211. “My Practice-Time in the Firm of K&P”: Detlef Seiffert’s 1960 Production History

211. “My Practice-Time in the Firm of K&P”: Detlef Seiffert’s 1960 Production History

Seen in the banner above: William Conroy is “hand-fitting mouthpieces to some of the 101 shapes that find their way to 50 different countries” from K&P, November 1954. [1]

(Ralle Perrera)

Nollaig Shona, Happy Christmas! My gift to you today is an extraordinary, illustrated production history of Kapp & Peterson from 1960 written by Detlef Seiffert and Malachy Hynes. I wanted it to appear in The Peterson Pipe but couldn’t justify the space. It is so very rich that I thought this might be the perfect opportunity to share it with you.

Seiffert spent two months in early 1960 working in the bowl department as part of his preparation for his family’s pipe and tobacco wholesale business, Heinrich Seiffert & Sohn.[2] He is to this day remembered with great fondness by the retired crafts folk at K&P. Hynes was a prolific Irish journalist with a keen instinct for the finest details of human interest and provides us with several important facts about the “Kapps family” we would not otherwise know.

Detlef Seiffert is important to Pete Geeks for other reasons as well. He was Harry Kapp’s younger cousin for one thing. Detlef’s son Jan Harry was Harry’s godson, and was given his middle name in honor of Kapp. Jan Harry (who passed away in 2019) would go on to a career as an artisan pipe-maker and jazz musician. Significantly, he learned silver-smithing at K&P and would later design the Sherlock Holmes Hudson and Mycroft shapes.

Seiffert’s other son Oliver would run the family business, distributing Peterson pipes until sometimes in the 1990s. He currently owns Cigar and Pipe Shop Seiffert. It was Oliver Seiffert who sent a copy of his father’s typescript to Tom Palmer and Bernadette O’Neal in April, 1996.[3] At some point this copy passed into the hands of Pete Geeks, where it made the rounds. I received mine in 2011 from the late “Trucker” Chuck Wright, a passionate Peterson pipeman without whom we would not have been able to write The Peterson Pipe.

While most of Detlef’s photographs are unviewable due to photocopy degeneration,  I have been able to identify many of them, which were found in the archives at Peterson in 2013, and have included several here, as well as a few that appear to have been taken but not used for Malachy Hynes’s work. The typescript seems to have been edited by Harry Kapp in pen after it was given to him and then signed by both men.

Paddy Peacock turning down silver in a great unused photo from the Chamber of Commerce article

The account you’re about to read originated in a piece published in the Dublin Chamber of Commerce Journal in 1954. It had no byline but was reprinted in 1960 a slightly different form for the Irish Times, this time with Hyne’s name.[1] Wanting to be as comprehensive as possible, the 21-year-old Seiffert used chunks of Hynes’s earlier work for his own August 1960 “thesis project,” rounding it out considerably by including what he had learned first-hand in K&P’s BTA (bowl-turning and assembly), as well as adding  photographs of the craftsmen at work and some pages from the 1896 K&P catalog.[4] To give you as complete a history as possible, I have combined all three sources and sometimes given variant paragraphs in the annotations. For these I should perhaps apologize, as I certainly indulged myself. Do be careful not to imbibe too much at once. Sixty-year old Kapp & Peterson is heady, wonderful stuff. How much is too much, however, I leave to your discretion, wishing you all the joy of the Season!

 

 John Beatie is  “sandpapering vulcanite mouthpieces of ‘Bulldog’ pipes destined for the American market,” according Hynes from the 1954 Chamber of Commerce cover caption. From left to right above him are Theo Dunne, Willie Kelly And Frank Brady, “all BTA men,” according to Tony Whelan, Sr.[5]

 

My Practice-Time in the Firm of
Kapp & Peterson Ltd.
113 St. Stephens Green, West
Dublin 02
Ireland

in the time
from the 8th February – 2nd of April [1960] [6]

This is the thinking man, who smokes a PETERSON PIPE, and the slogan

Seiffert’s drawing of “The Thinking Man”

is a well known slogan in the whole world, and each pipe smoker must be proud having such a pipe in his collection. How was it possible, that the name of Peterson became of such value? That these pipes are on sale in every quarter of the Globe? To answer this question you must know something of the history and therefore I start with my story 80 years ago.

