You are currently viewing 366. Gary Hamilton’s Nitzschke–Strickler Gesteckpfeife  (c. 1890-1920) Restoration & Its Connection to the Peterson System Pipe (+The PPN 2023 Sherlock XL5BC Has Dropped!)

366. Gary Hamilton’s Nitzschke–Strickler Gesteckpfeife (c. 1890-1920) Restoration & Its Connection to the Peterson System Pipe (+The PPN 2023 Sherlock XL5BC Has Dropped!)

The Forerunner of Charles Peterson’s Patent System

When Gary Hamilton, CPG told me about a massive restoration project he’d undertaken on an antique German gesteckpfeife or “arranged pipe” (aka Jaeger Pipe, German hunter pipe, German Porcelain pipe), I said I hoped he’d document his work so we could run it on the blog. Why? you are asking. Because, I answer, this type of tobacco pipe–as you may recall if you’ve read the Peterson book–had a big influence on Charles Peterson’s design of the System pipe.

In the Pete book, co-author Gary Malmberg calls the gesteckpfeife a “component pipe,” meaning that like the gesteckpfeife it is composed structurally and visibly composed of more than one part, the parts of which are somewhat interchangeable.  Modern briars, Malmberg points out, primarily take their design cues from “tube pipes,” i.e., pipes which appear to be of one piece. In Peterson’s current design language, think of the System and army mount ranges as descending from component pipes and the Classic range from tube pipes.

The Patent System pipe–and by that I literally mean the K&P Patent Systems that could be bought or ordered from c. 1895-1925 or so–borrow three important elements from the component pipe:

1. The foremost of these, of course, is the reservoir.  Of course CP’s reservoir operates on Bernoulli’s principle, utilizing the graduated bore.  Note, however, that even in the original gesteckpfeife there was an elementary understanding that allowing the condensate to drain away from the chamber would cool the smoke.

2. The second element involves the  idea of the army mount with its readily distinguishable parts. While it is nearly impossible to take a traditional tenon – mortise pipe and slap on a new stem at random, shenanigans like this are seen with System and army mounts in the “FrankenPetes” seen regularly on eBay, where a smoker has lost or destroyed a System stem and tried to replace it with something else.

3. The third element concerns the “component” aspect of a Patent System back in the day. During the Patent era, as seen in the 1896 and 1906 catalogs, pipemen could select bowl and then choose a mounting style and then choose a stem, in much the same way a  gesteckpfeife was assembled. I might choose, say, a shape 9 bowl and then go for a “Facing” or flat mount and then choose a House Pipe-length stem of 9 inches. Or go the opposite way and choose an almost nose-warmer lengths of the BC and SC short tapered and saddle stems.

While Systems have not been sold as components for a hundred or so years now, we still get a vestigial reminder of this principle when K&P rings changes on on the various bowl shapes. The Short Army is a recent occurrence, utilizing a short P-Lip stem on Classic range bowls that we’re used to seeing with longer F/T stems.  Another example occurs when we think of the long, large and graceful XL5S we normally see and exchanging that long saddle stem with the BC stem on the upcoming Pete Geek XL5BC.

All of which is to say that Gary’s giving us a fascinating, thoroughly documented look not only at a pipe restoration, but at restoring a gesteckpfeife. which we might think of as the grandfather of the System. For myself, I have no doubt that, genius as he was, CP would have assimilated the designs and aesthetics of the pipe industry of his day when he was in the shop, working on what would become the world’s greatest pipe, the System.

–Mark

 

Restoring the Nitzschke – Strickler Gesteckpfeife
by Gary Hamilton

The Backstory & Family History:

There is always a “first”. When Melissa Strickler asked me if I would be interested in taking a look at her great-grandfather’s pipe to see if it could be restored, I said, “Sure”. After all, that’s what I do, restore old pipes. So, Melissa boxed up the pipe and sent it to me.

I’m thinking that this will be a pipe typical of what our grandfathers smoked, the ubiquitous “drug-store” pipe. You know, the kind made out of briar burl, about five or six inches in length, and most likely with the ever present chewed up hard rubber stem, now thoroughly oxidized from the ages. Nope, that wasn’t it at all.

To my surprise, the post office clerk hands me a very long and large box. I’m thinking to myself, I don’t recall ordering anything recently that would be contained in a box such as this.

Then I see the return address as Strickler – Lander, Wyoming. Oh my. Is this the pipe that Melissa has sent, good grief, why the large box? Ok, so now we know it was anything but the typical drug-store pipe. Well, this will certainly be a “first” for my pipe restoration repertoire.

Carefully opening the box, I laid out the pipe on my workbench to see what in the world I had gotten myself into. This pipe has a lot of “parts”. I think it is appropriate to mention at this time that the style of this pipe is called a “Gesteckpfeife.”  The literal translation of this German word means  “A Pipe In Parts.” And that’s what I had, a box of pipe parts! Oh boy as I thought to myself, can we ever get Humpty Dumpty put back together again?

