You are currently viewing 273.  A Look at the Writers Collection (2010)

273. A Look at the Writers Collection (2010)

I’m convinced the glory of the Dublin era (1991-2018) will always be in the boxed sets that began in 1995 and ended in 2013. If we count the Pipe of the Year and a few strays, over sixty new shapes came out of those collections, forming the great collector’s legacy of the era: the B shapes.  The box collections were not only difficult to source in those years when the hobby was transitioning to the internet, but even when found they were far above my pay grade, which doubtless lent them some of their mystique. While I could sometimes spring for a POY, it was largely thanks to the trickle-down into the “killer B” lines that most Pete Geeks were able to enjoy them. It was such fun to watch and see where a B shape might surface—in the year’s SPD release, Christmas commemorative or in one of the numerous Italian lines for Lubinski.

Of all the boxed sets, my three favorites have always been the original Antique Collection (1995)the Great Explorers (2002) and the Writers (2010) quartets. Like the two others, the Writers Collection is a tightly-designed group of shapes that complement each other extremely well, playing visually like a great string quartet. The WC came in an era when packaging was still important, so the display box was a delight and nicely done. It is modest in proportions, but with the after-market chamfering of the tenons all four make wonderful sipping pipes.

The pipes were available in smooth terracotta, smooth ebony, black sandblast and pineapple rustic. The terracotta smooth utilized the aluminum embedded P, the other three reverting to a hot foil silver P.

The hotfoil P finishes: ebony, rustic & blast

The backstory idea for the Writers Quartet is a good one: take four of the greatest Irish writers of all time and devote a pipe to each. I couldn’t agree more with placing James Joyce and William Butler Yeats in the quartet. I suppose from a purely historical point of view I can go along with Oscar Wilde as well. But George Bernard Shaw? I can think of other Irish writers that rate much higher in the canon. While K&P has devoted a pipe (indirectly) to Bram Stoker with the Dracula, there’s some incredible authors that remain untapped: Maeve Binchy, John Banville and Roddy Doyle to name three. But there’s two absolutely inexcusable omissions: Samuel Beckett and C. S. Lewis. And speaking of Lewis, given his friend Tolkien’s deep love of Ireland, where is the Tolkien – Lewis set we’ve all been wanting (even though you didn’t know you wanted it until I wrote it just now). I hope we haven’t seen the last of such collections, but it’s been almost a decade and we’re into the fourth year of the Laudisi era, so my hopes are beginning to fade.

 

One of the last of the cardboard strutcards

JOYCE / B45

“Jests, jokes, jigs and jorums for the Wake lent from the properties of the late cemented Mr T. M. Finnegan R.I.C. Lipmasks and hairwigs by Ouida Nooikke. Limes and Floods by Crooker and Toll. Kopay pibe by Kappa Pedersen.” —James Joyce, Finnegan’s Wake p. 221.

Pace its description by a former copywriter at a well-known pipe retailer that it was good for “a few laughs” as “a novel egg-billiard hybrid,” the Joyce remains my favorite of the four pipes. It’s just drop-dead gorgeous, sinuous and seriously feminine. I would call this seldom-seen shape a tulip, and whoever designed it took the tulip bowl and through-designed it into the shank. Genius. It functions, of course, like the ever-reliable straight billiard in its engineering. If I were to review shapes that ought never to have left the catalog, this would be one I would have vetted.

Length: 5.61 in./142.49 mm.
Weight: 1.80 oz./51.03 g.
Bowl Height: 2.04 in./51.82 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.59 in./40.39 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.78 in./19.81 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.57 in./39.88 mm.
Stem Material: Vulcanite F/T
Shape: Straight Tulip

 

SHAW / B44

“If you eliminate smoking and gambling, you’ll be amazed to find that almost all an Englishman’s pleasures can be, and mostly are, shared by his dog.”  —George Bernard Shaw

The Shaw isn’t the first or even the second bent dublin in K&P’s catalog, as long-time Pete Geeks know. The honor of the first goes to Paddy Larrigan’s original 305 and XL305 from 1979-84. The second was the beautiful B10, launched with the Royal Irish and Rosslare lines in 2010 (although some call it a hybrid calabash / bent dublin). The next was the B30 / Suir, from the 2007 Rivers Collection, which was undoubtedly the source for the Shaw, although I think the Shaw improves on it with a flat crown and more sharply-defined angles. The Shaw, for my money, is the best bent dublin K&P has made from the perspective of house style: look at the thick, muscular shank, made even punchier by the high transition to the back chamber and the thick stem. Nothing can touch it.

Length: 5.08 in./129.03 mm.
Weight: 1.80 oz./51.03 g.
Bowl Height: 2.22 in./56.39 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.62 in./41.15 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.81 in./20.57 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.63 in./41.40 mm.
Stem Material: Vulcanite F/T
Shape: Bent Dublin

 

WILDE / B47

“You must have a cigarette. A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?” —Oscar Wilde

As a long-time champion of the preeminently Irish dublin shape, it floors me that currently K&P only has one in its production catalog (okay, I’m discounting the slender 124). If you look at the history of K&P’s dublin shape you’ll see this wasn’t the case in the Dublin era and at most any time before the Late Republic. Measuring the current 120 against its older siblings even as recently as the early 1990s, you can see where the design has somewhat decayed. By that I mean the classic dublin has always been slightly-canted but recognizably trapezoidal. The current model—let’s say from 2010 forward?—has become a boxy affair, a frowzy hausfrau who’s let herself go.

