INTERNATIONAL PETERSON [PIPE] SMOKING DAY IS ALMOST HERE
IPSD is Sunday, February 20th. The theme this year is “Every Pete Has A Story.” Now’s the time to get your CPG (Certified Pete Geek) certificate. See the end of post # 268 for details on entering. Already got your CPG? Time to man up for your 2022 Merit Badge! Enter by Saturday, February 19th. For more details, see the end of last week’s post.
The second K&P release of 2022 happens Friday when the System Spigot Rusticated debuts. If you’ve been following Peterson for a few years, you’ll remember the System Spigot line debuted at the end of July in 2018, featuring a tapered vulcanite P-Lip and warm mahogany stain. The new Rustic Spigot features the same vulcanite P-Lip and the rustication technique of K&P craftsmen Wojciech and Jaroslaw Blaszczak that we looked at in the last post and many have been enjoying on a number of lines, including the 2021 Sherlock Holmes Christmas pipes.
While the spigot pipe goes back to K&P’s 1906 catalog, those were in the “PPP” (Peterson’s Patent Pipes) line of non-Systems which would, over the next century and more, become what we call the Classic Range.
Since 1979, the tapered F mount and domed beaded spigots. Left, a Classic Range XL02 Spigot. Right, a System Spigot XL02.
The Classic Range spigots debuted in around 1979 in two versions which I think of as “vintage” (the beaded spigot with the domed ferrule) and the “modern” with the tapered spigot and “F” or flat ferrule). A System version, however, didn’t come along for almost another forty years.
It’s fascinating to see the infinite patterns of rustication. Left: SH Christmas Rathbone 2021; Middle: 305 System Rustic Spigot; Right: 314 Standard Rustic.
At first I thought the new Rustic Spigot has a higher gloss than the SH Christmas, but I no longer think so. In a comparison of those with a new 314 Standard Rusticated System all three are identical in stain and finishing. The finish doesn’t photograph very well in the stock photos, at least to me. In person, the pipes are darker and I think more handsome, perhaps because of the way the divots catch natural and low lighting. The divots are rugged and seem to reflect white light shone directly onto the pipe. Compare the photos here and in the banner to those in the gallery at the end of the blog for some idea of how they’ll look under varying conditions.
As I don’t companion one of the 2018 smooth Spigot Systems, I can’t give you an opinion on how a Spigot System compares with the standard range of Systems. As far as engineering goes, since the tenon / mortise juncture is sterling-on-sterling, I think there will be better heat transfer, making for a tighter fit than on the non-spigot System. A tight juncture is important for the System’s army mount, as loss of air flow makes puffing more difficult and elevates the temperature a bit. Or at least, this is my theory—and if yours is different, do let everyone know in the comments.
A smooth, well-chamfered tenon
The bore on the stem is graduated and the tenon is well-chamfered, as you can see in the detail photo, which will make for good air flow. The spigot doesn’t, however, have a tenon extension like the regular Systems (built-in on the Standard and aluminum screw-in on the Premier and Deluxe). Whether or not this has an effect on the tobaccos you smoke only you can determine.
We get into difficulties because while the original Patent specifications specify that the tenon drop just below the chamber’s air hole. I’m all about getting Charles Peterson’s vision right. And yet the realities of the Systems I’ve seen, studied and smoked complexify things more than a little.
I think the System performs better with the drop-down tenon and freely confess my prejudice in this regard. But I’m not a fluid dynamics engineer. Not only that, but I’ve noticed in my own smoking a wide range of response in my Systems depending on what type of tobacco I’m smoking, not to mention which System pipe, how clean the pipe is, what my mental attitude is and on and on.
For me, the most punishing and unforgivingly hot tobacco (and thus in need of the finest System engineering) are my very favorites, the virginia family. Classic-style burley-aromatics like St. Bruno’s, Mixture Flake, Irish Flake, Erinmore, almost always work well for me in the System, while English-Orientals never have a problem–in my experience.
The pipes are hallmarked “K” for 2021, unsurprisingly. The stamps are all together and my only complaint is that like the original System Spigot, there isn’t a “System SPIGOT” stamp. While there have always been spigots by other pipe makers, K&P’s spigot has certainly established itself as part of the brand’s identity and I think it deserves to be recognized. If the Newgrange and other spigot lines deserved their own stamp, I think the System does as well.
One thing is certain: the Rustic System Spigot takes the most rugged System ever made (which would be the smooth System Spigot) and makes it just a little bit tougher. A rusticated pipe can go anywhere and is certainly up to a great deal more punishment and abuse of its finish than a smooth, and all without showing much of anything at all in the way of nicks and scratches.
Every System shape in the chart will be available apart from the two largest, the Pub Pipe and the bent House Pipe, making it easy for the pipeman to find his favorite shape and chamber. Back in 2018, I wrote that the Spigot System would probably only be around for about 18 months, which had been more-or-less the protocol at the end of the Dublin era. But it’s become a regular in the catalog and while no one’s told me, I can imagine the new Rusticatd Spigot will be around for awhile as well.
SYSTEM SPIGOT RUSTICATED GALLERY
Many thanks to Josh Burgess at K&P and Kaz Walters and Cassie Davison at Laudisi.
Stock photos courtesy Laudisi Enterprises