69. Peterson B Shapes, Part 5 (B49 – B65)
Here we are at last, in this fifth installment and final installment cataloging Peterson’s B shape history.* B49 – B65 includes pipes from the third Sherlock Holmes collection (2011), the Molly Malone collection (2011), the Iceberg 1912 collection (2012), the fourth Antique Collection (2013), and several Limited Edition shapes (now simply known as “Pipe of the Year”) in between.
The B shapes are central to understanding the Dublin Era of Peterson pipes (1991 – Present), showing how Peterson’s house style evolved in what may be called “the age of the collectible pipe.” As a shape-group, they are as distinctive in their own right as the original Patent shapes and the post-Great War shapes of the Irish Free State and Eire eras were in theirs.
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (2011)
Shapes B49, B51, B53, and B56 are all from the third Sherlock Holmes series, released in 2011 (and all bearing XL shape numbers as well as B numbers). I’m a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and of Peterson’s three commemorative series, which you will find well-documented in The Peterson Pipe: The Story of Kapp & Peterson. I’ve had spectacular success smoking the Sylvius and the Gregson, and am still trying to break in my Hopkins. At some point, I’d like to find a Moran as well.
Here’s the B49, one of the greatest of the B shapes, making a final bow. It appeared first as the Gregson in 2011’s Adventures quartet, then as an XL30 in the Kinsale line, which was created especially for SH shapes. As the B49, the most recent appearance of this almost-stack proportioned bent brandy is in the Derry Rustic nickel-mounted line, although it has previously appeared in the sterling-mount Italian-market Ashford and Kapreis lines.**
Molly Malone Cockels & Mussels (2011)
What an awesome set. Usually a set looks better in smooth than rustic, but not here. Maybe it’s the shapes; maybe it’s the faux-bone colored acrylic stems, but I like them. I’m going to try not and dwell on this, because if I do, I’m certain to get a case of P.A.D.
The lovely and curvaceous B50 is, appropriately, part of the Molly Malone duet from 2011. It has appeared in the three standard sterling-mount Italian lines: the Kapp-Royal, the Kapreis, and the Rock of Cashel. In Europe, it also appeared in last year’s Derry Rustic nickel-mount line.
The B51 poker – cherrywood hybrid, originally appearing as the Hopkins in 2011’s Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series, is for my money the most outrageous shape in the entire B shapes catalog and deserves a place in the serious Peterson companioner’s rack if only for its outlandish design. It’s an unwieldy behemoth, difficult to hold, heavy as a brick, and looks like it escaped from a Magritte cartoon. I love it. Its first reissue was as shape XL27, in the Kinsale line. Subsequently, it appeared in the Kapreis and Ashford sterling-mount Italian lines, followed last year by its nickel-mount dress as a Derry Rustic. For those with a whimsical bent, not to be missed.
No stock number exists for the B52 shape number, per Tony Whelan, Jr., at the factory. I’d like to imagine this was because it would be inappropriate (for an entire theological dictionary of reasons) to give a pipe – the emblem of peace – the same number as the long-range B-52 Stratofortress, or BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fucker), as it’s usually called.
The muscular Moran, the diamond-shanked bent billiard from the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, appeared as the XL28 in the Kinsale line before its appearance in the Lubinski Kapreis line, the unmounted (mostly European) Aran line, and the Derry Rustic.
The B54 originated as the marvelous Limited Edition 2011 panel. Seeming to take its cue from the B53, the B54 transforms that diamond-shanked bent billiard into a paneled shape, where it appeared in a number of lines European lines: the Lubinski Kapreis (as both an army-mount and a navy-push), Rock of Cashel, Blackrock, and Kapp Royal, as well as the 9mm Dublin Castle. Last but certainly not least, it appeared in last year’s Roundstone Spigot collection.
I like the unusual slightly rounded crown and round shank of the B55 bulldog. It seems very old-fashioned, somehow. It first appeared as the other half of the Molly Malone collection in 2011 (which may account for its, *ahem,* full-figured shaping). As fetching as it is in both smooth and rustic finishes in the original, this is one B shape that doesn’t lose much of its allure when transferred to the army-mount Kapp Royal, Kapreis, and Derry Rustic lines.
This nuanced billiard of near-stack proportions made its first appearance as the Sylvius in the 2011 SH series, and as a matter of course was given shape number XL29 for the little-sister Kinsale line. It has appeared as the B56 in the extremely limited Royal Irish line and then more generally as the collectible-within-the collectible in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day issue.
The B57 – B60 are all the from the Iceberg 1912 collection, which was released to celebrate the centenary of the Titanic in 2012. That year also witnessed the opening of the amazing Titanic Belfast museum, located on the site of the old Harland & Wolff shipyard where the RMS Titanic was built. When we visited in the summer of 2013, the museum was still getting its sea-legs and some of the most interesting looking rides and exhibits were having a few difficulties. But gauging from current reviews, everything’s now smooth sailing.
I had wished at the time that the Iceberg Collection might have used the Titanic name so that more people immediately recognized what was being commemorated, but apparently there are licensing fees that made that a prohibitive undertaking. Nevertheless, as one of Peterson’s final special collections (at least in the foreseeable future), there’s some wonderful work here.
