Brian Riley sent me a great question a few weeks ago. He asked if I knew how many issues there were in the Craftsman Series, and turning to the Identification Guide in The Peterson Pipe I noticed that there wasn’t even an entry for it. Sigh. The Peterson Pipe does tell the story of how Conor Palmer of Peterson and Michael Walter of Ashton came up with the idea. They were somewhere in the States on a road trip, kicking around how to get to do a small-batch collectibles series in a sustainable way when one looked to the other and said, “Well, why don’t we just pass the buck out to the shop and let them worry about it?” Actually, that’s not quite the way it happened, but for anyone on the labor end of things it can sometimes feel that way.
The up side for “labor” was that it took its name from the fact that it would be the craftsmen and women out in the shop to come up with each issue’s design, choosing the finish, stain, mount and mouthpieces. Some were sublime, some just fine and a few disappointing, at least to me. But as I so rarely see any of these on the estate market, I think Conor and Michael were successful in their goal of creating a Peterson collectible. But take a look and decide for yourself.
Here’s a visual history of the finishes and mounts to give you an idea of each issue. As with so many things Peterson, “12” was the magic number, there being 12 installments in the series.
(Yes, it looks identical to the February release aside from the date.)
If you smoke a Craftsman Series, post a photo in the comments below. If you have a favorite, I’d like to hear from you. Mine are probably obvious–I love the SH “B” shape in the banner and the finish on the Winter 2016 spigot, which, if you were paying attention, was the only one to feature a P-Lip! I’d like to think it was a System, so if you have one, do drop me a line.
For your Identification Guide:
Craftsman Series 2014-16 – An idea by Conor Palmer (Peterson) and Michael Walter (Ashton) for a limited edition, small-batch series with style changes chosen by Peterson craftsmen from one issue to the next. First issued Dec. 2014; thereafter, in 2015 in Jan., Feb., June and July of 2015; Jan. – Apr., July, Fall and Winter of 2016.