How Friedrich and Heinrich Kapp from Nürnberg and Charles Peterson, of Riga, met in Dublin about 80 years ago,[7] formed a manufacturing partnership, and left the name of their product literally on the lips of millions of men in 50 countries, is one of those real-life romantic sagas that now and then emerge from a study of the backgrounds of Irish Industries.[8]

Everywhere in the world, except the native land of one of the partners (which has since become engulfed in the USSR) the names of the German and the Latvian are to pipe dealers instantly evocative of the Irish commercial enterprise behind that picture of a thoughtful gentleman smoking a downward curving pipe – the internationally-known “THINKING MAN,” who smokes a Kapp & Peterson pipe.

There are 101 shapes of these pipes, of which 180,000 were sold last year at home and abroad. The United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, in this order are the concern’s best customers. “We cannot hope to expand our business any further, unless they take down the Iron Curtain!” says managing director Fredrick Henry Kapp.

Theirs is the only briar-pipe manufacturing concern in Ireland; but clay pipes are made by Hanly and Co., Waterford in the South-east of Ireland.[9]

Hanley & Co 1950s clay

Thinking Man’s Idea

The huge Latvian, when he headed for Ireland, no more knew of the German brothers than they knew of him. The fact is note worthy because it serves again to point the moral that business initiative, geared to a sound practical idea, can find its reward in this country as easily as in others.

The Italian, Charles Bianconi, was not so very long peddling religious pictures around this country when the idea he picked up en route, fantastic as it may then have seemed to most became one of the most enduring examples of private enterprise in Ireland.[10]

Bianconi Coaching (engraving by John Harris
from a picture by Michaelangelo Hayes)

The Kapp brothers had opened a tobacconist shop at 55 Grafton Street in 1874 under the title of Kapp Brothers. This was managed by Fredrick Kapp, father of the late Alfred Henry Kapp and Grandfather of the present managing director.

Mr. Peterson, who died 1919, had an idea for a new style of pipe, and he patented its two features.[11]

Setlef’s Drawing

This pipe had a bowl which retained the objectionable moisture in its well. In the well also the smoke was cooled. The stem, too, had a feature that was bound to appeal to pipe-users, for it led the smoke over the tongue, not against it.

Three Factories

Mr. Peterson’s idea, as pipe smokers have realized, was very good. All he needed was a partner who would help to put such a pipe on the market from Dublin. He joined the Kapps in 1895 and that was the first time the now world-known name of Kapp & Peterson was heard of.[12]

They started to manufacture briar pipes at 55 South King Street; by 1902, they had thrived to such an extent that they moved into the present very commodious three-floor premises at 113 St. Stephen’s Green. In 1930, the firm extended its scope abroad by establishing the factory in London which now copes with the British and Six-Counties trade, as well as with a considerable part of their general export trade.[13]

Two years ago, to obviate the difficulties of export trade restrictions in Australia, another factory was opened in Melbourne. Between the London and Dublin factories there are about 100 employees.

The manufacture of a pipe is one of the most skillful and personally-gifted of all crafts. There is no mass production in Kapp & Peterson products. Machines of various kinds are used here and there – mostly wood-turning lathes and polishers – but in each leisurely stage the worker’s skill is still paramount.

So it is a long, infinitely painstaking process in which the beauty of the pipe depends solely on the craftsmanship of the workers. Usually, the topflight craftsmen or women are born to the business and stay with it all their working lives.