The B57 dublin shape was issued as the Port from the Iceberg Collection. With a slight forward cant and bell at the crown, it’s one of a handful of updates on the classic Peterson dublin 120 shape that have been made during the Dublin Era (1991 – Present) that I want to explore in an up-coming blog. It has appeared in the fetchingly unmounted European Aran line as well as Lubinski’s sterling army-mount Kapreis.
The B58, the Starboard of the Iceberg Collection, is easily my favorite of the pieces in this set, making a billiard – poker hybrid that is so intuitively iconic you’d think it’s been around for a hundred years. What makes it even better is that, from a technical standpoint, it’s also a kind of rocking “setter” (and should have been included in that earlier blog), making it a great sit-down companion when both hands are needed. It was the darling of the 2013 St. Patrick’s Day release, and has also appeared in the unmounted Aran line and with an amazing Cumberland acrylic stem in the Kapreis line.
The B59, the third shape from the Iceberg Collection’s Stern, is for fans of the straight pot, which I imagine are legion. It appeared in the elusive Kapp Royal line for Lubinski, then disappeared until it resurfaced in last year’s Roundstone Spigot line.
The B60 is taken from the Bow, another charmer from the Iceberg collection. It is sometimes mistakenly said to be the same shape as the Hansom (XL26) from the Return of Sherlock Holmes series (1992-1997). It is not, of course, but is very like. The Hansom is a diamond-shank stack rhodesian, while the Bow is a round-shank stack rhodesian. On average, the chamber of the Hansom also seems to be about 5mm deeper than the Bow, but I could be mistaken in thinking the Hansom has a deeper chamber. Like the B58, the B60 appeared in the 2013 St. Patrick’s Day (such a bargain in both cases), as well as the James Fox exclusive navy-mount Black Sandblast line and last year’s nickel army-mount Derry Rustic.
The B61 first appeared as the Limited Edition 2012. It also appeared in the upscale, sterling-mount marmalade-stemmed Kapp Royal line for Mario Lubinski, and in the 9mm Dublin Castle pictured above, a great sterling-mount high-quality European blast line, with a P-Lip! My Dad smokes the Kapp Royal variant and loves it, not least because it’s another “setter,” and he can put it down whenever the need arises.
This beautiful big brandy derives from the 2013 Limited Edition. It’s a great looker and has since appeared in a number of lines. The Derry Rustic, Christmas 2014, and Donegal Rocky versions all feature identical machine “pineapple” rustication, probably seen to its best advantage in the warm tones of the Christmas 2014 variation. It’s also appeared in the entry-grade Killarney line.
In 2013, Peterson released their fourth Antique Collection set, this time the full-bowled, short-stemmed pocket pipes known as “Pats” in the 1906 catalog. The B63 is the straight billiard from the 2013 Antique Collection, and as I happen to own and smoke one, I can tell you it’s a great little P-Lip wonder, one of Peterson’s finest reproductions. It has appeared since in the entry-grade Killarney, mid-grade Derry Rustic, and high-grade Roundstone Spigot lines. None of them, of course, captures the original spirit of the B63, but there you have it.
The B64 is the other pocket-charmer from the 2013 Antique Collection. It has since appeared in the European 9mm sterling-mount Dublin Castle, the Killarney, and most recently, Derry Rustic lines.
This massive billiard seems to be the final B shape, taken from the 2014 Limited Edition, which was a kind of homage to the early straight-sided Patent Systems, unfortunately sans System, sans P-Lip, sans vulcanite mouthpiece (ouch). I think it has actually fared better in its subsequent multiple-line releases, which include the Killarney, Derry Rustic army mount, Rock of Cashel, Dublin Castle 9mm, Orange Army, and even in a Silver Cap natural. As an army-mount, I think my favorite is the Orange.
*The B Shapes:
Part 1 (October 3, 2016): https://petersonpipenotes.wordpress.com/2016/10/03/petersons-b-shapes-a-visual-encyclopedia-b1-b11/
Part 2 (October 17, 2016): https://petersonpipenotes.wordpress.com/2016/10/17/the-b-shapes-part-2-b12-b21/
Part 3 (November 21, 2016): https://petersonpipenotes.wordpress.com/2016/11/21/the-b-shapes-part-3-b22-b34/
Part 4 (March 6, 2017): https://petersonpipenotes.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/57-peterson-b-shapes-part-4-b35-b48/v
** In case you missed Jim Frenken’s comments back in February and March, he believes there are two bowls with this shape, one larger and one slightly smaller. The B21 is the smaller POTY 2004, while the B28 and B49 derive from the the larger POTY 2008. Jim’s measurements of his own POTY 2004 and POTY 2008, seem to bear out there is a difference between these two shapes (the black sandblast is the POTY 2004, the smooth is the POTY 2008). His top photo below gives a visual referent.
Bowl inner depth: 44 mm
Bowl inner width: 20 mm
Bowl outer height: 60 mm
Bowl outer width: 38 mm
Width bowl at rim: 31 mm
Pipe overall length: 147 mm
Pipe overall height: 75 mm
Bowl inner depth: 52 mm
Bowl inner width: 20 mm
Bowl outer height: 63 mm
Bowl outer width: 40 mm
Width bowl at rim: 34 mm
Pipe overall length: 150 mm
Pipe overall height: 85 mm
Pictured at top: B50 Kapp Royal