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346. A Look at the CP 308 Premier System & Its History

The Premier System Rustic 308 was released on May 19th as an exclusive through Smokingpipes.eu and the Peterson Grafton Street store in a total issue of 75 pipes and has since then been making its way to various stewards all over the globe. It’s the 6th release in the Charles Peterson small batch collection and richly deserves a moment’s pause to celebrate its considerable virtues (for earlier releases, see Post #315).

The Blaszczak Bros. Rustic Revolution

The sixth CP is the second to feature “Blaszczak Rustication” (yes, that’s just been entered in the Quick Reference guide of the next Peterson book), a style I and many others love (see Post # 269 on the work of Wojciech and Jaroslaw Blaszczak). If you don’t, no worries, as rusticated pipes have never by any means been everyone’s cuppa, hovering out there with virgin finishes and (not so many years ago) even sandblasts.

As the advertising text said, the shape first appeared as the 14, one of Charles Peterson’s original Patent shapes. Seen above in the 14A, it is very close to the shape we associate with the vintage 308s seen on the estate market. The main difference is in the width of the tenon/mortise connection, which would become narrower over its 70+ year history.

As a shouldered “A” and in its first documented appearance as the 308, it appeared in the 1937 catalog. The illustrator bungled the first line of the bowl, in my opinion, but there you have it. As a 308 it was the 2nd grade, or Premier, featuring the sterling mount and a bone tenon extension. At that time, the 3rd grade or what we think of as Standard, was shape 358, which is seen in the 1939 Rogers Imports catalog:

Again, while the artist did his best, the ferrule is quite obviously too short and the angle of the stem as it moves into the mortise not right either! Anyway, the shape went along, apparently selling well enough, until sometime after 1955. The Dublin & London catalog I have from that year has a DISCONTINUED stamp over the shape, and while I can’t say when the book was stamped (and what a labor that must’ve been), as a new catalog didn’t come along until 1965, the shape might conceivably have continued for another decade:

Here is the 308 most of us know, and a sweet one it is. Fast forward almost 70 years and true to its initial promise, Laudisi-era Peterson has been steadily at work bringing K&P’s great achievements back for contemporary pipemen to enjoy. Shape 14 is the latest of their efforts, which appeared as the 2022 POY (see Posts #296 and #297). Putting the bowl into the 308 configuration, of course, gives it a very different effect:

Three 308s: Standard Early Republic (L), new Premier Rustic (M) and Premier Smooth Early Republic (R)

Seen above are two 308s from the mid-1950s, a Standard on the left and a Premier on the right. The Premier Rustic is very, very close as you can see. One visual difference that those new to Pete World may not see at first glance is the width of the mortise and tenons on the vintage 308s as compared to the new one. This change came about slowly in most of the System shapes, where the tenon / mortise width became narrower. One consequence of this in some of the shapes was the necessity of drilling a narrower reservoir. When taken as far as it could go in Paddy Larrigan’s Premier Dunmore Systems, the reservoir had almost been eliminated.

The 308’s original reservoir is so fascinating to me because it more closely resembles the early Patent reservoirs than any other System pipes most of us will find on the estate market. Take a look:

What you’re seeing is a mortise-reservoir combination. This is just one giant, open cavern, rounded at the bottom (and what kind of drill bit was that I wonder?). And yes, it does fill up. Whether it smokes better than other System shapes with smaller reservoirs, I can’t honestly say, as there’s too many other competing factors to know for certain. Here’s the reservoir on the new Premier 308:

I have to confess that what you’re seeing above isn’t really the reservoir as received. It’s been enlarged just a bit from its factory diameter of 10/32nds (0.313 in.) to 12/32nds (0.375 in.)  The Early Republic 308s, in contrast, have a reservoir diameter of 19/32nds (0.5984 in.). For the metric guys (me, for example) that’s 8mm (current width), 9.53mm (my enlargement) and 15.2mm (the old 308s). Confused? Me, too.* Does it make a difference? I couldn’t say in a definitive sense. I can say that if you smoke high-sugar tobaccos (Virginias, for example), if the reservoir capacity is insufficient, the moisture will overflow into the smoke channel down onto the floor of the chamber. This has happened to me enough times motivate me to monitor the reservoir as I’m breaking in a pipe and if it’s looking like it’s going to overfill, then making the mod.