 

Ideal Pipe Wood

Since all the very best briar pipes are made from the very best roots from the very same part of the world, there is absolutely no different between the four or five world-famous brands of pipes except that experience in the selection of the finest of the material and that sureness of eye and hand that give it its finish. A man has few more cherished possessions than his pipe, and the inveterate pipe-smoker soon spots the difference, so that even in the cheaper varieties a high standard must be constant.

The wood from which most pipes are nowadays fashioned is briar. “By long usage the briar has proved itself the ideal wood for this purpose,” states factory-manager Edward Clark, who has spent 50 of his 66 years making pipes and who keeps his own personal treasure-trove of 50 pipes constantly burning in rotation.[14]  Briar will not crack like, for instance, cherry-wood. It will stand up to heat and still afford cool smoking. The hardest of woods, briar is hardwearing in spite of its lightness—and lightness, too, is another great advantage it has over all other materials.

The briar that goes into the Kapp & Peterson product—and into all the world’s famous brands, comes from Algeria and Morocco. Corsica, Italy, Greece and Spain also produce pipe briar, but Algerian is regarded by pipe-connoisseurs as the most beautiful in its grain and in that complexion which it acquires with age, and pipe-manufacturers have long since pronounced its general qualities the most excellent for this one specific use.

 

Processing the Briar

The root, when extracted from beneath the earth of these dry climates, is like a knobby pumpkin of a rich brown color. It takes about 20 years for that plant (Erica) to develop a root of about nine inches in diameter (22.5 cm), and 50 years for one about 12 inches wide (30 cm). So your pipe, reader, is much older than you thought. And the story behind it, if comprehensively told, is much longer than could be related in just a few pipefuls while studying that pipe museum which this firm has in its Dublin reception room [italics added].[15]

Thoroughly cleaned and subjected to a process of boiling to eliminate the natural oils of the wood, and after being dried for several months, the root has become much harder, and at this stage almost fireproof. The pipes begin to emerge from the root when they are cut into small blocks of the rough general shape of the pipes. These are known to the trade as ebauchons.[16]

The biggest pipes are destined for the growing American market. As tobacco is much cheaper there, and as Americans usually have powerful teeth, they go in largely for very big bowls. Other countries, too, have their own special preferences in size and shape.[17]

In addition to the sizes and shapes of the product, it is at this preparatory stage determined which of the ebauchons are to become the aristocrats of the entire lot of them—these with the finest wood, the most artistic grain, and these other special qualities that endow the highest classes of briar. These are set aside for fashioning into the treasures of the fastidious pipe-collector, the connoisseur to whom pipes are as prized a treasure as, say, china art objects may be to his wife.

Pipe manufacturing is no mass-produced job. Wood-turning lathes and polishers are used; but in each successive and leisurely stage of production it is the skilled hand-craftsmanship, often inherited, that plays the main role. These craftsmen, I found, usually have been at this business all their lives, as were the forbears of some of them. Silversmith Paddy Peacock, who specializes in the beautiful-to-watch job of making and mounting those silver or gold bands, has been at the craft for 26 of his 40 years, coming to it through his late father, henry, and two uncles, Patrick and Tom Peacock. Paddy Larrigan, at 34, has 14 years’ experience, and can turn his hand to any skill in the entire process. His brother, Liam, is at the craft too, and so were his parents. His two aunts are in the same firm. Doyen of them all is 68-years-old John Naghten, who stains the pipes.[18] he started to learn the business 52 years ago, at 5s. per week. An easy-going youngster, James Nicholson, only 27 (who smokes at least 40 cigarettes a day!) effortlessly manages them all.[19]

 

Showpiece Pipes

The cult of this particular branch of the devotee of “My Lady Nicotine” is one of considerable artistic refinement amongst the richer tobacco enthusiasts, who can afford to keep on adding to their showpiece pipe racks. Such  men want, not merely the sensual pleasure their pipe brings, but also that aesthetic stimulus which they derive from the contemplation of the beauty of its grain, its shape, its lines and that mellow complexion that grows with its use. They will thinking nothing of paying five or six pounds, or even more to add such a treasure to their collection.

