Late Breaking News!: Smokingpipes.com announced the following. "Smokingpipes.com is pleased to share that its parent company, Laudisi Enterprises, will acquire Kapp & Peterson, Ltd., specifically the Peterson pipe factory in Sallynoggin and the Peterson of Dublin shop on Nassau Street." In the following Blog Post, Sykes Wilford, President and CEO of Laudisi Enterprises, reflects upon the acquisition and what it means for the two brands. See Sykes's full blog post.
By Jim Lilley
The Peterson brand of pipes are one of the most recognised in the world. They have been manufacturing pipes as a business in Ireland since the 19th century. Today the business is owned and managed by Tom Palmer from their head ofce at the Sallynoggin factory in Dublin, Ireland.
The commencement of the year 2015 will see the Peterson brand celebrating it's 150th anniversary. This event will coincide with the publication and launch of a new detailed Peterson reference book , in tandem with a new commemorative pipe issue. It is hoped that the launch will take place in May of 2015 at the Chicagoland Pipe Show, held every year at the Pheasant Run Resort in St Charles, Illinois. USA.
The Kapp brothers, George and Frederick originally emigrated to Great Britain from Nuremburg in Bavaria .They rst appear in the London trade directories in 1866,when they are listed as Meerschaum pipe makers of 98 Dean Street,Soho ,London. They then parted company in 1869 and established their own pipe shops independently of each other.At some time around 1874 Fredrick moved to Dublin.while brother George remained in London until his death 5 years later. Fredrick and his young family settled in the Rathmines district of Dublin. In July of the same year he opened a new shop in 53 Grafton Street selling Briar and Meerschaum pipes.Around 1876 Charles Peterson, a young, newly arrived, Latvian immigrant was hired byFredrick as a pipe craftsman,primarily to make custom ordered briar pipes. However Fredrick had not long to live and died in 1881. Exactly one year later Fredrick's widow also died.The business was then inherited by their 10 and 12 year old sons and was renamed Kapp Brothers after executors were appointed.Charles Peterson by then was the lead craftsman and managed the business on behalf of Fredrick and his wife's executors until the boys came of age.When the Kapp brothers did eventually come of age, Alfred and Charles Peterson bought out Christian's shareholding and renamed the business Kapp & Peterson.Christian chose to become a Doctor and moved to England .
Charles Peterson applied for a patent for an improved tobacco pipe on the 8th of August 1890.
He was awarded patent number 12393 on the 16th of June 1891 for Great Britain and Ireland.This came to be known as the famous 'System Pipe' patent.The French patent,No. 210944 was issued to them on January 1891.The USA issued patent No. 519,135 on May 1st 1894.In later years they went on to be successful in being awarded additional patents associated with their innovative pipes and pipe stems,including the famous P-lip patent in 1898.
1895 Kapp and Peterson moved to bigger premises at 111 Grafton Street Dublin and also opened a new depot in Broad Street London.1900 K & P exhibited with great success at the Paris International exhibition winning several gold medals and accolades for the quality of their pipes.Fredrick Henry Kapp, son of Alfred and known as Harry, joined his father's business in 1914 at the outbreak of the rst World War.
This was a turbulent period for the company with
the outbreak of World war 1 and the start of the Easter uprising in 1916.The K&P shop was extensively damaged during the military action at this time ( see attached newspaper report). Following quote by Kapp & Peterson.-
"Kelly's, the well known Dublin landmark at the corner of Sackville Street and Bachelor's Walk, one of the most shot at and fully punctured premises in Dublin, was in our possession practically before the smoke ceased over the ashes of our ne shop under the Metropole Hotel. This was one of the most sensational business captures arising out of the Rebellion."
Around 1916, Peterson began stamping their pipes "Made in Ireland" in what is referred to as a block format.
Charles Peterson died shortly after retiring and moving to Hamburg in Germany in 1919 where he is buried.
The original 1890 'system' pipe patent expired at around this time.The Irish free state came into being in December 1922. The Free State Era was from 1922 through to 1937.