The stem work on the CP Rustic is gorgeous, I think. The P-Lip vulcanite stem looks identical to the design used until about 2010 on the 309, but actually it’s a bit narrower from the shoulder down, so I wonder if it wasn’t used on the 312s from a similar period. It’s too rounded at the top of the button to be comfortable for me to clench for long periods, but I cradle my pipes quite a bit more than I did 10 years ago, so it’s not really a problem, especially in such a graceful stem as this!

Take a look at the shank and sterling stamps here. Being upside down, it’s easier to see there’s four shank stamps. Each has to be done by hand, an operation currently performed by either Jonathan Fields (Production Manager) or Keith Healy (Pipe Manufacturing).

You may have noticed—as CPG Chris Tarman said in a comment—that there’s no PREMIER stamp. I wondered about this myself and don’t know whether that was just too many stamps or whether it got left off by mistake. Maybe the “CP” stamp supersedes the “Premier”? I don’t know.

I’ve only got one disappointment with the CP 308, and that’s with the lack of an aluminum tenon extension. All the Premiers in K&P’s history up to now have had screw-in tenon extensions, but perhaps there’s been a change of policy regarding the line.

The only other mystery regarding the CP 308 is that the chamber is just a bit wider than the POY 14B. Why that should be escapes me, as the two bowls are the same height. The diameter at the crown of the POY at the crown is actually 5 mm narrower (at 27.7mm) than the CP (at 32.3). It’s easily seen in a visual comparison of the two, but I suppose really not important as far Unsolved Mysteries of the Petersonverse go.

At the end of the day it’s just fun to see the 308 back again. It would be fantastic to see the shape reinstated permanently in the System catalog as both the 14B Deluxe and the 308A Premier and Standard. It’s a very feminine shape, quite different to my sensibility than the 11 / 312 and far from the Beefy 9 / 307. Its nearest sibling of late has been the POY 9BC, aka ‘John Bull’ (keep it dark).

 

CP 308 Rustic, Measurements & Other Details

Length: 152.61 mm
Weight: 63.20 g
Bowl Height: 48.19mm
Chamber Depth: 35.05mm
Chamber Diameter: 21.34mm
Outside Diameter: 41.25mm
Stem: P-Lip Vulcanite
Filter: None
Shape: 14
Finish: Rusticated

Oh, and if you didn’t get a chance to acquire one of these beauties, amazingly enough there’s still 28 available. 

 

 THE 2023 CPG PIPE

I heard from K&P today that our CPG 2023 pipe is in production! The final stamps are these:

Peterson of Dublin
Made in Ireland
2023
[Serialization Number] (x / 120)
PPN

Stay tuned!

 

 

* So yeah, I had to use a tire tread depth conversion chart to keep all this straight:

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Chris Tarman, CPG
Chris Tarman, CPG
1 year ago

Nice article. I’d been meaning to do a search of “308” on the blog to find out when the shape was last produced. Other than my new one, the ‘22 POY, and Samuel Clemens’ 14B that I saw as a kid in the Mark Twain Museum in Hannibal, Missouri, I don’t recall ever seeing this shape in the flesh. It’s a good shape and size. Makes me wonder why they discontinued it (along with the 4S/309).

You’re right about the tenon extension. I care more about that than the “Premier” stamp!

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Tarman, CPG
Chris Tarman
Chris Tarman
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Irwin

Well, yeah… I guess what I meant is that I don’t understand why those shapes didn’t sell well.

James Walsh
James Walsh
1 year ago

Hi Mark, glad to see this write up on such a cool release. I too was disappointed to see that it doesn’t have the tenon extension. I assumed it would since they are calling it a premier. I’m not so bummed that it doesn’t have the premier stamp but it would have been cool. In my mind it’s essentially a standard system with a silver ferrule. The other line that comes to mind that is similar is the System Connemara. Still a bit perplexing thought as I have three in my collection, one with the aluminum tenon extension and two… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by James Walsh
Nevaditude
Nevaditude
1 year ago

Thanks Mark for the great blog post! It is always interesting to learn more the variations of these shapes over the years. What history! The pic is great to see, if it is the ‘up & running’ of CPG/PPN 23, it is quite the tease. The closest group looks like, dare I say it? A Lestrade system pipe? I love that shape, or a 302. The next 2 batches looks like they could be very different maybe similar to a Straight system 31 but with a large bowl. Again, a great tease! Regardless, looking forward to the day mine arrives.… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Nevaditude
John Schantz
John Schantz
1 year ago

I love the shape of my 308 System 0. The well is huge, it looks like I could almost drop a US dime in it. I’m still bummed out that I wasn’t able to procure a 2022 POY Natural.