Over the years I have restored many pipes, most of them old. “Old” to me being at least seventy to one hundred years old. Often during the restoration process, I’ve wondered about who was the previous owner and the journeys that the pipe was a companion to. Unfortunately, wonder is all that I can achieve. As most often, these old pipes come with no story or history. However, the Nitzschke – Strickler pipe has provenance! And from the records, we might be able to weave together some history of this fine old pipe.

The pipe originally belonged to Robert Bruno Nitzschke, born 29 October 1873, in Germany. It is not known when exactly that Robert Bruno immigrated from Germany to the United States. However, based on the earliest era of when the pipe was made, given around the early 1890’s, Robert Bruno would have been in his late teens or early twenties at the time this pipe was made. Such an age would have been reasonable for one to set out and make his fortune in America. As a going away remembrance of the “old country”, a fine porcelain pipe such as this, would have been the ideal gift from the family. Well, it sounds plausible, and I like the image it evokes.

Genealogy and census research indicates that Robert Bruno was a carriage maker, and had a business in Waco, Texas. Robert Bruno passed away 10 December 1931, at the age of 58. He and his wife Olga, are buried in the Calvary Cemetery located in Marlin, Texas.

Waco Carriage Shop – Date Unknown
It Is Believed That Robert Bruno Nitzschke Is The Gentleman On The Right

Regardless of how Robert Bruno came to have the pipe initially, we do know that the second generation of the Nitzschke family to care for the pipe was Edward Henry Nitzschke, Robert Bruno’s son. Edward Henry was born 29 April 1903 in Texas. Following Edward Henry’s death in 1969, his daughter, Mildred, became the third generation to inherit her father’s and grandfather’s pipe.

The Nitzschke-Strickler pipe subsequently made it to the daughter of Mildred, Melissa Strickler, the fourth generation in the Nitzschke family to have the pipe. After being stored away for several years, it was time to prepare the pipe for yet another generation to become the caretaker of Robert Bruno’s pipe.

Upon completion of the restoration of the Nitzschke-Strickler pipe, it has been presented to Maxwell Strickler, the son of Bob and Melissa Strickler, of Lander, Wyoming. I envision the tradition of handing down Robert Bruno’s pipe from generation to generation will be continued. Max, and his wife Jordan, have two wonderful daughters that will one day carry on the tradition of caring for, and then handing this pipe on to the next generation.

 

About The Restoration:

I think for about one month I literally stared at the parts on my workbench, contemplating on what needed to be done, and how to even begin. I needed a history lesson about the European porcelain pipe, as this was something entirely new to me. I was vaguely aware of this type pipe, but never having owned or worked on one, figured it best to get some knowledge. Fortunately, in the pipe collecting community, there are a lot of historians. In the book, The European Porcelain Tobacco Pipe (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2014), by Dr. Sarunus Peckus and Ben Rapaport, I found what I was looking for.

The following is a little bit of history regarding the porcelain pipe. In the eighteenth century, the French began to utilize hard paste porcelain techniques adopted from the Chinese. Various objects were being made from porcelain at this time, mostly decorative in nature. And the pipe bowls made from porcelain were certainly decorative!

Around the same time period, porcelain pipe bowls began to appear in Germany. The shape and style of the French and German made porcelain bowls were very similar. It is not known as to whom copied the other’s work, but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. (1)  In 1708, it is reported that Count Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus developed the first European hard-paste porcelain, the Germans referred to it as “white gold.” (2)  One of the most prolific German porcelain manufactories was located in the town of Meissen. It was here the various porcelain pipe bowls were made, from very ornate to the simple. It wasn’t until the nineteenth century that German porcelain pipe manufacture progressed to its pinnacle. In the progression of German porcelain pipe development, the Gesteckpfeife style of pipe was born. This progression represented a new and improved pipe style, being literally a pipe of parts. At this same time the art of Lupenmaleri, or miniature painting, was now being applied to the porcelain pipe bowl. (3)  The miniature paintings were performed by artists known as Hausmalers.

However, toward the end of the nineteenth century, the briar pipe had started to surpass the porcelain as the pipe of choice among pipe smokers. Porcelain pipe production began to wane. Hausmalers were slowly phased out with the advent of a newly developed transfer printing process. This method of printing allowed an image to be quickly, and repeatedly, applied to the porcelain pipe bowl, without the tedious hand work previously performed by the Hausmalers. By the mid-twentieth century, only a few pipe houses were still making porcelains, mostly for the souvenir trade, and the quality of such pipes declined significantly from their previous glory.

