You are currently viewing 319. A Christmas Pageant of Patent House Pipes: Act I with Marc Brousseau, CPG

319. A Christmas Pageant of Patent House Pipes: Act I with Marc Brousseau, CPG

Nollaig Shona Daoibh!

It’s beginning. While the Christmas season is almost over for many, for others—including myself—it’s just beginning after the long, dark wait of Advent. I won’t pretend I haven’t been listening to my favorite Christmas choral music for a while now, but the quiet and stillness that are so much a part of the season really only begin for me on Christmas Eve, about the time my wife completes her four-day baking marathon. It’s my earnest prayer that you find peace and joy to sustain and support you, your family and loved ones now and in the coming year.

Irish Times ad, December 1916 (note the new De Luxe)

For this year’s PPN Christmas, several amazing Pete Geeks have banded together to us give a three-day celebration, A CHRISTMAS PAGEANT OF PETERSON PATENTS, looking primarily (but not exclusively) at the House Pipe long-stemmed Systems of the Patent era. I’ve had a bit of experience myself with these incredible pipes and can testify that a System endowed with one of these beauties is a smoking experience like no other. But you don’t have to take my word for it, as today Marc Brousseau can tell you his own story with these amazing pipes.

 

It was about 13 years ago and my wife and I were in the old part of Quebec City. I popped into a tobacconist to buy a few cigars. As I was looking around my eyes fell upon something very intriguing, a pipe and Zippo box set. Looking a little closer I saw Peterson of Dublin, “Cool, a pipe from Ireland,” I thought to myself and proceeded to buy a couple of cigars.

Fast forward about six months and I’m on my balcony having a coffee with my Mum and smoking a cigar. The story of seeing that pipe in Quebec City comes up and she tells me, “I’ll get you a pipe, maybe it’ll get you off cigarettes.” We go to a local tobacconist here in Montreal and I choose the nicest basket pipe they have along with their best selling aromatic, essentially Lane 1Q.

“This is really nice,” I think to myself.

I buy a few inexpensive estate pipes but there is still something in the back my mind that won’t abate.

“Remember that cool pipe from Ireland I saw in Quebec City….?”

My first new pipe ended up being a Donegal Rocky 80s, which to this day is one of my favourite Peterson shapes—it’s a perfect execution of that classic bent bulldog look.

Now, being a natural collector of all kinds of nonsense since I was a kid, the itch to get more Petersons was beginning to mount. Estate pipes!!!—with eBay to the rescue—my first Peterson estate is an amazing older version of a Donegal Rocky 999 with a lovely craggy look.

The beast is unleashed and I dive in headlong, buying estate pipes virtually every week and some new ones possibly once a month.

The first Pre-Republic is purchased and a new sub category of collecting madness is kindled. . . . One after another, amazing little treasures are added to my ever-increasing collection until one day the little treasures stop.

An eBay purchase wound up being a huge surprise. A a magnum-sized surprise. I had won a nondescript auction for a nice looking Pre-Republic sans stem. There were no measurements given in the description nor anything for scale in the photos, so when I received it I was blown away.  My first thought: “I need to find some more of these giants.”

I eventually sent the magnum off to Dublin c/o Glen Whelan, everyone’s favourite Irishman, to have a stem fitted for it and bring the old soldier back to service. Glen blew me away when he told me that they had recently found some old stock that would bring this pipe back to glory!

Glory Glory Hallelujah, Glen came through. It’s no secret that Glen’s dedication to the Peterson faithful is top notch and true blue and we’re truly grateful to him for it.

As the years passed, I’ve found my collecting focusing on older Petes, Patent-era meerschaums in particular, and these wonderful briar giants when I can find them. Good fortune has smiled on me as I’ve found a few not only by my own industriousness but by the kindness and generosity of fellow Pete-collectors who have brought them to my attention. It’s worth noting that in our community letting your interests be known and listening and noting the interests of others is worthwhile, as everyone wins when there are more eyes on the prizes and pipes are brought to our attention that we would otherwise have missed.

Truth be told I seldom smoke these huge Petes as I prefer more conventional sizes, but from time to time a special smoke is called for and one of these treasures demands to be appreciated. When it does, the experience is like none other. My usual three pinches of tobacco turns into six then seven then eight, nine and so on. “Holy smokes,” I always think, “buckle up kiddo, you’re in for a ride.”

