You are currently viewing 317. The Fat Boy in K&P’s Collective Unconscious, 1916—2022

317. The Fat Boy in K&P’s Collective Unconscious, 1916—2022

Introduction

The great depth psychologist Carl Jung—a Peterson System smoker at one point—used the term collective unconscious to refer to ancestral memory and experience, one common to all. As many Pete Geeks know, Kapp & Peterson has always relied on the traditionally-Irish “sit by Nellie” apprenticeship of their craftsmen, which lasts between five and seven years.  I have said before that I believe this type of training—no doubt practiced since the company began—confers a kind of apostolic succession on succeeding generations of artisans. I think a case can be made that this kind of training therefore creates a collective memory that is inherited by succeeding generations in their understanding of house style and engineering. Certainly there are a number of instances in company history where an idea disappears and then resurfaces years or even decades later. When  Ben Ward from Australia sent me photos of an amazing 1916 Patent a few weeks ago, the thought surfaced again.

An early photo of Jung smoking his Peterson System 02 or 356*

So this morning I want to begin in 1984 (the middle), drop back to 1979, move up to the end (2022) and then circle all the way back to the very beginning (1916) for what is probably just a coincidence or may just possibly be a Jungian thread linking all three.

 

Part One

When Ben emailed me with photos of his amazing 1916 Patent, I had just received one of my “unicorns” or “holy grail” pipes. I first saw it in an undated black & white catalog illustration the late Chuck Wright sent me back around 2011.The photo, I eventually discovered, is from the final Associated Imports Corporation catalog, who was the K&P-owned US distributor from around 1968 until 1982. It’s a fantastic photo and was important at the time for understanding how bowls crossed from System to Classic ranges and changed pipe shape numbers—something which was very much up in the air at the time:

Note the fascinating stems as well as cross-reference pipe shape numbers. There’s two stems here we no longer see, one that looks like a WDC on steroids—the flared-shoulder seen on the 305 in the second row and the 303 in the third. Hold onto that image as I’ll circle back to it.

What I’ve been looking for since seeing this photo, however, is a 302 with the short stem (an AC or army mount / short) seen in the first row. It is positively chubby, a real Fat Boy, in its proportions. But it’s not the original-release stem as I first believed. The original release is found in the 1979 update to the 1975 Orange catalog:

Take a look at the 302 in the bottom of the first row. That’s the first official K&P ephemera photo of the 302. And if you want to see something really rare, take a look at the second row. The 2s at the top has got an F (Facing) mount coupled with the wide-flare army stem. It’s a great look, I think. The Premier sandblast (second down in the second row) and the Standard sandblast (third down, second row) have the same wide flare stem. Take a look also at the width of the tenon connection to the mortise!

A pipe’s aesthetic is comprised of multiple elements, of course, but when dealing with the System, the balance between stem and bowl is crucial. If the visual weight of the stem is insufficient to balance the bowl, the whole comes off as imbalanced. This is readily seen—in my opinion—in a number of Dublin-era and later Systems where vulcanite or acrylic stem replacements have been made altering the visual balance and making a poor show when compared to the original design.

The first version of the 302 is seen above in a recent photo from a Ukrainian eBay dealer. Ponder the aesthetic of the squat ball shape with the angles of the stem. It’s like gravity is pushing the pull down while the angular stem is thrust upward with great force.  To me this is extremely masculine, martial in fact, delivering the muscularity we’re accustomed to in much of K&P design language. It’s the kind of pipe a really tough guy smokes. I suspect it will part any crowd, separate the men from the boys, keep the puppies on the porch and carries its own Lethal Weapon certificate. It’s medieval as in “Don’t make me get medieval on you.”  I was the steward of two of these “first editions” for many years, a SPECIAL Standard System and the Dunmore 70 version.  It was true I could go anywhere at night without fear of reprisals, but machismo like this comes with a price and eventually I had to outsource them to younger, weaker men who needed the help.

Enter the “second edition,” c. 1982. Now this is a shape I can relax with. It’s fat, it’s chubby, it’s friendly. You can tell by looking that it has jokes to tell and humorous anecdotes galore. The rustication means it’ll literally be a feel-good companion, a pipe to relax with instead of smoke on the battlefield between air strikes.

