239. The New Army Filter Line and A Look Back at K&P’s Filter Pipe History

This Tuesday, August 17th, K&P will launch the Army Filter, its first major 9mm line since 1997. It’s got the Peterson house style down pat, offering a lot both on the outside and under the hood. For this first release here in the US, we can expect to see shapes 01, 03, 05, 06, 120, 150, 221, 230, 338, 80s, 999, X220, XL02, XL90, all in either the dark brown Heritage finish or black sandblast.

XL90 Army Filter, Heritage finish

If you take a close look at the XL90 above, you’ll see something old and something new in the newly-designed stem. Like the new Tyrone stem, it’s got a wide, flat surface that measures just 4.3 mm thick and 16.8 across on all four samples I received. That’s impressive, at least in my book, and makes for easy clenching even with heavier pipes.

The slot is also really nice. As you can see in the detail photo, it is sufficiently deep and well-chamfered to insure a great air flow.

The tenon is also nicely finished, and with the filter inserted the drag is almost identical to the System. Not the gigantically open experience some smokers prefer (which always feels like a Missouri Meerschaum cob with the filter to me), but not difficult by any means. Just comfortable.

03 Army Filter, sandblast

The other thing I want you to notice—as if you haven’t already—is the drop-dead gorgeous “Patent” swell of these tapered acrylic fishtail stems. I routinely hear from Pete Geeks who want tapered stems on their army mounts—their System army mounts (where none are to be found). If you compare this stem to what’s been available on K&P’s fishtail acrylic army mounts in the past, you’ll be immediately struck by its old-school curves and weight.

 

Filters in the US run about 18 cents apiece for a small box of 40 or 16 cents if you go for the large box of 150.

If you find you have to have one of the new Army filters but don’t normally use a filter, no worries. You can get an adapter like the 8deco 9 to 3 mm in a two-pack for two bucks or single adapters from Rattrays or Vauen for five. I’ve used these on occasion and can’t complain. They deliver the goods and bring down the air volume to the same you’d experience in a non-filtered pipe.

As for the stamps, K&P continues its reinstated practice of putting the company and line name on the obverse and the shape number and new oval MADE IN IRELAND on the obverse.

While I’m not qualified to discuss the 9mm smoking experience, I have seen enough Petes to express an opinion that this is far-and-away the finest filter line K&P has released. The quality on this (as on the Tyrone) seems to have taken a leap from previous new issues. I don’t know if new procedures are in place at the factory or what, but the nickel mounts are better polished, the finishing on the new acrylic stems is not only better but ergonomically substantially better than previous fishtail iterations, and the Heritage and black sandblast are crisp and really well done. So yeah, I really like the Army Filter. Well done, K&P.

The MSRP, incidentally, is $125. Depending on where you source yours, I’d imagine prices will range from $95 to $110 online, but I’m just guessing.

 

 

A LOOK BACK

Kapp & Peterson’s involvement with filter pipes goes back to Charles Peterson himself. Of the seven patents we know about, two involved filter pipes, both coming after the Patent System.

Peterson’s first patent filter pipe design dates from February 17, 1910, and involves a tapered filter of a “suitable absorbent material” and seems more like an idea he wanted to get to the patent office than one that  in actual R&D. The idea here is similar Missouri Meerschaum’s throw-away paper filters, although Charles Peterson creates a better air flow with the funneled chamber between the filter and the draft hole.

A second patent, from July 9, 1914, is fascinating in its details but also seems like more of an idea than something he was testing. It looks like a Patent System that’s been complexified by the addition of two more parts: an “absorbent wad” and a new chamber with an “absorbent interceptor.”  I’ve met a lot of people who will never smoke a System because the idea of actually cleaning a pipe is abhorrent and almost inconceivable to them. And even confirmed System users thinking about the cleaning ritual required for this pipe might legitimately pause before making a purchase!

Peterson’s first filter pipe, the “Good Health” line, came out not long after WWII. It is described in the 1947 shape chart as a distinct line available in 17 shapes. It accommodated a crystal filter and was fitted with a P-Lip.

Gary Malmberg has seen specimens of this line, but I have not. It was building on the idea of K&P’s Good Health cigarette filters that are first seen in the 1945 “Red” catalog, but I suspect the line did very poorly, as it is never seen again.

The next mention of a Peterson filter pipe came in the 1984 catalog brochure’s “triple groove air filter” Filter Pipe, also with P-Lip, white P stamped on stem. While not in the catalog, the previous year the Sherlock Holmes Jr. (a line made for the European market) was released in a 9mm version. There have doubtless been other 9mm lines or adaptations that I have simply not run across, and if you know of any or smoke any, do drop a line in the Comments section and maybe we can get some photos posted.

I just ran across one such example last Friday, posted at one of my favorite hunting spots, Briar Blues. Toward the end of the 1995 Antique Collection’s A4 dublin shape bowl run, someone had the great idea to use some of them for 9mm. As you can see from the photo above, the thick stummel is perfectly crafted for such a use.

In 1997 two 9mm filter lines were seen in the first edition of the “Black” catalog, one in a smooth high-polish red, banded with brass-nickel-brass, in P-Lip or F/T. A slightly higher grade was also introduced, the Dublin Filter, which featured a smooth brown semi-matt finish banded with nickel-black acrylic–nickel, also in P-Lip or F/T.

Two more 9mm filter lines have appeared since the Dublin Filter, the Cork in 200 and the James Fox 135th Anniversary Pipe in 2016.  Both of course were solely for the European market and primarily intended for Germany.

A Cork, shape 68

James Fox 135th Anniversary

…and of course, the Dublin Filter (first introduced in 1997) is still being made in both smooth and sandblast finishes, making it the longest-running of all K&P’s filter lines:

 

Many thanks to
Josh Burgess at K&P & Andy Wike at Laudisi
Banner and media photos courtesy Laudisi Enterprises
K&P Irish Made photo courtesy Briar Blues

 

 

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