Peterson followed with a stamp of "Irish Free State" in either one or two lines, either parallel or perpendicular to the shanks axis and extremely close to the stem.Ireland was a republic in all but name. Eventually the Irish people voted for a new constitution in 1937 and Ireland then formally became Eire (Ireland in Irish).The Made in Eire era stamps were from 1938 through till 1941. Peterson now stamped their pipes with "Made in Eire" in a circle format with "Made" and "Eire" in a circle with the "in" located in the centre of the circle. This was used during the years of 1938 - 41. Later they stamped their pipes with "Made in Ireland" in a circle format 1945-1947 and still later with "Made in Ireland" in a block format 1947-1949. The "Made in Ireland" block format came in either one line or two lines.The Republic of Ireland was formed on 17 April 1949.
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.
In the 1960's Peterson hallmarked all gold mounted pipes but apparently they used their own marks on silver. This practice stopped at the end of that decade when they started to have all silver bands hallmarked.In 1966 a "Jubilee " fourth hallmark was introduced, only for that year, to commemorate the ftieth anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916. Designed as a hand holding a aming sword in Irish "an cliomh solais" or "sword of light" the mark bears the date 1916 to the right above and 1966 to the left below. An Claidheamh Soluis (Old Irish spelling), this was hallmarked with the letter Y. This very unusual and special date mark has in recent years become very scarce, mainly because it was only used for that year. Pipes that were marked thus, are much sought after by Peterson pipe collectors.
1969/70 The 'Made in England' stamp was discontinued with the closing down of the London based factory. Although Peterson has always prided itself in being an Irish made pipe, Peterson had also maintained a pipe factory in London since 1899.
English made Peterson pipes actually spanned the period between the pre Republic and Republic eras.In 1899, Peterson opened the rst in a series of several successive shops in London, England, that lasted until the late 1960's/70s.
1899 53, New Broad St. E.C.1910 7, Hills Pl., Oxford St. W.1915 21, Mortimer St. W.Finally moving to 74/77 White Lion Street until 1970.So the English Era, for a simplied date, will be from 1899 through to around 1970. The stamps Peterson used in London are:
Harry Kapp died on 20th February 1972. Shortly after, 1973/4 Kapp & Peterson merged with Tennant and Ruttle and the name of the company changed to Peterson Tennant. It was subsequently taken over by James Crean Ltd,but later the manufacturing concern was
separated from the rest of the company and began trading once more under it's historical name of Kapp and Peterson.
During the 1970s Peterson had a large display of pipes in the Shannon Airport Duty Free Shop for passengers. These were on display in a oor cabinet measuring approximately 6 x 3. Shannon airport outlet sold a considerable amount of pipes during its period of existence, covering all qualities, from the basic entry level Aran series up to the De Luxe Systems. They also stamped some mid range pipes with the mark 'SHANNON'. This was only for pipes issued and sold from Shannon airport and was not the same as the present day Shannon series.
With Ireland's joining of the European Community in 1973, a fourth miniature hallmark representation of the Celtic Glenisheen collar was added to the right of the date stamp for that year, hallmark letter F.
In 1975 Peterson issued the Centennial Limited Edition 1875 - 1975. The Peterson Centennial
pipes, were released in celebration of 100 years of the company's pipe making. Two pipes were issued, 100 of each shape,a sterling silver banded straight and a bent shape 69, both were offered for sale individually.
In 1979 and 1980 Peterson commenced production of the Mark Twain gold banded numbered limited edition, numbered 1 through to 400. The pipe proved to be so popular that the number was quietly increased to 1000. They sold originally for around $350. The issue was such a great success and prompted further production of more pipes in 1981 to satisfy demand, with the Mark Twain second numbered silver banded edition, numbered 1 through to 1000, each in special presentation boxes. Some were also issued with limited edition pewter statues of the famous author.Peterson then went on to produce more non limited versions of the Mark Twain pipes, this time without numbers, from 1983 through to 1989.