The stem, it turns out, is identical with the stem used for the “first edition” 301, with only a slight difference in the bend. It’s the “Comfort P-Lip,” in fact, something that seems to have been made only between about 1979 and 1984. I believe the 301 and the 302 are at their most appealing and visually balanced with this AC stem. The shortness of the stem combine with the width from the shoulder up and the narrowing below to achieve a unity of effect with both bowls.

Just as silence is crucial in music, the slender tenon-mortise connection enhances the overall chubbiness of the XL302. The chubby groove is amazing.

Now fast forward to the debut of the Spigot System in 2018 with its abbreviated BC spigot (that is, tapered and short). As I’ve said before, I really like both stummels currently available on the 302, the ball version seen below in the original 2018 System Spigot release (left) and a the Fat Boy version from 2022 (right):

The current Fat Boy is so close to the 1979 and 1984 stummels that I really can’t tell them apart aside from a slight flattening of the newer one (which may be just me). Whether the two versions happen by accident in sanding at the factory or these are in fact two different bowls, I couldn’t tell you, but if I had to take one with me to Pipeman’s Nirvana it would be the Fat Boy.

A Terracotta 302 Spigot System, HM 2022

 

Part Two

In 2013 when we were at the old factory in Dun Laoghaire, I spent several idyllic days photographing all the incredible pipes still more-or-less on display in what might be called (a trifle euphemistically) their museum room. One of them was an amazing unsmoked 1916 squat tomato Deluxe System with a red amber P-Lip:

HM 1916 Red Amber Deluxe System

This is such a timeless shape that if you’d seen just the bowl in an SPC email update you wouldn’t give it a second thought—oh that’s one of those ungodly-priced artisan pipes.  Not realizing it was a Pete.

Obviously a non-catalog shape, these days we’d call it a squat tomato, the red stem only underscoring the fact. Visually it has massive weight. Just what we expect from Kapp & Peterson. In actuality it’s not much bigger than the SH or Pub pipes.

I thought this was merely a one-off design, which Charles Peterson seemed to toss off when he wasn’t shopping for briar in France or visiting his suppliers and distributors in Austria and Germany.

 

Then Ben Ward from Down Under contacted me about an estate Patent he’d just received from Davide Bollito at Bollitopipe.it.  Had I ever seen anything like it? he asked. Just its twin brother I replied. Both bear the 1916 hallmark. Different stain, different mount, same shape.

Davide told Ben the pipe came from a collector in Turin who had several Petersons, but didn’t learn where the collector found it. The leather bag, for a high-grade, dates to the Dublin era given its logo and the “established 1865” subtitle which was adopted during Tom Palmer’s tenure as CEO.

The bone tenon extension dates it, as we like to say, probably before 1963 (although some have turned up after that date as several PGs can tell you). The pipe’s been smoked, as is obvious from the tenon. The workmanship on the stem is incredible, as you can see from the bevel in the tenon as it transitions to the stem. I’m thinking this was a space-wearing stem, or as K&P now terms it, a “wear-gap,” but it’s quite small.

Measurements & Other Details
Length: 150 mm / 5.85 in
Height: 47 mm / 1.84 in
Ext. Diameter: 61 mm / 2.37 in
Chamber Diameter: 21 mm / .82 in
Chamber Depth: 37 mm / 1.44 in
Weight: 104 gr / 3.64 oz
Stem: Vulcanite P-Lip with bone tenon extension
Era: Patent (HM 1916)

 

Looking at the 1916 Tomato Brothers, the 1982 rusticated Fat Boy and the 2022 Spigot Fat Boy,  c. 1984 second edition, I have to wonder: is this a case of Jung’s collective unconscious at work in K&P’s factory?  Is there in fact some subterranean, intangible and wholly inexplicable connection linking these shapes, subtly but surely shaping the design language of our favorite pipes?**

With many thanks to Ben Ward for sharing his own 1916 Fat Boy,
to Davide Bollito of Bollitopipe.it
to Kapp & Peterson and to Smokingpipes.com

Dedicated to one of my heroes,
Our Gang’s Norman Chubby Chaney (1914-1936)

 

 

 

And if that isn’t enough . . .

