group of old, unsmoked pipes. The pipe is a bent clay Billiard stamped Peterson’s System on the left side of the clay and 12 on the right side of the shank. The nickel ferrule is a classic Peterson ferrule with Peterson’s stamped on the left side. The stem is a military bit with a P-lip. The clay bowl and shank are quite nice with casting marks from the front of the bowl all the way down to the ferrule on the underside. It is a seam where the two halves were joined together. The seam looks almost like a crack but it is not. The there is some wear and tear on the pipe from sitting around as NOS (New Old Stock in some pipe shop). There are typical imperfections in the clay bowl. The rim top is a bit rough and there were some casting marks on the inner edge of the bowl. The bowl itself was unsmoked and the inside was very clean. The finish was dirty and somewhat lifeless. The P-lip stem was flawless with no tooth damage or marks. I took the following photos to show what pipe looked like before I started. I took some close up photos of the bowl top and the stem. You can see the roughness in the surface and edges of the rim top – pretty typical of a cast clay pipe. You can also see the dust in the bowl – even a small cobweb in the bottom of the bowl. The P-lip stem is flawless with no oxidation or chatter and tooth marks.I took some photos of the stamping on the pipe. The first photo shows the left side of the shank with forked P of Peterson arched over System. You can also see the Peterson stamp on the nickel ferrule. The second photo shows the 12 shape number on the right side of the shank. Each evening before going to bed, I have been reading the new Peterson book and came across a section on the clay system pipes. If I had not been reading it I would not have been even aware of them. I had left the book at home in Canada as it is large and heavy. So I wrote to Mark Irwin about dating this pipe and getting some information. Mark graciously sent me the information that I needed. Mark wrote as follows:

… What you have is one of the final generations of the Peterson clay System, made in the 1950s-early 60s. The ferrule no longer says “Brevet,” indicating its manufacture has shifted from France to the UK. I forget the name of manufacturer, but I’ll dig around for it. This was still a fair smoking clay, just not the epitome of Peterson’s work with the French. The final iteration would follow in the 70s–which was more of a pipe to blow bubbles with than to actually smoke! A shame really, as the ones from 1896-1940 were absolutely phenomenal.

When I came home on the weekend I look up some information from the late Jim Lily who was a Peterson Collector par-excellence. Jim maintained a Peterson Collector Blog for years and it is still online. Here is the link to the specific page on the Peterson Clay pipes – http://thepetersoncollector.blogspot.com/2012/04/peterson-clay-pipes.html. It confirms what Mark Irwin included above.

I am often asked about Clay pipes made by Peterson and why they are so rare and few.

Peterson made clay pipes during the Patent Era with two shapes being depicted as can be seen in their 1905 Patent Pipe catalogue. It shows shape numbers 8A and 12A. During this period their clay pipes were stamped “Peterson Patent” and could be purchased with either a silver or nickel band. During the Second World War, Peterson again started making clay pipes, due to the shortage of briar. The clays of this period are stamped “Peterson System” and were only offered with nickel bands. They continued making their clays until their London shop finally closed in the 1960s. Examples of which can be seen on page 9 of the 1962 &1965 catalogues, priced seven shillings and six pence!!.

 As to why they are few in number, I suspect that the brittle nature of the clay meant that mortalities would be high.

Both Mark and Jim confirmed that the pipe was from the 50s-early 60s. They were made in the London Shop until the shop closed in the 60s. Now I knew a bit more about the pipe.

For a wrap up on the clay pipe I turned to one of my go to sources for information – Pipedia. From there I learned a bit mofe about the pipes. Here is the link to the section on the clays – https://pipedia.org/wiki/A_Peterson_Dating_Guide;_A_Rule_of_Thumb#Peterson_Clay.2C_Bog_Oak_and_Cherry_Wood_Pipes

Peterson Clay, Bog Oak and Cherry Wood Pipes

(Peterson Clay, Bog Oak and Cherry Wood pipes were offered in the Patent Era with or without a formed case, as also offered with their briar and meerschaum pipes.)