And there are some so fastidious that they will go the whole way of insisting that their pipes be specially hand-carved for them. Kapp & Peterson cater for this ultimate luxury of the pipe-smoker, and their hand-carved products are the gems of the factory [italics added].[20]

Those hundreds of other ebauchons which are daily seen by the examiner to be less gifted by nature than the elite described above are segregated for processing into the good companions of the “plain, ordinary” smoker, who likes just the nice, long cool comfort of a smoke from a pipe of hard-wearing expectancy and of dependable temperament, irrespective of its general appearance.

Most of these pipes, aristocratic and democratic, are of smooth finish, but there is another variety of a rough, mottled surface. These are blasted with hot sand until the soft grain in the briar is sheared off. The effect has an extensive appeal, and smokers claim that these pipes are cooler than the others.

How many of these bowls can you name by their shape number?

 

Nine Stages

Being now graded according to their anticipated potential of customers, the rough pipe-blocks are then sent into the factory for the nine stages of fashioning. These are

(1)       BLOCK FORMING

(2)       BOWL TURNING

(3)       MAKING THE VULCANITE MOUTHPIECES

(4)       FITTING AND ASSEMBLING THESE TO THE STEMS

(5)       LEVELING THE TWO COMPONENTS

(6)       PUMICING BOTH

(7)       “TELLERINING,” GLOSSING, AND STAINING

(8)       COLOUR MOPPING and

(9)       HIGH FINISHING

In the first process, the selected rough block of the bowl is placed in the chuck of a wood lathe where a series of knives are brought in against it, it spins until it assumes its intended shape.  Filed, glasspapered and pumiced the pipes comes to the bowl department.[21]

 

Bowl Department[22]

 In the bowl department the bowls are assorted in the different classes.


Detlef Seiffert in the front at bottom. Behind him moving upward are Tony Whelan, Sr.,
Dennis Casey and Noel Walsh.

 

Standard of Qualities for Briar Bowls as agreed to by
the
Chambre Syndicate des Fabricants (Pipe Makers Association)
at St. Claude,
May 1950 [23]

 “A” Quality     (or Extra) Bowls which are entirely “Grainy” and are totally devoid of black spots or plain surface (grainless)

“B” Quality     (or known as ordinary 1st Quality) Bowls in this part may have up to about 1/3 plain wood—provided that this does not appear on the front of the bowl and a few black—but not open—spots are also permitted.

“C” Quality     (or known as ordinary 1st without putty or filling). These bowls may have as much as ¾ of their surface plain, and black spots are permitted, provided that these latter are not open. “C” quality is really the “throwout” of the “B” quality, but in no case can bowls entirely plain be included, for these are without value are only fit for inclusion with the second quality bowls (see below).

All of the above three qualities are entirely without faults in the interior of the bowls.

“AB” Quality should be in the proportion of 3 “A” to 9 “B” bowls per dozen.

“XA” Quality  (or bon mixed or English mixed)  Grainy bowls with a maximum however of 1/3 plain (permitted on a few per dozen) and one to three small points which have been or are to be puttied.

“XF” Quality  (Mixed Quality or ordinary Mixed) Bowls which have up to 3/4th of their surface plain wood and with 4 or 5 small points puttied. One only larger fault puttied is almost permitted to be included in this quality.

“II Quality”     (French Seconds) Bowls with defects, puttied, which average about 6 or 7 in number. A puttied crack of about 1 cm in length is also permitted. Knots (which may be slightly cracked and puttied) are also included in this quality, and All-Plain are also agreed as seconds.

“III Quality”   (French Thirds)  Bowls which have defects or cracks reaching from 1-2 cms maximum. Cracked knots are likewise included, and no particular standard has been set as to the plain grain of the briar.

“IV Quality”   (French Fourths)  These are considered to be “usable” bowls. The putty and defects are frequent, but it is agreed that only bowls with  holes or cracks going right through the bowl or stem should be entirely eliminated.

