This fall has been wonderfully intense for collectors of new-release Petersons, which began with the Halloween System and was followed in quick succession by the Rua Spigot, the Trinity Fox, the Special House Pipe Spigot billiard and now the Ragaire–and with two more releases on the way before the end of the year or shortly thereafter. 1
According to the Focloir Poca English – Irish / Irish – English Dictionary, “ragaire” can mean either “late-night rambler” or “strolling night-reveler,” which covers quite a bit of ground but seems appropriate in either situation. “Ragaireacht is the Irish word for late-night wandering, or for sitting up talking long into the early hours. A ragaire is a person who enjoys exactly that. Inspired by this tradition, Peterson’s new Ragaire series is a tribute to those who enjoy late-night wandering, rambling, and engaging in thoughtful conversation into the wee hours of the morning.”
This new limited Classics Range line debuts tomorrow, Friday, November 19th at Smokingpipes.com, in an issue of around 300 pipes. 2 It’s a black sandblast as you can see, with a thin acrylic fishtail cumberland mouthpiece. It’s being offered in in the XL02, 338, X220, 230, 221, 01, 150, 80s and 03.
The idea for the Ragaire as an unmounted pipe army-style pipe was conceived by Josh Burgess, managing director, in collaboration with Sykes Wilford, Glen Whelan, Jonathan Fields and Giacomo Penzo. Josh also pre-carbed a big chunk of bowls, as it happened to be a bank holiday and many of the craftsmen and women were out.
The connection to earlier Peterson history (and an inspiration in Josh’s design) is found in the early 1970s, when K&P released the Dunmore, an unmounted System and Classic range. The era “was an important time in the life of the company. It was the first time the factory came under corporate ownership and the same era when Peterson moved from the city center to Sallynoggin. At that time, a full Peterson catalog hadn’t been produced since 1906, and there was a sense that Peterson pipes had grown stale and weren’t keeping up with the times. The unmounted Dunmore System was an effort to produce a more ‘modern’ pipe that was still within the Peterson aesthetic. ”
In reality, the Dunmore was a traditional “navy-mount” tenon-mortise pipe and not technically an army mount. The Ragaire, as I said earlier, is a first for K&P: an unmounted army-mount pipe, offering the pipeman the ability to assemble and disassemble the pipe when hot. It can do this because “the stems are pressure fitted just as they are on traditional army mounts. Both the stem and mortise are tapered, ensuring a snug fit. While there’s no reinforcing metal band, the shapes all feature thick shanks and smaller stems to eliminate the need for a reinforced shank.” For both the Dunmore and the Ragaire, the idea is to create “a minimalist, all-briar aesthetic,” which they most assuredly do.
Both pipes I looked at show some great craftsmanship, which seems to be the hallmark of the Laudisi-era pipes, with centered drilling and no stain on the mortise walls. The airway of one had a bit of tearaway, the other was clean. The stamps on both were precisely aligned, as you can see in the 150 above. Even better than many pipes by a certain English pipe-maker, whose name I can’t at the moment recall, but begins with a “D” or something like that. . . .
Thanks to Josh Burgess & Andy Wike for their help.
Quotations are from copy provided by Andy at Laudisi.
Photos of Special House Pipe Spigot and some of the Ragaire pipes
1 The House Pipe billiard spigots were out and gone before I could post about them, but were amazing. According to Josh, there were 115 of these made. The SPECIAL stamp, which I haven’t seen on a new Pete since the 1980s, as you doubtless saw in the SPC email, “historically designated small batches of Peterson pipes marked by unique features.” In this case, the first-ever House Pipe / HANDMADE spigot. The rusticated, natural finish is spectacular.
2 For the purposes of this blog and the Peterson book(s), line refers to any pipes which share a name stamp and comprise a group of shapes; series refers to an annual release (e.g., the Christmas pipes) or a succession of shapes in the same group (e.g., the Sherlock Holmes pipes); shape refers to a specific bowl and stem combination that receive a shape stamp; collection refers to two or more pipes issued simultaneously as part of a whole (e.g., Great Explorers Collection); limited issue refers to a line that is small in number and may not be repeated; small batch refers to a small number of pipes, often in one shape but sometimes more (e.g., the Trinity Fox [one shape] or the PSOI.