77. Pipe Story: An Irish Emblems “Crossmolina” System 313
Crossmolina is a beautiful, fairly quiet little town (when not beset by flooding fears) that sits on the River Deel in County Mayo in the province of Connacht in northwest corner of Ireland. I like to say that “every pipe has a story,” and quite a long time ago someone in that town loved it so much that he or she special ordered an “Irish Emblems” 313 dutch billiard System from Kapp & Peterson and had the town’s name engraved on it.*
The Irish Emblems Systems pipes were available from the get-go, or at least from the 1896 catalog onward, until sometime shortly after WWII. Paddy Larrigan told me at the factory that there was still a gentleman who carved these for K&P during the 1950s, after which the practice seems to have fallen by the way.
K&P Irish Emblems pipes are few and far between on the estate market, and of course their story will be told in The Peterson Pipe: The Story of Kapp & Peterson. But this little fellow, whose portrait may reside in the encyclopedia chapter, just couldn’t wait until then, so here he is.
He’s got a silver-soldered ferrule with the classic K&P in shields over PETERSON over SYSTEM, and is stamped 3 in a circle. Given all the carving, there is, unsurprisingly, there is no COM stamp. The carving style is different from the earliest shamrocks seen in the 1896 and 1906 catalog Irish Emblems and lacks the pebble-texturing of those pipes, so that it seems reasonable to suppose he was carved sometime later. The silver soldered mount indicates a pre-1961 date, so my best guess would be the first decade of the Early Republic Era, 1948-1958.
Crossmolina’s own story goes back, like most things in Ireland, a little further. In the 6th century, St. Tiernan established an abbey nearby that is said to have housed upwards of 1,400 students from all over Europe. With the Wild Atlantic Way nearby, and a pleasant walk up the River Deel to see the ruins of Castle Gore and Deel Castle (pictured above), you could make a good day of sight-seeing and enjoy a few pints of the Reel Deel Brewing Co.’s craft beers and local music on your return.
How this little 313 made it from Crossmolina to Tyler, Texas is another untold story. But for now, at least, he’s found a good home at the Peterson book’s indexer, and will likely remain there for awhile.
For L. J.–
*Connacht was, incidentally, where the youthful K&P won one of their several patent medals in the early days.