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

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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John Schantz
John Schantz
1 month ago

Very nice sandblast on that 03. The bent sandblast X220? is nice as well, especially for not having any ring grain. I’m not a huge fan of solid stained sandblasts, but the black and nickel looks sharp.

Last edited 1 month ago by John Schantz
Jorgen Jensen
Jorgen Jensen
1 month ago

9 mm pipes are for Germans. I am a Dane. I picked one 03 up one morning at Dublin Airport without seeing what I was buying. I regret that. From then I have been carefull.

Martin
Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Jorgen Jensen

I am German and definitely prefer unfilterd vulcanite P-Lips, and of course non aromatics.

John Schantz
John Schantz
1 month ago
Reply to  Jorgen Jensen

I like lots of different pipes and lots of different tobaccos, except anything with Latakia (so far). I have filter pipes of all types, but smoke unfiltered 99% of the time. Most of the time, at least for me, when I have used filters, they “suck the life” out of the tobacco. If I had to use one, a balsa filter seems to let more flavor through. Carbon filters seem to mute the flavors more. I smoke lots of aromatics and they really get toned down by filters.

Martin
Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  John Schantz

Yes you are right, I bought a savinelli dry system once and it have some 6mm balsa filter with it. This little jawhanger performed very well but I almost forgot it when my Pete collection grows stronger. I know the Germans have some heavy aromatics but for a non filter user it just to mutch.

David F M
David F M
1 month ago

I gave up on filter pipes long ago. They’re just not for me. To each his own. However, I certainly do like the look of these new army mounts, and I expect I’ll like the new stem design. Personally, I’m hoping they’ll make the same two finishes available in non-filter army mount style. Mark: Peterson has been keeping you rather busy lately posting about all their new pipes (finishes and shapes). I hope you’re getting overtime pay. Based on the schedule from recent years, we should be hearing about this year’s Christmas pipe sometime soon (the Savinelli’s are already in… Read more »

David F M
David F M
13 days ago
Reply to  Mark Irwin

Thanks, Mark. Can you say something about how the army mount bowls are drilled? Specifically, I wonder if replacing the stem from another Peterson army mount (non-filter) would work? On the one hand, I can see from the drawings you provided that the bowls were indeed drilled specifically for filters; yet, on the other hand, those were navy mounts, and 100 year old drawings might not apply precisely to how the pipes are made today. I might just get one, along with an adapter, and give it a try. Still, I wonder what these new ones look like on the… Read more »

Martin
Martin
1 month ago

Hi Mark great article again. Nice read about this filtered Petes, in fact there are some lines when they come out you can buy just filtered ones like this system spigots two years ago .
I put exactly this adapter you pictured above in it and the pipe performed very well.
Do you have any news on the POTY 2021 ?

James Augustino
James Augustino
1 month ago

OH SH*T…… How did they know? I don’t know about anyone else but this is a red alert, all hands on deck, Man the Gu*ns kind of moment for me! And thank you mark I live your Posts and always look forward to them.

James Augustino
James Augustino
1 month ago

No P-LIP? Well you might not need one with the filter. I never smoked filters much either, but these are pretty nice besides a lot of people are going for 9 MM filters in Savinelli for more air flow here in the US. And I’ll second the question on the new POY 2021

David F M
David F M
1 month ago

Mark: I’ve been meaning to ask you for a while now, have you ever considered doing a blog post on the army style mount itself? When did they really start appearing? How much of what we think we know about the style is true versus myth? In your blog post #95 (Evening Collection) you mention that Peterson had army mounts in their 1906 catalog, which means that the typical “they were invented during WWI” response just can’t be right. So, what is the real history?

Martin
Martin
1 month ago
Hi Mark I had read this blog again and yes this Pipes are beautiful & very well executed.

This year I have seen a raise in quality and of course pricing.

Steven Hersey
Steven Hersey
1 month ago

I have never been fond of army mounts on aesthetic grounds, but these pipes look classy, and the dark brown stain is beautiful, working well with the black stem and silver tone of the nickel. A good article again with handsome pipes.
I noted the comment about army mount history and think it will be an interesting exercise for researching.
Thanks again. I am always impressed by your commitment, originality and abilities.

Gregory
Gregory
1 month ago

Mark, I have a “Royal Irish” 9mm pipe. It’s different from the Rosslare Royal Irish and others I’ve seen with that name, having no silver mount. Not really old – maybe 70s-90s? I’m away from my pipes at the moment but can send you a pic in a couple of weeks.

Linwood
Linwood
1 month ago

OH – LOOK AT THOSE BEAUTIFULLY TAPERED STEMS, and BEAUTIFUL BENDS! I am overjoyed!