 

Gesteckpfeife Nomenclature:

I thought it would be interesting to provide the proper anatomical names for the various parts of the Gesteckpfeife in German. Working from the top of the pipe downward, the German names for the parts are: (4)

MOUTHPIECE = Mundstuck, or Spitze

STEM = Rohr, and Schlauch (the latter being the upper flexible horsehair covered section)

WIND COVER = Deckel

BOWL = Stummel, or Kopf

RESERVOIR = Pfeifensack, Suddersack, or Wassersack

RETAINING CORD = Schnure, or Kordel

DECORATIVE TASSELS = Quasten

 

The Restoration Process:

I’m not sure why, but I wanted to start the restoration with the mouthpiece and stem. This component seemed to be the worse for wear, exhibiting a lot of damage. I don’t know what exactly “eats” horn, but something feasted on the horn mouthpiece over the years, as evident by the numerous holes and missing material, apparently eaten away. And, I was just curious to find out what was under the string that had been so crudely wrapped around a portion of the stem at some point in the past.

Damaged Mouthpiece

Removal Of The Cotton Cord Showing Additional Bug Eaten Portions Of The Flexible Stem Portion

Interestingly, The Braided Portion Is Of Some Type Of Cotton, Not Horsehair

This Helps Place The Era Of The Pipe No Earlier Than The 1890’s

 

The Connector Piece That Is Used To Join the Upper Flexible Portion Of The Stem To The Solid Cherry Wood Stem Also Exhibits Irreparable Damage

Interestingly, All Of These Components Are Threaded Together For Assembly

A Pipe Of Parts!

I think that it was at about this part of the restoration process that I really began to have some doubts on the feasibility of getting this pipe back into a restored condition, and still retain the originality of the pipe, to the best extent possible. I think another month passed while I thought of ideas to “patch up” what I had. In the end I realized that there was not much left that could be salvaged of the original mouthpiece and upper portion of the flexible stem.

Off to the internet in search of a solution. What I did find was a close match for a replacement stem and mouthpiece, from a donor pipe in Holland. Soon enough I had the replacement donor part on the workbench to see what could be accomplished.

Replacement Donor Mouthpiece & Stem (top) Being Compared To The Original

Well, as predictable as the sun is going to shine tomorrow, the threads on the donor stem connector were not of the correct type to fit onto the threads of the cherry wood stem of the original pipe. I needed a crossover adapter! Back to the inter-webs for a search. But this time I knew what I was looking for, a section of buffalo horn. Going to one of my pipe maker supply providers, I procured a nice section of buffalo horn and made the needed crossover adapter.

On The Left Is The New Piece Of Buffalo Horn That I’ve Turned Into A Cylindrical Shape

New Threads Were Cut To Fit Onto The Original Cherry Wood Stem

On The Right Is The Pipe’s Original Connector Piece

The Provider Of The Horn Did A Good Job On The Color Match

 

Using The Lathe, I Started Shaping The New Connector Piece To “As Close As Possible” To The Original Shape

Final Shaping Almost Done

It May Not Be Exact To The Original, But Should Blend To The Original Pipe Without Being Noticed As A Replacement Piece

The Replacement Connector All Polished Up and Ready For The Next Operation

A Bolt Was Used As A Mandrel To Hold The Part During Fabrication And Polishing

The Bolt Is Removed Once Everything Is Completed

 

Sent Along With The Donor Replacement Mouthpiece Was The Cherry Wood Stem From The Donor Pipe

Here I’m Working The Donor Stem Thread That Fits Into The Donor Mouthpiece

The Plan Is To Turn The Diameter Down So That This Thread Can Be Fitted Into One End Of The Newly Made Buffalo Horn Connector Piece

 

With The Mandrel Bolt Holding The Connector, The Opposite End Is Milled Out To The Same Diameter That The Wooden Thread Section Was Turned Down To

The Short Section Of Wooden Thread Shown Above Will Be Cut Off And Fitted Into This Opening Being Drilled

 

The Finished Connector Along With The Wooden Thread Insert

The Next Step Will Be To Epoxy Glue The Wooden Thread Into The Horn Connector Piece

 

Original Stem (L) Replacement Connector  (M) Replacement Mouthpiece (R)

The “Crossover Connector” Is Completed

After the completion of the crossover connector was finished, I figured I had best go ahead and work on the “elephant in the room”. Yes, that fragile porcelain bowl that keeps staring at me from the corner of the workbench, just taunting me to even look at it, let alone touch it. This is the one part of the pipe restoration that there is no “do-over” option. After thinking about this part of the restoration for many, many days prior, the time finally came. I had a plan!

 

Before & After Bowl Photos:

With the use of the buffing wheel, various polishing compounds, and prayer, success was achieved without any disastrous outcome. I was quite pleased with the appearance once the bowl was all cleaned up. One thing noted during the restoration and polishing of the bowl’s wind cover was the plating. At one time it appears that the wind cap was most likely silver plated, over brass base metal. This fact also helps dial in the time frame era of this pipe’s age. The porcelain pipes of the eighteenth, and well into the nineteenth century would have most likely sported a solid silver wind cap. Starting in the late nineteenth century, silver plated brass was being used more widely for the wind covers on porcelain pipes. A good portion of the original silver plate had worn away over time. The remaining silver plate was very thin and spotty, and somewhat distracting. In the final decision for restoration, the wind cover was buffed to show the bright work of the brass base metal. The pipe had been smoked, but it does not appear to have been excessively smoked, maybe used only for special occasions. The interior of the bowl and wind cap cleaned up without too much difficulty.