Bob Cuccaro/TLIP
Bob Cuccaro/TLIP
1 year ago

I am so glad I got one! Smokes great and I thought the stem is acrylic and do t mind the missing condenser :). Can’t believe they didn’t all sell out right away!

Eric B
Eric B
1 year ago

So, I’m just going to ask, is the picture in the foreground The PPN2 as it’s in production?

Wiz
Wiz
1 year ago

I wonder what drove the change to a smaller mortise/tenon connection over the years? Perhaps cracking of the stummel was more widespread with larger mortise hole? Regardless, the older models with the larger proportions have something especially visually pleasing about them.

William Auld
William Auld
1 year ago
Reply to  Wiz

Absolutely agree about the older 308s – beautiful lines that make this shape my favourite. I picked up the rusticated 308 Premier and it’s very nice, especially the stem, even sans chimney. Not certain about the drilling, but … At least with the one I received, the shape is very true, not wonky in the least. When I hold a 1950s 308 next to it, there’s a definite visual difference that I can’t put my finger on. The older 308 is perfect.

Marlowe
Marlowe
1 year ago

Another fun offering. The new PPN pipe is in production?! Yay. Maybe we could have a live reveal through Zoom?

John Schantz
John Schantz
1 year ago
Reply to  Marlowe

What is Zoom?

Last edited 1 year ago by John Schantz
Nevaditude
Nevaditude
1 year ago
Reply to  John Schantz

It became huge during Covid lockdowns in businesses & schools… (from the Zoom website)

Zoom is a communications platform that allows users to connect with video, audio, phone, and chat. Using Zoom requires an internet connection and a supported device. Most new users will want to start by creating an account and downloading the Zoom Client for Meetings. Others can review the variety of solutions offered by the Zoom platform and determine which one best fits their needs.

Kannady
Kannady
1 year ago

Great article as usual Mark. I had planned to wait on this one and try to grab one at the Nassau Street shop when I made my first trek to Ireland later this week. I have over a grand saved up to spend on pipes and pipe accessories only to find out today that the shop is closed for renovations for the next few weeks. I’m taking my 4 best friends and was going to try to make new pipe smokers out of a few cigar guys. What a disappointment!

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Irwin

I am curious, do they possibly offer a tour at the new factory?

Kannady
Kannady
1 year ago
Reply to  Nevaditude

So far, no. At least that is what they told me. Tours stopped during COVID and never started back due to the move and such.

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
1 year ago
Reply to  Kannady

Understood! Yeah, it really changed a lot of things. T’is as you said disappointing, but I am sure Ireland will be amazing nonetheless. I too hope to visit someday.

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
1 year ago

Hi Mark, what a fascinating bit of “edutainment” on the 308. As a few others have already noted, the older versions with the larger tenon / mortise configuration are just perfect in every aspect of the overall shape, fit, and feel of the pipe. I wish the larger sized tenon / mortise configuration was still in current production. It just “fits” with the overall shape of the pipe. And not only for the 308. The larger tenon / mortise should have never gone away, it would enhance a large swath of the Peterson catalogue of shapes still in production today.… Read more »

James Augustino
James Augustino
1 year ago

My firs Pipe ordered from Ireland, and I’m very happy with mine, shipping was Via UPS Sure post I think, the pipe is just Awesome STEM red over black rustication, I must say I like it better than the 9B revival, I wouldn’t have known about this release without this blog. And appreciate the follow up info on this pipe!

Lone Star Briar Works
Lone Star Briar Works
1 year ago

I would think the word Premier would signify the best smooth briar rather than a rusticated finish. Just my two cents.

Alex
Alex
11 months ago

Hi Mark, I was wondering if these pipes use any higher quality briar than the regular rusticated systems. Thanks.

Rob Scaife
Rob Scaife
10 months ago

Has there been an update on the CPG 2023 Pipe… I’m on tenterhooks!

Jonathan Umpherville
Jonathan Umpherville
8 months ago

I never did end up purchasing one of these for two reasons. Number One: I don’t care for the rustication because it takes away from the lines and look of the shape, one of the big things for me with pipes are the lines of a pipe and now they hit the eye and with something like the 308 with its ball body and thick upcurved shank, a very light sandblast or smooth is required to really show off the beauty of the shape. Rustication takes this away IMO, at least the current rustication used by Peterson (but works very… Read more »