Peterson made clay pipes during the Patent Era with only two shapes being offered and depicted in their 1905 catalogue. During this period their clay pipes were stamped/molded “Peterson Patent” and could be purchased with either a silver or nickel band. How long and in what years Peterson made these clays is not known but as stated above two shapes were offered in their 1905 catalogue. Then during World War II, Peterson again made clay pipes due to the understandable shortage of briar. The clays of this period are stamped “Peterson System” and were only offered with nickel bands. This later production of clay pipes ended with the closing of Peterson’s London Shop in the late 1950s or early 1960s…

Now that I had some background and a potential day for this 60-70 year old pipe it was time to work on it. I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads. I had ordered several sets of them before I left Canada and had them shipped to Idaho to arrive while I was there. I wet sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The only issue that I found was that the seam on the underside and up the front was not glazed like the rest of the bowl. I polished it with the micromesh to try to bring a shine to the area. It worked fairly well. At least I feel like I did not make it worse!! I polished the stem with Mark Hoover’s Before & After updated Fine Polish. It did a great job in bring back the shine and rubbing out the fine minute scratches in the vulcanite.I finished the pipe by buffing it with a microfiber cloth to raise a shine in the clay. The clay took on a rich shine with the buffing and almost glowed. The area around the seam had a shine but was slightly different from the rest of the bowl… This is one of the frustrations of refurbishing and one that still catches me off guard. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a petite pipe measuring 5 1/4 inches in length, 1 3/4 inches in height. The outside diameter of the bowl is 1 1/8 inches and a chamber diameter of 5/8 of an inch. It is a beautiful little Peterson’s System Bent Billiard that is going to be a fun pipe to break in and enjoy. This is the final pipe that I worked on while I was in Idaho. With the strange stripe on the front and underside of the bowl – where the seam shows clearly and even polishing made stand out more – this pipe will stay with me. Thanks for reading the blog.

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Breathing Life into a Republic Era Peterson’s System 313 Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been corresponding with Paresh for some time now and have repaired and restored two of his pipes and sent him others as well. We carry on conversation via WhatsApp on the internet and discuss the various pipes he is purchasing as well as ones that he has inherited from his grandfather. This Peterson 313 System pipe came to me direct from the eBay seller in England. It took so long to get here (almost 2 months) that we both had pretty well given up on it. It arrived in a crushed package that I had to pick up at the post office. I was worried that the pipe inside had been damaged as well. This was one of those times that the seller had done a very thorough wrapping of the pipe in bubble wrap so it was unscathed by the crushing of the box. The pipe was stamped Peterson’s arched over System over Standard on the left side of the shank and Made in the Republic of Ireland on the right of the shank with the shape number 313 under that. The nickel ferrule was stamped K&P over Peterson.