Following on the success of the bowl and wind cover restoration, I figured it best to continue on and get the porcelain reservoir done as well. The reservoir proved a bit more difficult to get clean, primarily due to the fact that the interior surface of the reservoir does not have the glazed porcelain coating like on the exterior surface. The interior is just the porous raw fired ceramic material. A portion of the old cork gasket material can still be seen adhered to the opening.

With a little bit of elbow grease and abrasive craytex rubber polishing tips, the old cork gasket and other deleterious matter was coaxed out of the reservoir. A bit of a bleach soak inside the reservoir helped to only marginally improve the looks of the interior of the reservoir. But for functionality, it is as good as the day it was made.

The Opening On The Left Receives The Short Stem Of The Porcelain Pipe Bowl

The Opening On the Right Receives The Cherry Wood Stem

 

All Of The Porcelain Components Are Restored And Ready For The Next Phase

Replacing the Cork Gasket:

I always thought that “cork was cork”. Nothing special about it, right? What works for a wine bottle works the same as a float on a fishing line, it all seems logical to me. Nope. As it turns out, there are many different grades and varieties of cork. Nothing seems as simple as it first appears. Well, let me back up a bit and explain about the cork, and its use in the Gesteckpfeife. Cork is used to seal the joints and act as an anchor to hold not only the porcelain bowl to the reservoir, it also holds the combined bowl and reservoir to the cherry wood stem. The type of cork you need should be referred to as “Goldilocks” cork. Not too hard, not too soft, but just right. With “right” being a certain amount of softness or cushion to the cork. This softness allows for the components to be somewhat compressed together when assembling the parts of the pipe to ensure a good seal and a tight connection so that things do not come apart “mid-smoke”.

As it turns out, certain musical instruments share the same needs of cork as does the Gesteckpfeife. So, sourcing from a musical instrument repair provider, I found the “right” cork. Turns out this cork is used to repair flutes and piccolos. Ok, so now we have the right type of cork needed, but I’m not working on a flute. Time to adapt and overcome once again. The basic flute head cork is cylindrical in shape and about one inch in length. Yeah, kind of sounds like a wine cork, doesn’t it? It does have a small diameter hole drilled through the length of it. Well, the hole is ok, it just needs to be about ten times larger in diameter. As far as the cylindrical shape, that won’t work either. The molded receptacles in the porcelain reservoir are tapered, and that’s what helps with ensuring a good snug fit of everything.

The Original Cork Gasket On The End Of The Cherry Wood Stem

The Cork Gasket Seals And Secures The Stem Into The Left Opening Of The Reservoir

 

A Little Bit Of Handy-Work With A Razor Blade, File And Sandpaper Had The Old Cork Gasket Removed And The Stem Tenon Ready To Receive A New Replacement Cork Gasket

 

Using A “Fit For Purpose” Cork Drill Bit – Made From A Section Of Brass Tubing

The Correct Diameter Hole To Fit The Tenon On The Cherry Wood Stem Was Achieved

 

Detail Of The “Drill Bit”, Along With The Drilled Cork Blank And Stem Tenon

The Drill Bit Features A Honed, Knife Sharp Edge

In Use The Drill Bit Acts More Like A Knife Than A Drill To Cut The Hole.

 

Using The Drill Bit As A Work Holding Mandrel, The Assembly Was Set Up Into The Lathe So That The Needed Taper Could Be Formed On The Outer Diameter Of The Cork

Basic Taper Measurements Were Made, But For The Most Part, The Forming Of The Taper Was Performed By Trial Fit And Shaping, All By Hand and Eye

 

Test Fitting The Reservoir Onto The Taper Of The Cork Gasket – Almost Done!

The Completed Assembly Of The Stem To Reservoir Cork Gasket

Wood Glue Was Used To Secure The Cork Gasket To The Stem’s Tenon

A Perfect Snug Fit!

The second cork gasket, the one that holds and seals the porcelain bowl into the reservoir is somewhat similar, but then again, it’s not. The bowl to reservoir cork gasket has both an internal tapered hole and an external tapered diameter. The internal tapered hole is designed to fit snugly onto the bottom of the bowl’s short tapered porcelain stem. This in turn fits into the tapered opening of the reservoir.