Note:               In each case, the “Limit” of the quality concerned has been noted; in other words, better bowls should be included, but provided that there is a fair admixture then the quality is considered to conform to the standard agreed.

 

Taking the above list, the pipe-bowls are assorted in the bowl-department in the different classes. They are finished with the following names:

From the                   “A” Quality =  Peterson de Luxe

“B” Quality =              Dublin & London or L&D

“C” Quality =              Kapet

“XA” Quality =          “K” or Killarney or “K&P” (Mounted)

“XF” Quality =           “Shamrock”

The mistakes in the bowls of the lower classes are marked with a pencil, picked and afterwards puttied.

The Mixture of the “PUTTY”:

2 tablespoons white Alabaster

1          ”          dark brown Alabaster for dark pipes

2          ”         white Alabaster

2          ”          yellow Alabaster

1          ”          red Alabaster for light pipes

3          ”          gumma arabique

1          ”          fish glue

Mix both well and add it to the powder (gumma arabique in blocks, added to water becomes liquid [paste])

From the Bowl-Department the bowls go for their assembly with the vulcanite or amber mouthpieces.

The photo above and below are of the mouthpiece cutting machine.

Now the bowls and the fitted stems are leveled off by sandpaper face-plate on the lathe. Both are papered so that stem and mouthpiece are flush.

 

Silver Mounting

Silver Mounting is the next stage.[24] Though the fashion has almost died out in Ireland and Germany, many pipes for the more select clientele—Australians all want them that way—are supplied with mounts of silver or even gold, between the mouthpiece and the bowl. This is one of the most interesting of all the diverse operations to watch.

Sterling bands and sometimes ferrules were thus soldered as late as 1960.
Peacock is rolling the solder down a piece of hanger wire.

Paddy Peacock demonstrated this particular skill. One glance tells him how much of the precious metal he will need. Scarcely has he snipped it, stamped, than he has rounded it to the required fit on the tube of the bowl, and silver-soldered it. He slips it over a steel bar, hammers it lightly, and with a few deft flicks of a file completely obliterates all traces of the weld. In a few other moves, so fast that it is almost impossible to follow them, he has spun the edges of the metal and down to the precise curvature of the end of the stem, and into it goes the mouthpiece. The entire operation takes not more than a few minutes.

Subsequently, they advance to a series of polishings with pumice and tellerine, preparatory to the staining.[25]

Molly Byrne 

Kitty Kelly

 The stain consists of  aniline and vegetable dyes, mixed with methylated spirits.[26] You stain the pipe twice from the bottom, burning, twice the whole pipe, burning, staining again and rubbing and cleaning.[27] The pipes emerge from it green in color.  But they soon assume their well-known hue after being coated with superfine grades of shellac and buffed and hard polished by the finishers on their rough and smooth mops.

A small piece of block amber
from the K&P Museum

[While these photos were missing (I have inserted a photo of a small piece of block amber from the factory), the caption is important]:

Paddy, working on meerschaum and amber, the most difficult materials in the whole of pipe-manufacturing. You will see in the picture a big amber block, also amberoid, the two Meerschaum blocks and the finished Meerschaum bowls [italics added].[28]

 

 

“Tommy [Theo Dunne] pumicing vulcanites”

Astonishing Skill

Throughout the successive phases of the pipe’s evolution from the ebauchon stage, one meets workers who have attained astonishing skill in this one craft. On the three floors [of the factory] there is plenty of daylight and lots of room for each of the machines and its operators, and there is that friendly unhurried atmosphere about them that is conducive to individual devotion to the particular task they have in hand.

They take their time, the time it takes to do a job as well as it can be done: and if you should ask any of them, male or female, how a certain effect is achieved, their pride in their skill is manifest. Not all the oldest employees are the most skillful. Some, quite young, soon reach remarkable proficiency and versatility; but these, it will be found, are descendants of a dynasty of pipe-makers, born to the craft; operatives who can turn their gifted hands to any phase of production.[29] Mostly, they come to the factory very young, often about 15 years of age, and they stay there all their days. The firm makes this very attractive; there is a pension scheme, and any visitor can readily see that working conditions are happy.