The finish on the pipe was very dirty with a lot of dents on the bottom side of the bowl and shank. There was a long deep dent on the front of the bowl. The bowl had a very thick, hard cake that had overflowed onto the rim top. The bowl was out of round and the inner bevel was burned and damaged. It looked as if some had tried to ream the bowl with a knife sometime in its life. There were two fills – one on the back left and one on the back right. In the angle of where the shank and bowl connected there was a heavy oily grime build up. The inside of the shank and sump were filled with tars and oils. The nickel ferrule was in great condition with light scratching but no real oxidation. The stem was a mess. The top side of the stem had deep tooth grooves extending forward from the p-lip button about 1 inch. On the underside there were also tooth marks. Both sides had a lot of serious chatter and some calcification build up. The stem was oxidized and very dirty. I took some photos of the pipe before I started working on it. I took close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition it was in when it arrived in Vancouver. You can see the heavy lava buildup on the rim top. You can also see the damage on the inner edge, particularly heavy on the right front side. The cake was quite thick and very hard leaving barely enough room for my little finger to fit in the bowl. You can see the condition of the stem and the tooth marks in the oxidation on both sides. The tooth marks and chatter on both sides are deep and worn looking.The stem was stuck in the shank and would not move. I tried to twist it and turn it but nothing moved. I put the pipe in the freezer for half an hour let it do its magic. At the end of the half hour I was able to easily remove the stem from the shank.I decided to soak the stem in a bath of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer so I dropped it in the airtight container and set it aside overnight to let it do its work.I turned my attention to the bowl. I started by reaming the hard cake back with a PipNet pipe reamer. I started with the smallest cutting head and worked my way up to the second head. I took the cake all the way back to bare briar. I cleaned up the remnants in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. The knife allowed me to get all the way to the bottom of the bowl and remove the cake that still remained around the airway.I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked on it until I had removed the damage on the top of the rim and was able to minimize the damage to the inner and outer edges of the bowl. I used a folded piece of sandpaper to rework the inner edge of the bowl and give it a slight bevel to hide the burn marks and the damage from the knife reaming. With a little work I was able to remove the damage on the inner edge of the bowl. I also ran the folded sandpaper around the outer edge to smooth out the nicks and marks.The briar on the bowl had some dents around the sides, front and back of the bowl. The underside of the shank was also dented. Before I dealt with the dents in the surface I decided to polish the briar and raise a shine. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove any sanding dust. The grain in the briar really began to stand out. There was some really nice birdseye on the sides of the bowl and cross grain on the front and back sides. I used a cherry stain pen to restain the rim top to match the colour of the rest of the bowl. I have found that this particular cherry stain perfectly matches the colour of the Peterson’s System Standard pipe.I cleaned out the inside of the shank, the sump and the airway into the bowl with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. It took a few of each but after while the cleaners and cotton swabs came out clean and the pipe smelled fresh.With the internals clean and the externals clean I decided to address all of the dents in the briar on the bottom and front of the bowl. I took photos of the dents to give an idea of the sheer number of them all around the shank, bowl bottom and up the front. They were all quite rounded dents rather than cuts so I figured that I could steam most of them out. I use a wet cloth (not dripping but enough to make steam when heated) and a hot butter knife to steam the dents. I heated the knife over a flame on my gas stove, put the wet cloth over the dents and touched the surface of the briar with the hot knife. The heated blade on the wet cloth created steam and began to lift the dents. I repeated the process until the majority of the dents had been lifted. I took photos of the pipe, knife and wet cloth.I dried off the bowl and took photos of the briar to show how well the steam had lifted the dents in the wood. I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar to lift out the dust in the grain, enliven and protect the clean and steamed bowl. I let it sit for a little while then buffed it off with a soft cloth. I like the way the grain stands out now. Some of the dents are still visible on the bottom left side of the shank but they are far better than they were. I took the bowl to my buffer and buffed it with Blue Diamond to polish it and raise a shine. I was careful around the stamping so as not to damage it or reduce its readability. The bowl looks really good at this point. All that remains for the bowl is to wax it and buff it. I set it aside and began my work on the stem. I took the stem out of the Before & After Stem Deoxidizer bath and rinsed it under warm water. I blew air through the stem to remove the deoxidizer from the inside of the airway. I dried it off with a paper towel to remove the residual oxidation that was on the surface. I took photos of the stem at this point in the process. You can see some of the calcification on the stem around the button and the tooth marks on both sides. The tooth marks on the underside are by far the deepest.I cleaned the inside of the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the residual deoxidizer in the airway.I painted the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to left as much of the tooth denting as possible. Once I had repeated that and the stem would no longer rise I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage. I finished by sanding it with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper to remove more of the scratches in the vulcanite. I sanded the entire stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the calcification and remaining oxidation. I used a needle files to sharpen and reshape the sharp edge of the p-lip button on the top side and the shelf on the underside. I need to clean up those areas before I could repair the deep tooth marks. I cleaned out the deeper tooth marks with alcohol and cotton swabs to remove the debris and dust from the divots. I dried them off with a cotton pads. I filled in the tooth dents with black super glue. I spread the glue and smoothed it out with a dental spatula. I set it aside to let the glue cure.I sanded the repairs smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper. I blended them into the surface or the stem and reshaped the button and shelf. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed it into the stem and polished it with a cotton pad. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With the stem reshaped and polished I put it back on the pipe and buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond. I used a light touch on the stem to polish out any remaining scratches. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is the fifth pipe I have worked over for Paresh. Once I finish the other two pipes that he has in the queue I will pack them up and send them to India. I look forward to hearing what he thinks one he has them in hand. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as this one provided a few different challenges to the restoration craft. Cheers.