Starting With The Same Cylindrical Cork Blank And Center Drilled As Before

A Tapered Hand Reamer And Sandpaper Will Be Used To Achieve The Needed Internal Taper

Work Continues Until A Satisfactory Snug Fit Is Achieved Between The Cork And Bowl Stem

Adhesive Will Be Used To Secure The Cork To The Bowl’s Stem

With The Bowl Secured Into A Vise, Shaping Of The External Taper On The Cork Gasket Can Begin With The Use Of A Razor Knife, File, And Sandpaper

The Finished Cork Gasket For The Bowl To Reservoir Connection

Detail Showing The Cork Gasket Connection Between The Bowl And Reservoir

 

Stem and Mouthpiece Restoration:

In the final preparation of test fitting the various parts of the pipe together, I noticed a bit of a blemish in a portion of the donor mouthpiece stem section. A small section was missing, almost resembling similar type damage observed on the original stem, but nowhere near the same extent. I have no idea what it is that attacks buffalo horn. This looks to be a straight forward fix.

The Offending Blemish

Filler Material

Blending The Gap

Final Polish And Shine

Now You See It

Now You Don’t

While finishing up the blemish repair on the stem’s mouthpiece, I figured now would be a good opportunity to install the previously made buffalo horn connector piece to the lower part of the mouthpiece stem. In the end, I’m very pleased with how the replacement horn section matches up with the replacement mouthpiece stem.

Replacement Connector Piece Attached To The Bottom Of The Donor Replacement Mouthpiece Stem

 

A Comparison Of The Original To The Replacement

It Was Unfortunate That The Original Parts Could Not Be Satisfactorily Restored

The Replacement Parts Do Have An “Era Correct” Appearance

It was about this time I realized that I’ve just about restored all of the pipes parts, save for the long cherry wood stem. After examining the exterior of the stem, it appeared to need nothing more than a few passes on the buffing wheel to clean it up and restore the original luster. The draft hole through the center of the stem was cleaned using some extra-long pipe cleaners. The tassel and retaining cord, though not original to the pipe, is period correct and would have been on such a pipe as this. The cord serves as a “safety leash” should any of the pipe’s components become separated from the stem while in use. I’m sure this was not an original feature of the very first pipes made in the early eighteenth century, but probably came about as a result of the unfortunate broken pipe bowl and reservoir when it hit the floor!

The Restored Gesteckpfeife Ready For Reassembly!

The Nitzschke-Strickler Gesteckpfeife Restoration

Ready For Future Generations Of Caretakers!

 

Coda:

I’m sure that Robert Bruno Nitzschke would be both pleased and surprised to know that his Gesteckpfeife has made it from the late nineteenth century all the way into the twenty-first century. Given the fragility of this pipe, that in itself is quite an accomplishment! The pipe is in sound condition, and I would expect Robert Bruno’s Gesteckpfeife should safely make it into the twenty-second century, and beyond.

I’m already anticipating the question, “Can the pipe be smoked”? Short answer, yes. The pipe is in sound condition, and fully functional. Would I recommend smoking the pipe? Short answer, no. The pipe has too much family historical significance to take a chance in handling it too much, as one would need to do for enjoying a smoke. However, there is that tempting thought to be able to say “I’ve smoked my great-great-great grandfather’s pipe!”

However, as a pipe smoker myself, I have wondered at times during the restoration how the porcelain Gesteckpfeife would smoke. Returning once more to the book, “The European Porcelain Tobacco Pipe”, we can find our answer, based on the experience of others. As it turns out, maybe there was a reason that today’s ubiquitous briar pipe surpassed the popularity of the porcelain pipe, and to quote from the book:

It is my practice, while writing about any particular pipe, to smoke one of the same type. This enables me to discuss it in an easier and more realistic manner. At the moment, I have between my lips a Tyrolese porcelain pipe, ornamented with the graceful figure of a nude girl. But the pleasing features of the maiden are not an adequate compensation for the dreadful smoke which comes into my mouth through the cherry-wood stem to assault my tongue and palate with its objectionable burning heat – in spite of the fact that the tobacco is first-rate. (5)

If someone should present you with one of the monstrosities made in Meissen or Sevres, shove it immediately in your china cabinet. Do not put the darn thing in your mouth! It belches out red-hot smoke, scorches the tongue, soils everything in sight and – what is worse- remains completely aloof. Reticent from the first to the last day, it burns up tobacco without emitting that mysterious, sweet and enchanting aroma that every decent pipe wants to bestow on its master. (6)

Maybe Robert Bruno fared better with smoking his porcelain Gesteckpfeife than did these more contemporary reviewers did with theirs. For me, I think I’ll stick with my briar pipe. However, as a collector of pipes, it should be recognized that the Gesteckpfeife is a very important chapter in the history and evolution of pipes and pipe making. And Robert Bruno’s is a fine example of the European porcelain pipe from the late Victorian era!

 

To the Nitzschke & Strickler Families:

I would like to express my gratitude for placing your trust in my restoration skills, and allowing me the opportunity to restore Robert Bruno Nitzschke’s Gesteckpfeife. It was an honor to do so.

