Contributed by Gene Umberger
On my way to find something else not long ago I stumbled across George O’Belmitto’s article “Wally Frank: Tobacconist to America” in The Agricultural & Mechanical Gazette (4, No. 1, p5–7), produced by Neil Murray in Michigan from 1988 to 1997.* He makes this statement: “As the effects from the war faded into the past, briar again began to find its way into the pipe factories. Now Wally Frank began to sell ‘seconds’ from Europe’s major pipe factories under his own names. For example, the ‘Scotland Yard’ was a Peterson second, the ‘M.R.C. Royale’ was a GBD second, and the ‘Thornycroft Collectors Set’ was a BBB second” (p. 6). I don’t know O’Belmitto’s source of information, but thought I’d present this case to the Pete Geek sleuths.**
Nigel Bruce as Watson, Dressed to Kill (1947)
Mark: The best answer will be awarded the newly-minted Genuine No Prize merit badge or CPG if not already earned. I will post the winner and a debriefing in next week’s post. Watson, the game is afoot.
Sifting the Evidence
Dennis Hoey as Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard in The Spider Woman (1943)
(Do note the Peterson 4AB as well as the Peterson 307, minus its ferrule, in the pipe rack)
It’s worth mentioning that in my 1946 issues of Pipe Lore, there’s no ad for the Scotland Yard. The recent conclusion of the war, of course, meant that there were slim pickings for briar pipes in any event.
The first ad for the Peterson Scotland Yard appeared in the Christmas Issue of Pipe Lore: A Gentleman’s Magazine (on the front cover: “This is the Last Issue of Pipe Lore for 1947”). This is the typical larger format annual put out by Wally Frank. I suspect that 1947 might have been the first year the Peterson pipe appeared as Scotland Yard.
The Scotland Yard is listed in 1948 Pipe Smoker’s Catalog, but not in any of the Pipe Lore catalogs I have for that year.
As to prices you see in Pipe Lore, low prices and slashing prices are not uncommon. While this seems to be the first ad, notice there’s already a reduction in price from $3.50 to $1.79 in the 1947 ad. Is this simply an indication that Wally Frank simply wanted to move the remainder of the stock, or had it had been offered in the catalog earlier in that same year at full price? Or that he started off ‘claiming’ a reduction in price?
In 1949, the the Scotland Yard is listed in the Wally Frank New Complete Edition Pipe and Tobacco Catalog. Also shown above is the ad from Pipe Lore ‘Autumn is Pipe Smoking Time’ (Vol. 22, 1949, No. 2).
The Scotland Yard is next seen on the back cover of the 1950 Pipe Lore Sportsman’s Special (Vol. 23, No. 4).
In late 1949 or early 1951 the New Complete 1951 Pipe and Tobacco Catalog appeared.
The last appearance is in color, from the Special Christmas Edition Pipe Smoker’s Annual, undated, which I have tentatively dated c. 1961–1965.
“You know my methods, Watson. Apply them.”
Basil Rathbone as Holmes in Dressed to Kill (1947)
So, dear reader, what do you think? Is the Scotland Yard a genuine Peterson or is it a clone?
Just in time for this post, new Pete gear—branded silver-polishing clothes and two great Sherlockian leather accessories, the loop-style leather pipe stand now in oxblood and an octagonal humidor with a pewter handle of the famous detective. Strongly recommended! For more information, go to SPC’s Peterson Accessories page. I haven’t seen the humidor in person nor the polishing clothes, but they look great. The leather loop SH is a must-have for collectors of these pipe stands (like me).
Brian Heydn sporting Larry Gosser’s PETE GEEK T-Shirt
Pete Geek T-Shirts. There are still two XL Pete Geek T-shirts available! 100% cotton in the Gilden Dryblend. If you’re interested, they’re $28 each, including postage. PayPal only. Send query to email@example.com.
Pete Geek Zippo. Last call for the Zippo Pete Geek commemorative lighter! Two remaining. PayPal, 44.95 US delivery or $64.95 International (FedEx). Send query to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pete Geek poster. The posters have arrived and the printer did an outstanding job on Brian’s artwork. There’s one poster left, $25 US or $45 International. Send query to email@example.com. They’ll be mailing out early in the week!
PPN2 CPG 2023 Pipe. So, the response was insane last week. There are only 4 slots left of the 90 allotted to us! I did get confirmation from K&P on one crucial design element that I really, really wanted—and they can / will do it, so I’m pumped. If you want to get in the queue, fill out the GOOGLE FORM. There will be folks who drop out for one reason or another, so if you think you’ll be interested when the time comes, feel free to fill out the form. We’ve already had enough interest to fill the minimum needed for the 9mm batch.
Chicago Pete Geek Meet. No time and place yet for our meet, but no worries. I’m sure I’ll have it for next week’s post. If you’re attending, be sure to bring some Show & Tell.
*Per Pipedia.org: Neil Murray, also known as “Professor Stanwell Briar,” was the publisher and creative force behind the Agricultural and Mechanical Gazette, a bimonthly tabloid published privately that began in November 1988 and lasted until 1997 (Vol. 9, Issue 1). Steampunk….
**As to George L. O’Belmitto, Jr., I corresponded with him many years ago. My last letter from him dated February 5, 1991. He had opened what sounded like an impressive smoke shop in Boulder, CO, in 1990. I recently tracked him down online—he died at age 36 in 1993.