When bringing flame to the leaf it feels different. There’s a slight delay as you’re drawing air up 18” of stem. It almost feels like when you have a stem that is allowing air to pass through some space or a crack in a bowl that isn’t air tight. It’s not quite as responsive as my usual regular short pipe. But then it happens, the first little sip of deliciously cool tasty tobacco. My usual style of smoking is of the faster-puffing and definitely hotter variety. While not quite a freight train I have a difficult time training myself to sip even though I know the rewards. I tend to puff and puff, enjoying the thick billows of smoke.

These long-stem Petes by engineering have me smoking slower in steady sips. The smoke being so much cooler than what I’m accustomed to that if it weren’t for the sublime flavour reaching my mouth I would’ve thought my pipe had gone out. It’s like looking at the stars—what you’re seeing is light that has travelled light years to reach you so that you’re actually staring into the past. When smoking these pipes you’re actually enjoying the smoke from a few puffs ago as it slowly makes its way up the extended stem and has had ample time to cool.

Earlier this week I went out on my balcony to revisit one of these gems and it was below freezing. This can often create a wet, gurgly disappointing smoke, unless you’re smoking a System! (Mr Charles Peterson, you were a man amongst men and your design has brought countless into the fold of the faithful!) The smoking experience was cool, tasty, perfectly dry and noiseless. Not a gurgle, bubble or drop of bitter tobacco juice, nothing but deliciously cool tobacco smoke. The flavour I received was similar to the unadulterated one found from a meerschaum, although the lack of heat brought the taste to the front in ways I’ve seldom experienced.

My hand is rested on my lap cradling the huge chunk of briar and my neck only ever so slightly dips forward to reach the P-Lip. The slight warmth of the bowl feels lovely in the freezing temperature and I am reminded that life is truly good.  I am blessed and glad to be here enjoying this moment.

There is something I find captivating with these century-old chunks of briar and meerschaum and all they have survived and witnessed and the unknown-to-me joys and sorrows through which they have faithfully accompanied their guardians. Sometimes I also find myself wondering about the pipe’s future. Once my time with it is up, who will treasure it and enjoy it next? Whoever it is I hope he finds the joy and enjoyment with it I’ve had.

I wish you the same, as well as a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May all good things come to you.

 

…and I leave you with another wonderful Christmas card from Ralle Perera, CPG:

 

COLLECT ALL THREE!


Thanks to Brian Heydn, CPG,
artist and designer of the 2022 PPN Christmas Banner.

This is the first of the three panels, which when placed side by side will reveal his entire triptych. Right click the image to download yours & come back on Christmas Day for Act II of The Christmas Pageant of Peterson Patents and Boxing Day for Act III’s final installment.

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Stephen
Stephen
1 month ago

Mark,
Merry Christmas to you and your family and to all of my fellow CPGs!

Lance Dahl
Lance Dahl
1 month ago

Mark,
What a lovely start to the holiday. Marc has an awesome Peterson collection and really stoked my passion a few years ago when we started sharing House pipe photos. Way to start us off Marc & Mark!!!
Lance

Last edited 1 month ago by Lance Dahl
Marc B
Marc B
1 month ago
Reply to  Lance Dahl

Thanks Lance. Merry Christmas to you buddy

Harald Stoe.
Harald Stoe.
1 month ago

Merry christmas to all and a happy new year.
And thank you for all the good reading stuff throughout the year.
Harald

Gary Hansen
Gary Hansen
1 month ago

It’s always the simple pleasures
To all a Merry Christmas 🎅

Mark Domingues
Mark Domingues
1 month ago

Mark,
Thanks for putting out your blog on a weekly basis. It gives me something to look forward to each week!

Mark Y Berman
Mark Y Berman
1 month ago

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy New Years to everyone. Best for 2023!…..MYB, Houston, Texas

Eric B
Eric B
1 month ago

I was hoping there might be a post this morning in lieu of the usual Sunday standard; but a triple??? What a nice surprise!!! And OMG, what a HUGE pipe. Merry Christmas to all.