Rejuvenating the second Peterson’s 1312 System Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

I have written about four pipes that I have restored from an estate lot that I was tasked to clean up and sell in previous blogs at https://rebornpipes.com/2016/10/25/this-favourite-gbd-marquis-752-was-a-mess-not-any-more/; https://rebornpipes.com/2016/10/26/rescuing-a-petersons-english-made-203-billiard/; https://rebornpipes.com/2016/10/27/rejuvenating-a-petersons-system-pipe-1314/; https://rebornpipes.com/2016/10/28/rejuvenating-the-first-of-two-petersons-system-pipe-1312/. These included a GBD Marquis Author, a Peterson’s English Made 203 billiard, a Peterson’s 1314 System Pipe and the larger Peterson’s 1312 System pipe. I received these from my friend Richard who owns a pipe shop that is closing. He had some pipes that had belonged to an elderly gentleman who had died. His wife had given him the fellow’s pipes. She wanted to get them cleaned up and sold to folks who would appreciate them. Richard thought I would be interested in the story and have fun cleaning these up and selling them. There some really nice pipes in the lot – GBD’s, Comoy’s, Stanwells, Petersons, two ceramic Goudewaagen pipes, and others. There are just over 50 pipes that I will be cleaning and listing on rebornpipes.

The fifth pipe I chose to work on was another Peterson’s System Pipe. It is the second 1312 pipe and is stamped Peterson’s System Standard pipe on the left side of the shank. On the right is stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland 1312. The stamping is clear and sharp. The nickel ferrule is stamped K&P Peterson’s and has the three faux hallmarks that are for looks. It is larger and chunkier than the first one. The bowl is thickly caked and the rim has an overflow of the cake in the bowl. It is a very dirty pipe. The finish is in decent shape but has a lighter brown stain over flame and straight vertical grain. The stem is oxidized with some calcification around the P-lip button. Light tooth chatter covers both the top and underside of the stem. There is no P stamping on the P-lip stem but it appears to be an original not a replacement.

Here are some photos of the pipe when I started cleaning it. The pipe has good lines and some interesting grain underneath the grime. The first photo shows the pair of 1312 System pipes. The one circled in red is this pipe. I took the next four photos to show the condition of the pipe before I started cleaning it.pete1pete2pete3 I took some close up photos of the pipe. The first photo below shows the thick cake in the bowl, the remnant of tobacco in the bottom of the bowl and the overflow of lava on the rim of the bowl. The next two photos show the condition of the stem.pete4pete5 I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer to remove the cake. I started with the smallest cutting head and worked up to the third cutting head. I cleaned up the bowl with a Savinelli Pipe Knife to cut back the remaining cake to bare briar.pete6 I used a sharp pen knife to carefully scrape off the cake on the rim. I scrubbed the rim with saliva and cotton pads to remove the tars and oils on the surface. I was able to remove all of the tars and build up on the rim top.pete7 I scrubbed nickel ferrule with tarnish polishing scrub and cotton pads. The polish removed all of the tarnish and left the ferrule shining.pete8pete9 I gave the bowl a light coat of Conservator’s Wax and polished the bowl with a microfibre cloth.pete10pete11 I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the calcification, oxidation and tooth chatter and marks.pete12 I cleaned out the internals of the mortise, sump, shank airway and stem airway with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners.pete13 I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding the stem with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. After sanding with the last three grits I gave the stem a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I set the stem aside to dry.pete14pete15pete16 I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. It is a plastic polish that removes the minute scratches left behind after sanding the stem with micromesh sanding pads. It worked the same way on the briar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I finished by hand buffing it with a microfibre cloth. I have found that deepens the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beautiful pipe that has some stellar grain. Thanks for looking.pete17pete18pete19pete20pete21pete22pete23pete24