In 1985 there was a 3rd numbered limited edition of 1000 pipes issued to commemorate the writer's 150th birthday anniversary.1835 1985. These were all gold banded and in a special presentation box in the shape of a Twain book. There must have been a fourth production of Mark Twain pipes, for there is evidence of Mark Twain pipes with silver dates for the 1990's.
In 1988 Peterson decided to issue a special Millennium Edition set of two pipes commemorating the City of Dublin's 1000 year founding (9881988). Hallmark letter C.
The Peterson Manx (Laxey) Isle of Man factory partnership ceased operation about 1981 and the production of all African Meerschaum pipes was moved to Dublin and continued there until 1986.
1987 The Issue of the rst Sherlock Holmes Series. Probably the most famous Peterson issue/series of pipes.
The 'Original' series was introduced piece meal, every 6 months a new shape until the 7 day set was complete. The same procedure was later adopted for the next series, Return of Sherlock Holmes.
The second issue was called 'The Return of' and was based on the success of 'the Original',with seven additional new shapes and dedicated wooden rack being created. All similar to the rst issue,with XL bowl sizes and similar sterling silver bands with the SH stamp.
There was also a miniature version of Sherlock Holmes pipes issued around the same time. It was named the 'Junior' Sherlock series. These were smaller bowled pipes at around two thirds the size of the originals and replicated those shapes.
Tom Palmer, a charted accountant by profession, bought the Peterson business in the early1990's in partnership with some other investors, he eventually bought them all out in 1995.
On looking back over the previous Peterson history,Tom considers that most of the changes which he has initiated between 1995 and the present, came in the very large extension to the modern pipe range and the constant issuing of new shapes and series. He considers that at the end of the day, a pipe is a consumer product,loosely dened and the consumer wants something new every so often.
Tom also believes that,the major changes have been refocussing our outlook on the smoker and given him variety and something to look forward to every year."
"We have always stayed close to our roots our pipes are still seen as 'traditional' and I think that this is very important. This philosophy is seen in evidence each year now with enthusiasts eagerly awaiting the annual issue of new pipes,tobacco and accessories.
If I was asked if there was one single reason that motivates me to collect Peterson pipes, I would most probably respond that it was their distinct and marvellous design history. Which to my mind, as a self confessed old romantic opens a portal to more elegant times past and established Peterson as one of the forerunners of distinctive classic pipe designs of today.
I must admit I am really into this particular period of Peterson's pipe production and the pipes that were produced during the so called Patent era. In my humble opinion they are elegance personied!
Whenever I go through the old Peterson catalogues, it is like being a big kid all over again,drooling over illustrations and line drawings of pipes which I long to hold and admire. Owning such pipes is like having access to miniature time capsules.
The original patent No.12393 was issued to K&P in Great Britain and Ireland on Aug. 8, 1890, and in France Patent No.210944 on Jan. 22, 1891.On May 1, 1894, U.S. Patent 519,135 was issued to Peterson for his unique construction of a pipe and mouthpiece, described as a certain new and useful Improvement in Tobacco-Pipes, thats come to be known as the world famous Peterson 'System' pipe.In 1898 another of Peterson's innovative pipe inventions became available, the Peterson-Lip (P-Lip) mouthpiece, designed to offset the inhaled smoke to the roof of the mouth,thus avoiding tongue bite.There were several other similar patents awarded to K&P at around the same period(1900's).
For collectors the Patent Era appears to have been from K&P's formation in 1890, until the expiration of the patent; through to approximately 1915. The late Mike Leverette in his 'A Peterson Dating Guide' extended this period to 1922.I believe this was purely to take cognisance of the P-lip patent which expired at around this time.
I would suggest the period 1890 to 1915 is the true 'Patent era'. From my humble observations the Patent stamping on pipes from that time, were more apparent and attributable with some degree of accuracy. Peterson pipes made during the majority of this period had no "Country of Manufacture" (COM) stamped on them. However, later around 1916, they began stamping their pipes "Made in Ireland" in a block format.
