The samples for the official Peterson Pipe Notes ‘Certified Pete Geek’ pipe are here. It seems like a long road, but it hasn’t been all that long since the Pete Geeks began asking about it. I’ll begin at the end with all the pertinent data you need to confirm you want one or wish to be placed on the alternate list, as I’m imagining there will be folks who don’t confirm and will open up some slots.
When. The PPN / CPG pipe will be ready around November 1st.
Price. $200 through SPC and €195 through SPEu.
How. You need to confirm to me at firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday, September 11th. After that, I’ll release any remaining slots to those on the alternate list.
YOU MUST INCLUDE which site you wish to order from and if you want the 9mm version.
9mm Filter Edition. If everyone who asked for a 9mm edition commits, then 9mm will be available. We have to have a minimum of six for these to be made available. If we don’t have six commitments, I’ll notify those who asked for one to see whether or not they want the CPG pipe in the normal System configuration.
Payment. I’ll send the confirmation lists to Laudisi Enterprises. When your pipe is ready, you’ll receive an email at the address you gave me with a link to SPC or SPEu, whichever site you chose showing your pipe, to make payment.
What. As shown in this post, you’ll receive a Deluxe System sandblast D18 oom paul, sterling band with vulcanite P-Lip and tenon extension, stamped and number in a sequence of 80 pipes bearing the “PPN” stamp, the numbering and “2022.” As far as I know at the time of this post, there’s no choice regarding either the number or the individual pipe—the sandblasting will vary, of course, from one bowl to another.
The Certificate / Merit Badge. For those wanting their CPG certificate and those wanting the CPG / PPN merit badge on existing certificate, just send me “proof of purchase” after making payment for your pipe in November. A phone photo will do, as it won’t show any of your financial information, just the pipe and that it’s been paid.
As I’ve related to some of you, well before the Peterson book was published I asked Tom Palmer, then CEO of K&P, whether a commemorative pipe might be issued to accompany the book. He agreed, although how to package and market it was going to be something of a challenge. In the event, Tom sold the company to Laudisi not long before the book was published.
I broached the subject with the new owners at the time, but—understandably—they seemed a bit preoccupied with just acquiring their first pipe company! So a few years have gone by and eventually I began dreaming we might do it for the 10th anniversary of the blog in 2014.
Irwin & Wilford at the SPC Peterson table (photo by Ted Swearingen)
While at the Chicago Pipe Show, Gary Hamilton and I happened on Sykes Wilford and Ted Swearingen around 5pm when things were slow. I think they’d had about all the espresso shots they could handle for one day and were glad the day was almost done. As I took some photos of their Petes for the blog, Sykes and I fell into a conversation about the really fun things that are happening at Peterson right now and somehow (!) the conversation veered into my hopes for a PPN pipe.
If you’ve never met Sykes, one of the things that I find most charming about him is his unbelievably infectious enthusiasm. As soon as I broached the subject, the fatigue of the day seemed to physically lift from his shoulders. With sparkling eyes (this is not sappy sentiment) he opened his laptop and began looking at inventory while telling me how a small batch is done, what can be done and what can’t and why. For my part, I was as nervous as a second-rate smuggler on Tatooine asking Sykes to build a hyperdrive so I could make the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs. For his part, metaphorically, he replied “Twelve?” he said. “I can do it in ten.”
Better than his word, not two weeks later Sykes sent me a video of the very first CPG pipe being blasted which I will share with everyone asap. In the meanwhile, here’s a photo of it he sent along:
Selecting which bowl took me a long while. I knew from the outset that I wanted something iconically Peterson yet eye-catchingly distinctive for the CPG. It had to be a System, but which shape? As you know, I’m quite partial to the straight-sided or dutch billiard for two reasons. First, because the 02 oom paul helped put K&P on the world map in all the politically-charged media coverage that surrounded a special edition of that pipe made for President Paul Kruger by his friends. More importantly, the 4S dutch billiard was used for the Thinking Man icon introduced in 1905. However—until the shape resurfaced as last year’s 4AB POY 2021—it wasn’t available, having left the catalog in 2013. (I did ask whether there were any POY 4AB bowls remaining but learned every single usable bowl was made up into a pipe. Josh Burgess told me that K&P would like to reissue the shape at some point in the future, there are no immediate plans of doing so.)
That left us with just the shape 8 and the D18/PUB. I do love the little 8, but quite selfishly I wanted a pipe to smoke for 2 ½ to 3 hrs. in the evening. Enter the D18, originally known as the 2015 Founder’s Edition POY.