 

Willy Kelly (husband of Kitty Kelly)
is seen in the upper right hand of this photo
of the St. Stephen’s Green factory.
The galleries and entire factory are illuminated,
insofar as possible, by daylight from the skylight.

 

For the Ladies [30]

The pipe manufacturing business is thriving. Men everywhere are going back to the pipes. But the day of women pipe-smokers seems to have died with grandmother’s clay “dudeen.” Exploring every avenue of possible expansion, this very progressive firm tried to interest the ladies, who now smoke even more than the men, in pipes.

The lightweight “lady-pipes”:
Belgique and Calabash (1950 catalog)

 They manufactured a pipe of such exquisite daintiness that it would probably horrify the sex that has always regarded the pipe as one of their last unassailable prerogatives; they turned them out in all sorts of colors to suit the whimsies of the modist feminine eye. And they actually sold those lady-pipes, and they are still selling them. But who smokes them Mr. Frederick Henry Kapp doesn’t know. He readily admits that he never saw a woman smoke a briar pipe, except one, and that was in London some years ago. What should happen should the airy feminine fancy suddenly adopt pipe-smoking on a universal scale seems to be one of the very few contingencies of sales promotion that the managing director has not so far thought of.

And, no doubt, it would pain him to have his artist change the gender of the beloved character in one of the most internationally-famed advertising pictures that ever came out of Ireland—that of the “Thinking Man” who smokes a Kapp and Peterson pipe.

Illustrated are a “Belgique & Calabash” lightweight companion, one each medium single and two-pipe companions, a tube of Peterson wooly cleaners, and a pocket Reamer. In the center is an example of a six-pipe window display case. Single cased pipes and Companions of two, three or more, have 1st Quality briar, are only made to order and to specification.

 

I stayed in Dublin for longer than two months and I had a wonderful time in the friendly and hospitable Ireland. My practice-time was not long enough, but I am sure that I learned a great deal of pipe-smoking.

For this time I thank very, very much Mister Kapp, Mister Dunn and Misses Dunn, who arranged this journey, the whole Office Staff and the women and men in the factory, and Mister Jim Nicholson.

 

 

Many thanks to Tony Whelan, Jr., Tony Whelan, Sr., Oliver Seiffert,
Tom Palmer, Josh Burgess & Kapp & Peterson for their help.
Most of these photos courtesy K&P.

 

[1] From the Dublin Chamber of Commerce Journal, Vol. 12, No. 5 (New Series), December 1954, cover. According to the K&P Register William Christopher Conroy (b. 13 June 1884) entered service at K&P in June 1902. He is listed as working in BTA – “Turning.” He received his gold watch in December of 1958, and died April 3, 1959.

[2] He was born in February, 1939 (email from Oliver Seiffert).

[3] Letter by Oliver Seiffert to Tom Palmer and Bernadette O’Neal, dated April 19, 1996, in the Peterson archives.

[4] The 1896 catalog has disappeared from the K&P archives since 1960, but Seiffert’s use of it shows that they still had a copy in 1906.

[5] John Albert Beatty was born April 1902, according to the K&P Register. He entered service in March of 1920, in papering and received his gold watch in 1970. What a marvelous emblem of service—the gold watch. How much our world has lost by not knowing how to create a work culture that allows this type of service.

[6] I have followed Harry Kapp’s corrections for the most part, but sometimes made changes to follow US spelling and syntax.

