You are currently viewing 397. Thoughts on a Mark Twain Pipe, Tenon Extensions & the Peterson System Patents

397. Thoughts on a Mark Twain Pipe, Tenon Extensions & the Peterson System Patents

Rev. 1:04 CST 5/5/2024

by Gary Hamilton, CPG

When thinking of historic personalities that were also brothers of the briar, Mark Twain almost immediately comes to mind. Any student of the writings of Mark Twain, the pen name as used by Samuel Clemens, clearly understands that Twain was an incessant smoker. Probably the most astute observations of this fact come from Mark Twain directly. In a quote of his from 1891, he states, “I smoke a good deal. That is to say, all the time.” Twain further elaborated in 1905, “As an example to others, and not that I care for moderation myself, it has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep and never to refrain when awake”. Cigars seemed to be the mainstay of Mark Twain’s perpetual habit; and the pipe, a constant companion. For more of the pipeman’s perspective on Mark Twain, one of the better recent articles is Mark Twain: Unrepentant Tobaccophile by Chuck Stanion (Smokingpipes.com blog June 21,2019). I direct the reader there, as this story really isn’t about Mark Twain, it’s about a pipe.

More to the point, this story is about the Peterson Mark Twain pipe. Well, actually it’s about the omission of a tenon extension on a Peterson Mark Twain pipe. A few months ago, Mark Irwin was lamenting about his Mark Twain pipe and that it just didn’t smoke as well as other System pipes. Mark Irwin, being the foremost historian about Kapp & Peterson, recognized that the addition of a tenon extension (or chimney, to those so inclined) would solve the problem. At least it was worth a try, and it’s been done before.

Mark Irwin’s De Luxe grade 1984 Mark Twain. The grain on this stummel is simply spectacular. Ah, for the longing of days past and beautifully grained briar.

The Peterson Mark Twain Pipe was introduced in 1981 as a Limited Edition of 400. It is based on shape number 14 from the 1906 catalog.

Detail of the stem’s tenon. Distinctly missing is either a molded extension, or one from either bone or aluminum. Interestingly, the tenon is counterbored as if a threaded tenon extension was planned, but the lack of internal threading suggests otherwise. An oversight from the factory? A “System” anomaly? Where’s the tenon extension?

A review of the Mark Twain series, from The Peterson Pipe, The Story Of Kapp & Peterson:

Now, getting back to the De Luxe Mark Twain pipe of this story. For a Peterson pipe that has all the earmarks and credentials to be a System pipe, it is lacking in one of the key components that makes a System pipe a “System” pipe. The tenon extension is missing. Be it molded onto the stem’s tenon, or installed as a threaded fitment, the extension is a key design component that makes the System function as Charles Peterson had originally intended. For consideration though, let’s take this specific Mark Twain pipe to be an equivalent of the System Standard line. For all you purveyors of Peterson pipes, I dare say that it is understood that even the System Standard line includes a true to form molded tenon extension. So why is this particular offering of the De Luxe Mark Twain pipe severely lacking in even the most basic System fundamentals of having a tenon extension?

As a quick refresher, let us return to the chart seen above found in Peterson Patent Pipes Catalog of 1896.

Clearly evident in the top row of the various mouthpiece offerings, all exhibit the molded tenon extension protruding below the tenon.

The Style B mouthpiece (top row, 3rd from the left) is the same style stem as is used on the Mark Twain Pipe in question, albeit 88 years or so apart.

But why dispense with the tenon extension for the De Luxe Mark Twain issue?  Apparently, all of the factory offerings of the De Luxe Mark Twain were made without the threaded, or molded, tenon extension.

Avid Mark Twain collector Anthony Macaluso writes, “the Mark Twain De Luxe models did not come with the tenon extension, and apparently were never intended to have it as the tenons were not drilled and threaded to receive the screw-in condenser. I believe the extension was intended to function as the condenser as it does in the Standard Systems” (email to Mark Irwin, April 30, 2024).

If you are a follower of PetersonPipeNotes.org and smoke a Peterson pipe, you are, as am I, undoubtedly a “Thinking Man”. And I cannot help but to keep thinking why were there no tenon extensions installed on the De Luxe line of the Mark Twain System pipes. After all, it is a De Luxe grade, and it is a System pipe. It should have a threaded tenon extension, right?