The shape takes its inspiration for the FE from the magnum O [oversized] 2 shape seen in the 1896 and 1906 catalogs but scaled it down into a manageable size for daily use. It added a beautiful sterling Thinking Man soldered onto a double-beaded band. I really love this type of silverwork (done by retired silversmith David Blake) and hoped we might avail ourselves of it. Alas, after Laudisi bought K&P this type of work was abandoned.
We’ve got Glen to thank for so many great things at Peterson, and the D18 is one of them, as it’s his design. He told me recently, “My thought process at the time was simple, I wanted K&P to move into more ‘Classic Peterson’ shape aesthetics, especially for Pipe of the Year. Looking at the Peterson shape offerings around that time and before, the one thing that kept popping out to me was we are missing a true oom paul! That’s what brought the Patent O2 into my mind.” And it’s certainly been a great success, not only in limited release across a number of lines but eventually in Josh Burgess’s own design as the PUB Pipe, the first new System shape since the Darwin / B42 in 2009.
Before the PUB, the D18 appeared in a tiny number of Deluxe blasts with saddle wear-gap stem and Natural smooth with tapered stem. Fellow CPG Jason Kannady is the only PG I know who has the fabled Natural smooth and has, I believe, written in his will to the effect that it be sent to me (or maybe I dreamed that).
If we couldn’t get a tapered B wear-gap stem, I was quite willing rethink the whole project and find another bowl. This was a challenge for K&P, but Giacomo Penzo came through and developed one for us with the same shorter wear-gap as that seen on this year’s 14B POY. This was important to Josh Burgess, Managing Director, who when the original PUB pipe appeared felt the wear gap of the tapered stem at that time was too wide to be aesthetically satisfactory.
The CPG / PPN also benefits by the new deeper, wider three-stage reservoir drilling we’ve seen on the last two POYs. This makes a difference, folks, especially when the chamber is as deep as the D18’s!
At first I thought black would work, but seeing the original sample I felt that it wasn’t as spectacular as I wanted it to be for the Pete Geeks, so I asked Josh for suggestions. He recommended I look at the Irish Harp sandblast stain, and no sooner had I read his email than the tiny 25 watt bulb in my head (commonly used in older refrigerators) lit up. I remembered thinking when the Irish Harp blast appeared in June 2021, wow that wouldn’t this make a cool System finish? The contrast staining like that used on the Rua and Iora wasn’t an option, as it is reserved for PSB-grade bowls, and waiting for 80 D18s in PSB grade would just never happen, not to mention escalating the cost.
Other small-batch pipes have been issued all through K&P’s long history, some quite small in number and some in editions of over a hundred pipes. Glen Whelan’s Pipe Smokers of Ireland Facebook group is the longest-running on the hobby side. We’re a very small crew in comparison with that illustrious group. As Eric B. wrote in a recent comment: “pipe smokers are a small niche, Peterson Pipe smokers an even smaller group and Pete Geeks a tiny one.”
On the stamps, I wanted the year and “CPG.” Ted Swearingen, Laudisi’s Chief Operating Officer, was also a big part of the design process there at the SPC tables in Chicago. He suggested that “PPN” would be a better identifying bowl stamp in the long run. “CPG,” Ted said, is the initialism for consumer packaged goods in the business world—things like food, beverages, cleaning products, cosmetics—and certainly a Peterson pipe is never, ever that. PPN is a much better identifier, as pipe smokers seeing the pipe would much more readily associate it with the blog, both now and after the blog is gone. Ted is such a smart guy, and not just because the 12 1/2 System is his favorite daily go-to System. The moment for me was just one of the many examples of serendipity (i.e., Grace) that seem to always be in attendance whenever I’m on official Pete Geek business.
Of course it has the aluminum tenon extension or “chimney” as the old hands used to call it back in the day. And the embedded aluminum P in the vulcanite P-Lip stem.
Many thanks to Sykes Wilford,
Josh Burgess, Ted Swearingen & Glen Whelan
for help on the CPG / PPN Commemorative.
SYSTEM DAY IS ALMOST HERE!
You can still enter the Seven-Day Challenge to qualify for your CPG certificate or add the new merit badge for the certificate you already earned.
For directions on entering see the end of the last post.
And here’s this year’s tobacco mat you can download and print.
PPN 2022 System Day Tobacco Mat