[7] Unbeknownst to Detlef, it may be that one of his forebears actually brought together George and Frederick Kapp and Charles Peterson. One of the signatures on Peterson’s 1872 journeyman’s certificate from Mitau (the old German name for present-day Jelgava, Latvia) is Julius Seiffert. Norma Kapp, the wife of Harry Kapp, implies in a letter to a family member that Charles made his way to Dublin via London, where he worked for George Kapp. It seems quite possible that Julius Seiffert provided a letter of introduction to the Kapp brothers in London. Oliver Seiffert tells me this is wishful thinking, I should add, as he has no knowledge of any such Julius Seiffert!

[8] The myth of Friedrich and Heinrich Kapp, accepted without comment by Seiffert, was part of Kapp & Peterson’s official business propaganda as early as 1960. Since Henry Frederick (“Harry”) Kapp knew who his grandfather, great-grandfather and extended ancestral family were, we can be sure that he approved of this re-telling of the business’s founding. Why he did so remains a mystery.

[9] Kapp’s penned editing adds: “They have ceased manufacturing since May 1960.”

[10] Charles Bianconi (1786–1875) was the Italo-Irish entrepreneur remembered as “the father of public transportation” in Ireland.

[11] Okay, so technically there were originally just two: the reservoir and the graduated bore. CP didn’t patent the P-Lip until 1898.

[12] Actually it was 1875 or 1876—but you know that.

[13] By “Six-Counties” trade, the article means Northern Ireland, which includes Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone. The Irish sometimes thus refer to the “Six Counties” (Northern Ireland) and the “Twenty-Six Counties” (Republic of Ireland). The London factory was therefore responsible for the UK, Northern Ireland, and based on a few specimens I have seen, Canada as well.

[14] A. E. Clark who entered service on March 23, 1953. The remarks column notes that he left on December 23rd, 1954. It also records that he was deceased in August of 1954. I presume it was a particularly cool autumn in Dublin that year.

[15] This is one of those great facts for the Pete Geek, as it reveals that K&P’s in-factory museum goes back to at least 1954. It was all boxed up when Laudisi visited in January of 2018. While it was in mild disarray when we visited in 2013, there were still numerous artifacts, pipes and documents on display. And with the current Dublin ban on a public tobacco museum in the city of Dublin, what could make more sense than to set aside a room there in Sallynoggin for those passionate enough to visit the factory? Even better, in these days of easy electronic shopping, would be the on-site availability of pipes for sale when the visitor has toured the factory and museum—an idea found in most factories world-wide, even in Ireland!

[16] Ebauchon briar blocks are typically cut perpendicular to the axis of the grain; that is, the cut is cross grain and typically renders birds eye. Ebauchon also typically has more flaws than plateau briar. Plateau, as the name suggests, is cut from the top part of the burl or parallel with the grain and has a rough pebbly top that can either be left exposed or sanded smooth. Straight grain shapes are normally cut from plateau.

[17] This is Hynes’s rewrite for IT, much funnier than the original, which reads: “The biggest pipes are destined for the growing American market. As tobacco is much cheaper there, and as Americans usually have powerful teeth, they go in largely for very big bowls. Other countries, too, have their own special preferences in size and shape.” I won’t ask how Hynes came up with the American = Big Chompers equation. He is, however, passing on K&P’s verifiable belief that larger Petes were in demand in the US, shapes like the John Bull, 02BB oom paul, 309 and 307.

[18] John Naghten was born April 8, 1891 and entered service with K&P at age 17 in April 1908. He received his gold watch in 1958 and died on December 8, 1964.

[19] This paragraph is by Hynes and is taken from his IT article.

[20] Another verification that K&P hand-mades were always available on demand by special order. Let’s hope for the day when Giocomo Penzo, K&P’s pipe specialist, is allowed to resume this practice!

[21] Here Seiffert breaks off from the Chamber of Commerce article, inserting information on how the pipe passes through the bowl department.

[22] The “Standards of Qualities” was obviously a document in hand, helping not only K&P fans but all fans of factory pipes to understand how bowls were wholesaled from St. Claude. Seiffert’s first original contribution comes at the end of this, giving us not only K&P’s recipes for fill putty but also in-house bowl sorting qualities. A comparison with the list found in The Peterson Pipe shows that they have not substantially changed but only a little more finely graduated.