Marc B
Marc B
1 month ago

Wishing you all a blessed and merry Christmas, thank you Mark for allowing me the opportunity to share a few of my special Petes. I can’t wait to see the stories and pipes that come next!
Thank you for you passion and dedication.

Jason Canady cpg
Jason Canady cpg
1 month ago

Believe it or not Marc, we’ve been friends on Facebook for at least a decade. Now that I think of it your pre-republic collection is the first and one of the best I’ve ever seen and the inspiration to my pre-republic collection. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m not not familiar with that donegal 80 shape so I’ve learned something new as well. Pete Geeks, Marc is a wonderful steward of rare Peterson pipes and has one of the finest collections I’ve ever seen, from ember stemed meers to at least one Peterson gourd, his collection is world-class. Glad… Read more »

Marc B
Marc B
1 month ago

Time really flies eh! The friends I’ve made in the various pipe groups have been a real blessing and they are BY FAR the friendliest most pleasant group of people in any hobby I’ve been a part of.
I hope you have a great Christmas and wish you all the best in the new year buddy.

Ken Sigel
Ken Sigel
1 month ago

Marc, what a great journey you’re on, and so nicely described. I could not agree with you more about smoking the long stemmed house pipes. It is truly special smoking ecperience. Merry Christmas to all

Marc B
Marc B
1 month ago
Reply to  Ken Sigel

Thanks Ken. A very merry Christmas to you and yours.

marlowe
marlowe
1 month ago

What? A trifecta of PPN….what a great Christmas! Marc thanks for sharing that wonderful Christmasy flavoured account of your pipe experience. We actually live not to far from each other – I’m now near Perth – so under 3 hours depending on where you are in Montreal. Perhaps a road trip to Blatter and Blatter is order for me.

Peace and a Merry Christmas to all.

Kendall Boykin
Kendall Boykin
1 month ago

Merry Christmas Mark and the rest of you Geeks! I know this has been a tough year for many folks but this is a special Christmas this year! Many blessings to all and I hope your Xmas is just as special! Thank you to Mark and the community for allowing me to be part of this unique hobby. I pray everyones new year will be better than those before. Cheers and happy holidays!

John M Young
John M Young
1 month ago

Thank you for the great holiday read. My critical eye did pick up of one issue though. On “The Irish News”, dated December 24, 1896, there is an ad for Peterson pipes starting at 30 Euros. The Euro didn’t start until Jan. 1 1999. Yes, I used to teach English to recent immigrants to the US.

Merry Christmas to All

John Schantz
John Schantz
1 month ago

Dang, now I want to add one of those huge Peterson’s to my collection. I have a few churchwarden pipes, but not a single Pete and no house pipes either. I guess I haven’t met the right one🙂
It’s great that Peterson had a replacement stem to fit it that monster with.
Happy Holidays to fellow CPG’s and families.

Scott Forrest
Scott Forrest
1 month ago

What a beautiful collection of giant Petersons! Marc, I hope you get to smoke indoors today. You’ve got me inspired to light up my O1 for today’s special smoke.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday, all!!!

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
1 month ago

Marc, many thanks for sharing your group of giant Petersons. Mark – I agree those pipes, like the Advent season, would bring a patient anticipation then great Joy!
Another candidate for the next PPN? Thanks for a great read! Christmas joy & blessings to all! be well…

Last edited 1 month ago by Nevaditude
Nevaditude
Nevaditude
1 month ago
Reply to  Nevaditude

oh yeah Marc, I appreciate seeing in the background those Mad magazine covers of Alfred E. Newman. Takes me back to many, many hours of enjoyment reading while a youth … be well.

Lowell
Lowell
1 month ago

Christmas greetings to all you Peterson puffers and thank you to Mark for his weekly contribution to lifting my spirits.

motie2
motie2
1 month ago

Nollaig Shona Daoibh!

That’s a wonderful graphic!

Douglas Owen
Douglas Owen
1 month ago

Fabulous collection Marc. Ironically the 80s Donegal Rocky was my first pipe purchase when I was hired on at the Tinderbox back in 1974. It has been in the Peterson line a long time. I must say you have whetted my appetite for a long stem giant Peterson. Merry Christmas to all you Pete Geeks from a 74 year old Pete Geek.