Gary Hamilton – October, 2023

Color lithograph, unknown artist, Germany, mid-nineteenth century Courtesy of the Ben Rapaport Collection (7)

 

Notes & Acknowledgements

  1. Dr. Sarunas Peckus and Ben Rapaport, The European Porcelain Tobacco Pipe – Illustrated History For Collectors (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2014), 24.
  2. Dr. Sarunas Peckus and Ben Rapaport, The European Porcelain Tobacco Pipe – Illustrated History For Collectors (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2014), 24.
  3. Dr. Sarunas Peckus and Ben Rapaport, The European Porcelain Tobacco Pipe – Illustrated History For Collectors (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2014), 32.
  4. Dr. Sarunas Peckus and Ben Rapaport, The European Porcelain Tobacco Pipe – Illustrated History For Collectors (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2014), 16, 35.
  5. Giuseppe Ramazzotti, “Painted Porcelain Pipes…Strictly Collector’s Items,” Pipe World, No. 2, March, 1971, 11, quoted in Dr. Sarunas Peckus and Ben Rapaport, The European Porcelain Tobacco Pipe – Illustrated History For Collectors (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2014), 16.
  6. Joaquin Verdaguer, The Art Of Pipe Smoking (London: Curlew Press Limited, 1958), 24, quoted in Dr. Sarunas Peckus and Ben Rapaport, The European Porcelain Tobacco Pipe – Illustrated History For Collectors (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2014), 16.
  7. Dr. Sarunas Peckus and Ben Rapaport, The European Porcelain Tobacco Pipe – Illustrated History For Collectors (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2014), 10.

I would like to thank Ben Rapaport and Dr. Sarunas Peckus (deceased) for their foresight and dedication in creating The European Porcelain Tobacco Pipe – Illustrated History for Collectors. For those wishing to learn more about the porcelain pipe, their work is a wealth of knowledge and imagery. For those interested in the early eras and history of tobacco pipe smoking, regardless of pipe style, again this work is a treasure trove of information. Stories of pipe smoking, ranging from the anecdotal to the documentary fill the pages of this book, and will certainly entertain and enlighten all pipemen. Prior to restoring the Nitzschke-Strickler Gesteckpfeife, I only had a slight awareness as to the evolution and historical significance of the porcelain pipe. After reading The European Porcelain Pipe – illustrated History for Collectors, I now have a much deeper appreciation for this particular style of pipe, and its contribution to the evolution of pipes, and pipe collecting.

 

PETERSON PILGRIMAGE: MIKE AUSTIN, CPG

Mike Austin is only the 2nd Pete Geek to receive the “Peterson Pilgrimage” badge. He writes, “Made it by the retail store in Dublin and meet Gianluigi–quite the guy! Then we took a taxi out to the factory, where Jonathan gave us an A1 tour. It was so good because he’s so excited about what he does. I saw the 2024 SPD pipes and they’re [delete delete delete]–really cool looking! I also picked up a DeLuxe System and a 312 Halloween Jekyll & Hyde pipe for my birthday from the wife. And notice I wore my colors that day–the Pete Geek shirt!

 

 

 

Wanted

If you have an extra Sherlock Holmes JUNIOR Baskerville or Watson rusticated pipe (or both!) that needs a new home, contact me at petegeek1896@gmail.com. I’ve been smoking the SH Junior Baker Street all week long and it keeps requesting the company of Junior Baskerville and Junior Watson.

 


THE PPN 2023 / SHERLOCK HOLMES XL5BC
DROPPED YESTERDAY!

Fellow Pete Geeks—

If you are on the list for the CPG 2023, you should have received your purchase code yesterday. Please check your spam folder if you don’t see it.

Important: the window for making your purchase will close next Sunday, October 29th. On October 30th after 12 noon CDT I will release remaining pipes to those on the waiting list.

Price for SPEu customers is going to vary a bit depending on your country–
€190.00 is the price in Ireland with VAT
     €154.47 is the price for those buying from the US, no VAT or discount
€139.02
is the price for those buying from US price, no VAT with the Smokingpipes discount

Price for SPC customers also varies a bit–
$176.09 for those
with no SPC discount
$158.40 for those with the SPC discount

If you decide NOT to buy the pipe, would you send me a quick note at at petegeek1896@gmail.com? This will allow me to release the pipe to the folks on the waiting list.

Finally, if you want to add the new merit badge to your CPG (or obtain your CPG if you haven’t already),  send me a photo of the pipe or yourself smoking the pipe for inclusion on the blog.

Here are a few photos to whet your appetite, but just like last year, our pipes are not individually photographed. There is only a stock photo at your check-out site. Here are the photos that were supplied:

As with all purchases at Smokingpipes, remember that if you don’t like the pipe you receive, you’re free to return it as long as it’s unsmoked. 