I Recently I acquired a wonderful and very unique Peterson pipe . The pipe was in need of some restoration,as it's original stem was missing. It is an 1896 bent Patent Deluxe.The original saddle stem which was missing, was probably an Amber one.
So what is so special apart from it's age? Well, it is otherwise in pristine un-smoked, brand new condition, as fresh as the day it came from the factory. The pipe is probably the oldest un-smoked Peterson in existence!!
My recent enquiry to Peterson's Dublin factory, has born fruit, those magicians have just returned the pipe with it's newly restored, made to measure, black acrylic saddle stem.I am very pleased with the new replacement stem, as I consider this to be a very significant pipe from Petersons wonderful past.
At left and right are photo's of this marvelous unique pipe, now complete once more.
A unique Victorian Peterson Pipe
Occasionally I am amazed at the rare and unique Peterson pipes that surface .The hallmarks on this specimen are English(Birmingham) and dated the pipe at 1893,(date letter T).I have seen a few patent Pete's over the years,however this example is a first for me.The most obvious characteristic is the magnificent silver fretwork which encases the briar bowl.Such skilled silver-work was typical Victorian high-end surface embellishment, typical of the time.It shows intricate show stopping art, through the antique floral and leaf decoration.The stem is well worn and damaged and the case was a bit grubby. But hey! it is 119 years old!! I am happy with it.It is a very rare example of an art form, not normally associated with early Petersons and as such is a prime candidate for the Sandpiper Peterson Museum. See photos bellow:
1893 Patent, courtesy Jim Lilley Collection
1893 Patent, courtesy Jim Lilley Collection
1893 Patent, courtesy Jim Lilley Collection
An unusual 1916 Deluxe Squash Tomato shape with Amber Stem and magnificent Briar
3 Early Patent House Pipes, Jim Lilley Collection
A patent bent, Jim Lilley Collection
1900 Patent, Jim Lilley Collection
1901 patent, Jim Lilley Collection
1913 Patent, Jim Lilley Collection
1901 Amber stem cased, Jim Lilley Collection
Patent 1910 Bulldog, Jim Lilley Collection
Large Amber Patent Bent, Jim Lilley Collection
An example of a repair to the damaged 1903 Patent Amber stem with a Silver lip protector
1908 Patent Silver Cap House Pipe
Silver stamping showing 2nd patent number & date
This 1906 Patent has a rare "DUBLIN" stamping
Stampings on sterling mount
Stampings on bowl & sterling mount
The pre-republic Peterson's are often considered to be rather special by Peterson pipe smokers.They hark back to a time when quality briar was in abundance and craftsmanship was of the highest level.
Like all collecting desirables, pre-republic pipes are now relatively hard to come by, with availability declining with each passing year. The amazing thing that I nd with pre-Republic's is the consistently high smoking qualities that they show,regardless of being a high or low grade issue. No it is not that I am looking through rose tinted glasses and being sentimental,they really were very well made. I base my judgement on owning and smoking quite a few of them.
For the purpose of this exercise and bearing in mind the eccentric vagaries of Peterson nomenclature,I am suggesting that an acceptable criteria or starting point for when the Pre Republic era begins and ends,requires a short historical resume.:- The Irish Free State came into being in December 1922. The British sovereign, as King of Ireland, was nominal head of state, but Ireland was a republic in all but name.An entirely new constitution was voted by the Irish people in 1937, with provision for a President Of Ireland as head of state. Therefore, Ireland became a republic in 1937, but was not called that. It was called simply EIRE (Ireland in Irish.)When, in 1945, the British government inquired of prime minister Eamon de Valera weather he intended to proclaim a republic, his answer was: "we are a republic", having refused to say so before for eight years. This was news to the British: when George VI ascended the British throne in 1936, he had been crowned King of Ireland, as well, little knowing that there no longer was a Kingdom of Ireland!