[23] At Pipedia.org we read: “After a first draft in December 1900 under the title ‘Union des fabricants de pipes de Saint-Claude,’the ‘Chambre syndicale des fabricants de Saint-Claude’ (modified in “de la région de Saint-Claude’ before 1925) was structure from 1907, in the wake of the very harsh strikes that occurred in 1906 in the piping industry. At the height of its activity, it brought together almost all the manufacturers of pipes and accessories (pipes, ferrules, fittings, etc.) from Saint-Claude and the nearby region and orchestrated their relations with the workers’ union ‘Le Travail,’ public authorities and foreign markets, both customers and suppliers. After 1945, its activity was mainly carried out through organizations dedicated to issues of supply, export and advertising. It was put to sleep in 1966, the date of the creation of the Confrérie des Maîtres-Pipiers and finally dissolved it seems in 2007, its property being devolved to the Confraternity.”

[24] Seiffert resumes the Chamber of Commerce article at this point.

[25] This sentence is Seiffert’s, which he follows with three photos of craftswomen pumicing and tellerining. According to Tony Whelan, Jr., tellerining “was a prefinishing process whereby you rubbed a compound on a pumice wheel with your fingers and polished the pipe. The result was a lovely smooth feel on the bowl (not like the uneven feel you get on a lot of the pipes today).”  I have been unable to find any definition of the word online or in the OED.

[26] Here Seiffert resumes Hynes’s article with the final paragraph of the “Nine Stages” section.

[27] Seiffert adds this important sentence.

[28] K&P was still hand-making amber and amberoid stems and meerschaum bowls in 1960! Who would’ve thought?

[29] This sentence by Hynes was not in Seiffert’s typescript.

[30] This is the final section of Hynes’s article for the Chamber of Commerce.

 

Paddy Larrigan (left) and Detlef Seiffert (right), 1950

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Jorgen Jensen
Jorgen Jensen
3 months ago

Good morning, what a story. Glædelig jul til alle !

Erik Millqvist
Erik Millqvist
3 months ago

Wonderful reading, merry smokes fellow “Petefreaks”
God Jul 🎅🎄

Last edited 3 months ago by Erik Millqvist
William Auld
William Auld
3 months ago

A wonderful post! Merry Christmas to all!

Steven Hersey
Steven Hersey
3 months ago

Excellent post. Full of actual people with names and faces. I reckon a job at Peterson’s must have have been (and continue to be) thoroughly rewarding and fulfilling, hence the long term careers in evidence.
Great to see the photographs, too. Real stories, real people.
A Happy Christmas to you, Mark, and everyone else, with every blessing for the coming year.
steven

Speedy D.
Speedy D.
3 months ago

Wonderful reading, thank you. Merry Christmas to all you Pete fans.

Stuart Whelan
Stuart Whelan
3 months ago

Merry Christmas Mark, Thank you for the wonderful article you are a treasure trove of information! Also answered is why so many of my Petersons have silver bands 🙂
Merry Christmas to all, from Australia.

Stephen
Stephen
3 months ago

Merry Christmas, Mark! Thanks for a great article and pictures that show the individual craftsmanship that goes into creating our pipes.

Lowell Nussey
Lowell Nussey
3 months ago

Just got around to reading this. It’s a keeper! ~~ A blessed New Year to you ~~

Giacomo Penzo
3 months ago

Mark what incredible article you given us with this post, thank you for this great present.
Peterson never finish to surprise me.
Happy holidays and happy new year!

Giacomo

Bob Cuccaro /TLIP
Bob Cuccaro /TLIP
3 months ago

Wishing you, Mark, and all the Pete heads out there a wonderful Christmas season and a Blessed New Year! Great article and love all the old photos!

Gregory
3 months ago

Thanks for making this treasure available, and for your scholarship.