Photos courtesy Kapp & Peterson
Many thanks to Gigi for all her help processing the POY orders

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Redcoat’s Return
Redcoat’s Return
6 months ago

That The Nitzschke-Strickler Gesteckpfeife Restoration was astounding quality work ???? One day I’ll pay homage to The Peterson shop in Dublin…as a Pete Geek Pilgrimage holiday☘️ ????????

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
6 months ago

I too, hope someday to earn my “Peterson Pilgrimage” badge! Thanks for the note about the restoration, it was a fun project.

Mike Austin
Mike Austin
6 months ago

You will make it.
it was so cool to see how they make the pipes.
they show you every process involved.

John Schantz, CPG
John Schantz, CPG
6 months ago

Thanks for the great restoration walk through Gary. I will mention, I use to play the clarinet, it has cork gasket seals at the joints. I mention this because I have a little St. Claud Billiard that has an aluminum tenon and a cork gasket in the shank. I use the “cork grease” from my clarinet days to lubricate the cork. Some may be advisable on those gaskets to keep them pliable. The cork on my clarinet is still in great shape even after 50 years. I’m not sure what the extra heat would do at the pipe’s porcelain bowl… Read more »

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
6 months ago

Hi John, thanks for the comment about the cork grease. Actually I use the stuff quite a bit when I’m restoring a traditional gourd Calabash pipe. I’m pretty sure I used cork grease on this pipe restoration as well, but for the life of me wonder why I failed to document that part of the project?

R. Dixon Smith
R. Dixon Smith
6 months ago

Your work is so impressive, Gary. I wish you’d known Orson Welles. He was a magician too!

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
6 months ago
Reply to  R. Dixon Smith

Thank you so much for the comment. I’m not sure about being a “magician”, too me it’s just relaxing and fun. But it can be a bit intimidating at times, especially when working on something that simply cannot be replaced.

Martin
Martin
6 months ago

Great work on this restoration project. I recently got a Emco Unimat where i have to make some maintenance. Hope I can make stuff like You do in the near future.
I´m very excited on the PPN Pipe it´s one of the shapes I don´t have jet.
As always great sunday read.

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin

Hello Martin, well you have taken the first step for pipe restoration, repair and crafting. The Emco Unimat is a well known machine and should serve you well. All you have to do is start. That’s how I did it many years ago, and not a clue as to what I was doing (sometimes I still feel that way). Good luck with your future endeavors!

John Schantz
John Schantz
6 months ago
Reply to  Gary Hamilton

That’s same way I started, basic refurbs with no clue, move to lathe…with no clue. The internet did help with the basics.

Erik R
Erik R
6 months ago

Quite the undertaking there Gary, but the results are nothing short of astounding! Sent in my order last night when I received my email for the XL5BC, a little nerve wracking without seeing it first but I trust the Peterson crew across the pond. Now the wait! Oh and I must have gotten the friend discount as it was $167.20 not $158.40, no biggie though.

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
6 months ago
Reply to  Erik R

Hello Erik, thanks for the note on the restoration, I’m glad that you enjoyed the story. I hope that you get an outstanding example of the XL5BC and your nerves can revert to normal! Mark did an outstanding job with this year’s PPN pipe, just classic!

Al Jones
Al Jones
6 months ago

That is an epic restoration, thanks for sharing all of the details. I suspected these type of pipes did not smoke well, in contrast to the typical briar. Perhaps Mr. Nitzschke had no other options, or incentive to find them. Gary’s work in all facets of pipe restoration is really impressive, including stem and tenon replacement work. We are fortunate in the hobby to have a restoration expert of his caliber.

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
6 months ago
Reply to  Al Jones

Hello Al, and thank you for the comment on the restoration! full disclosure, I’m no “expert”, just a hobbyist with a passion for pipe restoration, collecting and smoking! My initial thought to the smoking quality of the porcelain pipe was the same as yours. But I have no idea why I think that is the case. I’ve never smoked one, but I hope to one day. I surmise that there are probably an equal amount of “good vs bad” comments regarding the actual smoking quality of the Gesteckpfeife. When I find the “one” I want for my collection, I’ll give… Read more »

PappyJoe
PappyJoe
6 months ago

I’ve often wondered what those types of pipes were called as I’ve heard Hunter, Bavarian or Tyrolean. Now I can add Gesteckpfeife to the list. I don’t have one with a porcelain bowl in my collection but I do have several different combination pipes that have briar bowls.

As for the Peterson Sherlock Holmes pipes, I have a smooth Sherlock Holmes Original with the same shape. It’s one of the few pipes that I actually keep in its pipe sock. I may have to find one of the new ones.

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
6 months ago
Reply to  PappyJoe

Hi Pappy Joe, yes this particular style of pipes had many names associated with it over the years, and at times the name was not always correctly attributed to the particular pipe style. There is a lot to learn here, the research continues.