As usual when trying to get accurate facts in regard to Peterson history,something will jump up and get in the way. They are missing many of their records. The following is the best that we can do for a guide to the myriad markings during the period 1922 1949.Prior to 1920 it was rare for a country of origin to be stamped on the pipe, just Peterson's Dublin on the band. After 1921/22,If it is stamped "MADE IN IRELAND" and the "Made in" is stacked over "Ireland" or "MADE IN EIRE" or several other forms, it was made between 1922 and 1938. A considerable number of Peterson pipes were stamped "Irish Free State". From about 1930 to 1949, most of the pipes (those which were stamped) were stamped "Made in Ireland"." If the stamp reads "MADE IN IRELAND" in a circle, the pipe was made between 1939 and 1948. These are all "prerepublic" pipes. I can tell you that the mark "Irish Free State" was adopted in 1922;and replaced by "Eire" in 1937 and then by "Republic of Ireland" in 1949.Phew! So there you have it. easy and straight forward,oh yeah! Peterson initially graded their mass -produced System pipes, i.e., regular catalogue pipes (in descending order) "Deluxe," "First Quality," "0" grade, "2nd grade," and "3rd grade."You will also nd old Peterson Systems stamped System 4 or System 5. The shape number is also indicative of briar quality; for example,- 364 is Peterson's 3rd quality shape number (the 2nd quality sister pipe is a 314.)
Pre-Republic Era 1922 Kapet Rhodesian
Pre-Republic Era 1938 Made in Eire 308 System
Sometime in the 1940s they introduced the "Premier" and "Standard" stampings. The "Premier" falling just under the "Deluxe," and the "Standard" becoming the former "2nd grade" quality.The stampings on the silver bands are "faux" hallmarks and are just decorative symbols of Ireland ... a Shamrock,a wolfhound , and a castle or tower.In regard to the silver and nickel markings of this period,well nu-ff said,it is a blooming mineeld!Hallmarks are only required on precious metals not nickel. Also a pipe made in England must meet English requirements which now (and for a number of years)are only 925 for sterling. This is an EU standard I believe. The shamrock, wolfhound and tower are not hallmarks. Dublin hallmarks for sterling are Hibernia, crowned harp and a letter denoting the year. They are still required for silver and gold in Ireland.On the faux "hallmarks" v Dublin silver hallmarks. There are many Peterson pipes with sterling silver bands that do not have hallmarks though, even some in the Premier and Deluxe grades.
At the start of the 1950's, all pipes at Kapp & Peterson were stamped with Made in the Republic of Ireland stamp and also starting off the decade with the hallmark letter I on any silverware.
Apparently nickel was scarce in those days, just after the war and the company tried to use aluminium instead. Needless to say It was not very successful.!
I have adapted this section concentrating on the period following 1950,the made in the Irish Republic era and the different near modern Peterson grades and series,which should bring us up to the time period from the 1990's onward.
Again this was a time of great change for the brand, the company having changed ownership on several ocassions. However it was also one of great creativity,with the introduction of several commemorative series and some new literary character series of pipes that would leave a very lasting impression on the pipe smoking fraternity.
With Ireland's joining of the European Community in 1973, a fourth miniature hallmark representation of the Celtic Glenisheen collar was added to the right of the date stamp for that year, hallmark letter F.In 1975 Peterson issued the Centennial Limited Edition 1875 1975. The Peterson Centennial pipes, were released in celebration of 100 years of the company's pipe making. Two pipes were issued, 100 of each shape,a sterling silver banded straight and a bent shape 69, both were offered for sale individually.
The rst series to make a real global impact during this period was the Mark Twain pipes introduced in 1979.The issue of this series has become the stuff of legend for Peterson.I think they were taken aback and were unprepared for the series's eventual worldwide popularity and success.
Throughout the early eighties they made several batches of so-called numbered limited editions.Culminating in 1985 with their Mark Twain 150th Gold anniversary.
1987 saw the introduction and Issue of the rst Sherlock Holmes 'Original' Series of pipes. The Sherlock Holmes series is probably the most successful series of pipes ever introduced by Peterson in terms of numbers. It was rst issued to honour Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous ctitious detective character, Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is perhaps the most famous pipe smoking character in ction.