Rejuvenating a Peterson’s System Pipe 1314


Blog by Steve Laug

I wrote about the first two pipes from an estate lot that I was tasked to clean up and sell on two previous blogs at https://rebornpipes.com/2016/10/25/this-favourite-gbd-marquis-752-was-a-mess-not-any-more/ and https://rebornpipes.com/2016/10/26/rescuing-a-petersons-english-made-203-billiard/  For those who have not read it yet here is the story. About a month ago a friend of mine, Richard who has a tobacco shop here in Vancouver gave me a call and asked me to stop by for a visit. I went on a Sunday afternoon and we visited for a while. At the end of the visit he took me to another counter in his shop and brought out some display cases of pipes – four of them and a small bag. He told the story to me. An elderly gentleman who was a customer of his had died and his wife had stopped by and gave him the fellow’s pipes. She wanted nothing for them she just wanted him to get them cleaned up and sold to folks who would appreciate them. Richard is a reader of the blog and he thought that I would have fun cleaning these up and selling them. As we went through the display cases and bag I was pretty pumped about the collection. There were some really nice GBD pipes, Comoy’s, Stanwells, Peterson’s as well as some brands I was not familiar with.

The third pipe I chose to work on was a Peterson’s System Pipe. It was stamped on the left side of the shank Peterson’s System Standard. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland and the shape number 1314. The stamping is clear and sharp. The finish is in decent shape with a medium brown stain over flame and straight vertical grain. There is a light, uneven cake in the bowl that had spilled over the rim. There is thin cake in the bowl and some darkening on the rim. There are tooth marks on the top and bottom side of the stem near the button. There is no P stamping on the P-lip stem but it appears to be an original not a replacement. There is calcification from a softee bit on the stem and button. There are several deeper tooth marks and chatter on the top and bottom side of the stem ahead of the P-lip. The button itself was in good shape with a small tooth mark on the top at the sharp edge.

Here are some photos of the pipe when I started cleaning it. The pipe has good lines and some interesting grain underneath the grime.sys1 sys2I took some close up photos of the rim and the stamping to show the condition of the bowl. The rim had some darkening and it was slightly out of round. It looked as if it had been reamed with a knife and the inner edge of the bowl had nicks along the back edge. There was a light cake in the bowl and some shreds of tobacco at the bottom of the bowl. The stamping was readable though light in some places.sys3 sys4The stem was lightly oxidized but there were some deep tooth marks on the top and the underside underneath the calcification and the oxidation on the button end. The sharp edge of the p-lip was worn and would need to be sharpened.sys5I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Pipe Knife to clean out the light cake and the debris. I took the cake back to bare briar. I sanded the bowl with a rolled piece of 220 grit sandpaper on my finger to clean up any remaining cake.sys6 sys7I scrubbed the top of the rim with cotton pads and saliva and then lightly sanded it with 3200 grit micromesh to polish off the remaining tars.sys8I wiped the bowl down with a light coat of alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the grime in the finish and any sanding dust. I buffed it lightly by hand and took the photos below. There is some nice grain on this old timer the mix of flame and straight grain really stands out and the birdseye on the rim and the bottom of the bowl is quite stunning.sys9 sys10I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the calcification, oxidation and clean up the tooth chatter. I wiped out the deep tooth marks with a cotton swab and alcohol to get out the dust in them and then filled the divots with black super glue. I set the stem aside to dry while I went to work for the day.sys11When I got home from work I sanded the repairs smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and used a needle file to redefine the sharp edge of the button and underside lip on the stem.sys12I continued to sand the stem with the 220 grit sandpaper until the repairs blended into the surface of the vulcanite and I had removed the oxidation on the remainder of the stem.sys13I worked over the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. After sanding with the 12000 grit pad I gave it a final rubdown with the oil and set it aside to dry.sys14 sys15 sys16I lightly sanded the bowl and rim with 6000-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads while the stem dried. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond polish on the buffer. I gave the entire pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I finished by hand buffing it with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown below. It is the third of the old gentleman’s estate that I have finished restoring. It is available for sale to anyone who wishes to add it to their collection. The photos below show the finished pipe from a variety of angles. Contact me if you are interested by email at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for walking through this with me.sys17 sys18 sys19 sys20 sys21 sys22 sys23 sys24 sys25 sys26