John Schantz, CPG
John Schantz, CPG
6 months ago
Reply to  PappyJoe

Good to see you over here PappyJoe.??

J Keatley
J Keatley
6 months ago

Gary, Extremely impressed with your talent and preservation of such a historical artifact. I’m sure the Strickler’s will cherish that pipe well into the future.

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
6 months ago
Reply to  J Keatley

Hello J Keatley, and thank you for the comment. Yes, the Strickler’s are very pleased that the pipe was rescued for the future generations!

John M Young
6 months ago

Wonderful restoration and notes. I would suggest keeping the pipe in a very tight fitting/sealed case. The “bone eaters” were most likely Dermestidae beetles and/or larva. Also known as carpet beetles, they are the bane of butterfly collectors as well. Mothballs will also keep the little beggars at bay.
I am looking forward to the arrival of my CPG 2023 Pete.
Thanks again for a great Sunday morning read.

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
6 months ago
Reply to  John M Young

Hello John, and thank you so much for answering my question on what “eats” horn stem parts. Carpet beetles. And it is true, you can learn something new everyday. Well, I will be passing this information along to the Strickler’s so that we do not have a future “attack” of carpet beetles.

Paul Combs
Paul Combs
6 months ago

Thank you for another interesting and informative post gentlemen. Nice machine and restoration work Gary, once again! I also would like to make the trek to the Dublin one of these days, for now I will have to be content with sending repairs over. 😉

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul Combs

Hey Paul, glad you enjoyed the restoration story! Count me in on that Dublin trip so we can obtain our merit badge!

Christopher Lauer
Christopher Lauer
6 months ago

What an amazing restoration Gary, thank you for sharing this process. I know the owners have to be thrilled with the results. Congratulations on the pilgrimage Mike…one day maybe, I will get there. I received the link for the PPN pipe and it should be in hand by mid week.

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
6 months ago

Hi Christopher, thanks for the kind words on the restoration process, it was a fun one. Yes, the Strickler’s are more than pleased with the results. Sounds like there are a lot of us “Geeks” mentally thinking of a “pilgrimage trip” to Dublin….hmm, a “Pete Geek” group trip to the Peterson factory…now that would be sweet!

John Schantz
John Schantz
6 months ago
Reply to  Gary Hamilton

Road Trip!….well, not all the way on roads?

Mike Austin
Mike Austin
6 months ago

Thanks, it was a dream come true, such a lovely country and the guys at the shop are great.

Ken Sigel
Ken Sigel
6 months ago

What a great article. It combines pipe history, the connection to the Peterson Patent, incredible restoration work, while being about a pipe with a known provenance. Well done!

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
6 months ago
Reply to  Ken Sigel

Hey Ken, I’m glad that you enjoyed the restoration story, and the history connection to Peterson. This was truly a fun project that took me in a totally different direction for pipe restoration.

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
6 months ago

I’d like to thank all the “Pete Geeks” for your comments on the Gesteckpfeife restoration. It took me down a road I had never traveled. And I’m now a bit wiser for the journey. In fact I find myself looking for my own Gesteckpfeife to restore, and smoke. Well, you have to give it a go, right? There is a lot of interesting history in pipe evolution that got us to our beloved briars of today. Maybe this coming winter, take a road you have not traveled before and read a book on some aspect of pipes “before briar”. I… Read more »

John Schantz
John Schantz
6 months ago

I received my 2023 PPN today, I was quick to pay as soon as I got the Email, but I must have been at the bottom of the list. I received 129/130….or maybe it came off of the top of the pallet, last on-first off?. The blast is nothing awe inspiring, but it is somewhat interesting with vertical lines on the front of the bowl and both flanks look rusti-blasted? It’s drilled straight and true. The pipe still retains the true XL5 shape, and no bowl cracks/splits hidden under the bowl coating, just some overzealous stain.

Erik R
Erik R
6 months ago
Reply to  John Schantz

If usps tracking is right, mine will be here tomorrow. Hopefully mine will be drilled straight. Besides cobs, this is the only pipe I’ve bought sight unseen. I keep telling myself it’s like the old days of sending away for something sight unseen.

Christopher Lauer
Christopher Lauer
6 months ago
Reply to  John Schantz

John, I did the same, paid as soon as I received the email. Mine was numbered 126/130. It was probably last on first off unless we received our emails late. My blast is also nothing awe inspiring but I am pleased with mine. Thanks again Mark for a great PPN pipe!!

Joe
Joe
6 months ago

Gesteckpfeife – hard to say, harder to restore. Wow, what a great job restoring that beast. I’d be tempted to smoke it once just for the experience, but even still, that thing is gorgeous. Well done, Gary!

Pipe pilgrimage-wise, I have many on my list, none really accomplished. I want to go to Iwan Reis , Country Squire, and, obviously, The Peterson Mothership. I’m glad you got to go, and from the photos you seemed to take it all in with gratitude and glory.