A 2022 9mm Derry Rustic Fat Boy (German Market)

 

* This photo appears to be a poor scan from a book or newspaper in a short blog post on Jung’s enjoyment of pipes and tobacco.  If anyone can cite the book or newspaper or provide a higher-resolution source for this photo, please let me know. See also Chuck Stanion’s article on Jung at The Daily Blog.

** Or am I even further off my rocker than usual? Don’t answer that.

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Scott Forrest
Scott Forrest
1 year ago

Fascinating write-up. Those two 1916 squat tomatoes are amazing!

Gary Hansen
Gary Hansen
1 year ago

An enjoyable and informative write up. That tomato is such an interesting shape, love it.
Thank you

Martin
Martin
1 year ago

Nice sunday read. I am always fascinated by this great shapes and big amber stems.
Like to look at it in the Peterson book.

Andy Camire
Andy Camire
1 year ago

You have an eagle eye when it comes to comparing the slightest differences in shapes of stems and bowls. Only after reading your posts describing these differences does it make me want to go on a hunt for more of these elusive and wonderful shapes. Again, Thanks to your contributors and yourself for sharing these geek facts. Just amazing what turns up every once in a while.

Brian H
Brian H
1 year ago

Love the article Mark. This one helped describe or confirm (for me) the reason I prefer one Peterson spigot style over another. A wide variety of aesthetics, yet not all are preferred. Glad Peterson offers a solid collection of shapes, styles and finishes.

Al Jones
Al Jones
1 year ago

Ben shared his Patent estate find with us on the Pipemagazine forum, we were all just floored. I knew you would have great interest in this pipe and I’m glad to see it highlighted here.

Chris Tarman
Chris Tarman
1 year ago

I just got my first 2s (one of the natural rusticated Deluxes) a couple of weeks ago, and I’m enjoying it quite a bit. It’s a shape I’d never paid much attention to.

Those two 1916 tomatoes are incredible. They look so modern! I’ve got a couple of Bill Taylor-era Ashtons that are very similarly shaped.

John Schantz
John Schantz
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Tarman

Interesting that you say modern. I looked at that Red Amber Tomato and thought, “Now there is some old world craftsmanship”. It takes much more handwork to carve those “cheeks”, hence the reason “cheeking” is mostly non-existent in modern factory machine made pipes. It takes modern artisans to carve pipes like that, and more specifically time. They have the time to go the extra mile in their creations, thus bringing back that old time had worked craftsmanship. Craftsmanship at the modern factories still exists, but it is generally not allowed to express itself. Time is money.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Schantz
Chris Tarman
Chris Tarman
1 year ago
Reply to  John Schantz

Yes, I meant that they reminded me of current artisan pipes. Definitely not modern (or even very many old) factory pipes.

Scott
Scott
1 year ago

Nice article. I love the red amber stem on the squat tomato. Also, the 302 is a great shape, one I don’t have in my collection…yet.

Bob Cuccaro/TLIP
Bob Cuccaro/TLIP
1 year ago

Never been a tomato fan but the red amber is sweet looking! Love seeing the odd shapes here and there on EBay as well 🙂

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
1 year ago

What strikes me immediately is the outstanding grain that these earlier era Pete’s exhibit. Just remarkable grain. And as is the case of a photo, it is often times hard to discern the presence of a fill…but in these fine old examples, I see nary evidence of a fill. Just fine wonderful grain…oh where has that grain gone today? Mark, thank you for a fine review of these “Fat Boy” Pete’s! I’m glad I’ve got a few of the 302 shape, some smooth, some rusticated, but all good smokers!

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
1 year ago

Thanks Mark for another excellent pierce of Peterson History! Truly some beautiful beautiful pipes! ??Maybe a possible PPN# 2 perhaps done as a system like the 31? May you all be well…

Last edited 1 year ago by Nevaditude
Chris Streeper
1 year ago

I’m never not astonished by the amazing history of the Peterson pipe or the writings of the men who catalog it. Thanks for another wonderful Sunday morning read.

Sidenote… there’s no Chubby in the latest rendition of the Little Rascals.