In 1988 Peterson decided to issue a special Millennium Edition set of two pipes commemorating the City of Dublin's 1000 year founding (9881988). Hallmark letter C. The rst pipe was a Dublin shape (what else!) and an Oom Paul. Each pipe was sold individually featuring a special sterling silver hallmarked band and came with a ribbon wrapped parchment scroll in a blue presentation box.
The Captain Pete Pipes. At the end of the eighties just as the Sherlock Holmes range was being issued, Peterson reintroduced the modern Captain Pete series. The pipe bowls on these modern versions are all based on the Sherlock Holmes shapes.
The modern Captain Pete line available from Cup O'Joe's is an exclusive issue by Peterson for the US retailer. They are XL size pipes that mirror the Kinsale and SH series of pipes with slightly shorter plip mouthpieces.
Previously there were two separate issues of pipes which had the Captain Pete name. "Captain Pete" and "Captain Peterson" were two Peterson's subbrand issues made in England and were also sometimes manufactured in Dublin until the late 1960's when the London premises closed. I have a London made 1940's issue Oom Paul shape Captain Pete in my own collection. A ne pipe it is!
When Tom Palmer bought the Peterson business at the beginning of the nineteen nineties', he adopted the policy of "if it ain't broke don't x it". Basically sticking wisely to what the business had historically been famous for, good quality,value for money, popular, classic shaped pipes.
Peterson had been around for over 120 years before he got involved so he decided to tread carefully before making any real major changes.
On looking back over the previous Peterson history,Tom considered that most changes should come in the extension to the main pipe range and with the regular issuing of new shapes and series. He considered that at the end of the day, a pipe is basically a consumer product and the consumer does like something new every so often.
A consequence of this policy has, in my opinion, led to a rather complex list of new and established lists of series.
The following lists and groupings are hopefully an easier and more practical method, making it much simpler to come to terms with the huge array of Peterson's modern pipes. This can be rather complex for the novice, as Peterson continue to annually introduce new issues and remove older ones. Over the years I have found this to be a recurring problem for new entrants to the world of Peterson pipes. Regular Email correspondence requesting clarication on grades has shown me that it begs clarication. I have attempted to make this process somewhat easier for those not familiar with the various ranges, by adjusting the current system of Petersons nomenclature in line with 4 simple qualitative grouping criteria. For example with Group 1 being the highest in qualitative and monetary value terms, the others then in descending order of quality,cost etc.
Straight grains: Peterson's catalogue states that these pipes have Briars which are carefully examined for imperfections and have selected Briars of exceptional grain, known as Straight Grains, they are carefully selected, hand crafted and the increasingly rare skill required to make them is unique. Craftsmen shape, turn, sand and polish 150 year old roots of the Erica arborea tree/shrub. Only a very limited quantity of Straight Grains are available in any twelve month period. To my mind the sight of a beautiful natural straight grain bowl is truly a sight to behold. Pure class, they can be spotted a mile off! When coupled to the traditional high class Peterson gold or silverwork, these pipes are in a different quality league. Considering that such quality pipes when available, can be bought for prices starting at around $400 and upwards, they are to my mind a real bargain.
Supreme Gold and Silver mounted: Exceptionally rich in grain, these pipes are also made from the nest briar and are almost as rare as the straight grains. Each pipe has a highly polished natural nish and is tted with a slender gold or silver band. With Peterson lip or shtail mouthpiece and available in most of Petersons classic shapes they are subject to the availability of suitable quality briar. Prices can vary between $330 and $850.
Peterson craftsmanship at its very best.
The pipes in this range are amongst the best and most select briars that Peterson produce. They vary in price from the Grafton,Rosslare Royal Irish and Silver Spigots starting at around $250. To the slightly more expensive Silver Caps and Lids, Plato, Royal Irish and Celtic Naturals and on up to $800 plus for Gold spigots.
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