The archetypal dublin geometry is a trapezoid. When the trapezoid becomes boxy, the dublin becomes boring.

While perhaps unintentional, the two bell dublins of the B shape chart (the B57 / Port and this one), at least to my mind, push forward the classic trapezoidal dublin shape yet do so with K&P’s design language firmly in mind, building solidly on what’s gone before. The Crean / B16, on the other hand, is the kind of XL dublin that should have been in the chart at least since the late 1990s when the move to more XL shapes came about with the influx of the Sherlock Holmes lines. I’m always surprised that in the 14 shapes of the Sherlock Holmes series, not one was a true classic dublin.

Length: 5.82 in./147.83 mm.
Weight: 1.60 oz./45.36 g.
Bowl Height: 2.15 in./54.61 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.75 in./44.45 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.79 in./20.07 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.65 in./41.91 mm.
Stem Material: Vulcanite F/T
Shape: Dublin Bell

 

YEATS / B46

“We taste and feel and see the truth. We do not reason our way into it.” William Butler Yeats

Another impressive member of the quartet, the Yeats is not the only cherrywood K&P has ever made, as there is also the seriously deranged Magritte-inspired Hopkins . But it’s certainly the purest from a design standpoint. Cherrywoods, to quote the definition at The Pipe Guys, “are typified by their sitting position, which contrary to the upright Poker, is at an an angle, causing the bowl to lean forward. Its bowl is shaped almost like that of a tree trunk, often cylindrical, but sometimes with a slight to significant outward taper from heel to rim.”

 

Length: 4.82 in./122.43 mm.
Weight: 2.00 oz./56.70 g.
Bowl Height: 2.25 in./57.15 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.65 in./41.91 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.77 in./19.56 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.48 in./37.59 mm.
Stem Material: Vulcanite F/T
Shape: Cherrywood

Photograph of comparative Wilde finishes courtesy Smokingpipes.com

 

Sunday, March 6th, Todd Becker of Deadmanspipes will be several unsmoked SPD pipes on eBay, including shapes from 2010, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

 

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John Schantz
John Schantz
1 year ago

I love my dublins. I especially like my Shaw, with the Crean a close second, then the Suir.

Martin
Martin
1 year ago

I don´t have a dublin yet, but I will in the near future. What I have heard because of it bowl geometry it smokes phenomenal. I think of a 120 straight grain.

Ralle Perera
Ralle Perera
1 year ago

… ❤️

Ralle Perera
Ralle Perera
1 year ago

Regarding the Dublinshape.
I have a Aran 120. A Dublin shape…
I have had for a while now. It has just one small drawback. It tends to get hot. It does not matter wich tobacco l use or how gently l smoke, at a certain point it get hot.

Sigh…

What am l doing wrong?

Any way nice price Mark ?

Ralle Perera
Ralle Perera
1 year ago

A NICE PIECE … (sometimes the internet do not do as l want…)

Eric B
Eric B
1 year ago

A Lewis/Tolkien combo would be amazing. Perhaps a Dublin shape for Lewis and an Apple for Tolkien?

Andy
Andy
1 year ago

Lovely collection. I wonder why they never followed this theme up?

Fred Brown
Fred Brown
1 year ago

Just a wonderful piece, Mark. Can’t wait for a Lewis-Tolkien writer’s collection. Missed the 2010 Writers Collection, dang it. Won’t miss another if Laudisi grabs this idea and runs with it. Very enjoyable read. Thanks

Ralle Perera
Ralle Perera
1 year ago

A Lewis/Tolkien collection would realy be something. Is it something that realy will happen? ?

Lowell
Lowell
1 year ago

Mark, You evil, evil, man. Just when I thought I had reached the point where I couldn’t be tempted by any more Peterson marketing ploys, you come up with the Lewis/Tolkien set. You evil, evil, man!

Lee Skiver
Lee Skiver
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Irwin

Mark, I think you’ve struck on a future “thought experiment” and we all know that many of your thought experiments have ended in joyous reality (books, pipes, etc.). I think I speak for all, that we wouldn’t mind see this one manifest itself!

I also want to say that I appreciate your support for Ukraine… I have been and will do the same everyday!

Bob Cuccaro/TLIP
Bob Cuccaro/TLIP
1 year ago

I am tapped out for any more sets! I do have a rare natural antique 2009( with Zulu) set and they are still unsmoked. I like to smoke all of my pipes, but some remain as show pieces :). It will be incredible if Peterson creates more collection sets .

Ralle Perera
Ralle Perera
1 year ago

… or why not a THE INKLINGS PETERSON SET OF PIPES.
But then of course you would have to know if the others in the group smoked as frequently as Lewis and Tolkien did.
And then they where all British not Irish… and problaly smoked english pipes.
But the set would sure be a nice set.

R

Chris Streeper
Chris Streeper
1 year ago

I was always a fan of the Peterson special edition boxed sets, but like you mentioned, they were far out of my price range, especially during my early days of pipe smoking when I was living on the meager budget of an undergraduate. As a sailor and amateur astronomer, I’ve always been partial to the Great Explorers series but that doesn’t discount my appreciation of the other sets such as the Writers Collection… and moreover, the B shapes.

I always enjoy your articles. Thank you for your continued passion!

Fede U.
Fede U.
1 year ago

Hi. First comment/consult here. Do the pipes in this collection come with a silver band? Or is it plain nickel?

FedeU
FedeU
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Irwin

I thought so, but asking the erudites always seems a good call. Thanks