Apparently, this is where the old axiom, there is an exception to every rule, rears its head and becomes the bane to all pipe collectors. And the Peterson marque is not immune to this old axiom. Just when you think you have it all figured out, the exception to the rule challenges your “Thinking Man” abilities.*

However, being a thinking man, I do have a theory on the matter. When the Mark Twain Limited Edition was released in 1981, the retail price was $300. This was quite a substantial sum of money in those days, and it would be equivalent to about $1,030 in 2024. Perhaps the management at Peterson’s considered that a more cost conscious, entry-level grade, of the Mark Twain issue was needed. Thus, we have the De Luxe Mark Twain, having a 1981 retail price of $75. But what do you change, aside from the obvious briar stummel grading, to get from a $300 pipe to a $75 pipe? Could it be as simple as not including the threaded tenon extension, substituting the aluminum inset script “P” on the stem front with the white painted stamped version, and a variation in packaging? Perhaps so.

However, there is an interesting principle known as Occam’s Razor. Over the years it has evolved in use to varying degrees, but in a nutshell, one version of the principle states: “The simplest explanation is usually the correct one”.  William of Ockham, a 14th century Franciscan Friar, was well known for applying the principle lex parsimoniae, (“the law of briefness”) which came to be known as Occam’s Razor.

Perhaps the most simplistic explanation for the MT De Luxe line not having a tenon extension is because the factory just didn’t install one, and no other reasoning is required.  It is hard to imagine a System pipe from the factory without having any resemblance of a tenon extension, per the patent design. I’m having a hard time coming to grips with that concept. I wonder what Charles Peterson would think about that?

Caricature of Samuel Clemens / Mark Twain, “Below the Mark” (Vanity Fair 1908).

Mark Twain was 55 years of age in 1890 when Charles Peterson obtained the first of three patents for his System pipe, with the last patent being issued in 1898. In 1897 Mark Twain penned the following: “The man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds” (see Post #239 for Mark Twain’s shopping trip for Peterson System pipes). Charles Peterson definitely had new ideas that succeeded and revolutionized the pipe making industry with his patented System pipe. And the Peterson System pipe offered what every pipe smoker craved, a cool and dry smoke! As a testament to the reception of the System pipe by pipe smokers worldwide, is the fact that Kapp & Peterson spent significant time in litigation to protect the patent from copy-cat infringers of the design.

However, is something as inconspicuous as a tenon extension that important? Short answer, yes! And especially so for the Peterson System pipe. Recall back to our early days as fledgling pipemen. We were given sage advice from the pipe smoking greybeards and codgers to dispense with that annoying contrivance at the end of the stem, often referred to as a “stinger”. That may be sound advice for your Dr. Grabow pipe, but never, under any circumstance, for a Peterson System pipe.

Let’s go down the rabbit hole and take a closer look at the tenon extension. The best authority on the matter is Charles Peterson and his patent documents that were filed in the USA, dating from the 1894 patent era. Interestingly, this patent document also includes the pertinent features of the original 1890 patent, dealing with features such as the tenon extension, of which we are most interested. The written descriptive of the patent that accompanies the drawing is not as legible as one would hope, but it will suffice. I will do my best to highlight the pertinent contents for our discussion here. It should be pointed out that the entire transcript of the patent document contains a wealth of Peterson System knowledge, and should be required reading for all Certified Pete Geeks.

1894 Peterson Pipe patent US519135

It is fortuitous for our discussion that long ago, someone in the patent office had the insight to have each line of text for of each page sequentially numbered in the margins. This will make it easy for me to refer the reader to the specific points made in the patent concerning the tenon extension. The numbers referred to within the body of the text correspond with the numbers on the drawings of Figure 1 and Figure 2.

Page 1 – Lines 51 through 55:

“The lower end of the stem is provided with a tubular extension 10, extending into the opening 4 and reaching past the outer end of said channel into the upper end of pocket 5.”

This part of the text establishes that the tenon extension is long enough to extend below, or past, the draft hole and into the top of the reservoir.

Page 1 – Lines 72 through 78:

“In operation the smoke will pass through the channel or passage 6 to the recess or pocket 5 of the bowl, being deflected into said pocket by reason of the tubular extension 10 at the lower end of the stem which extends past the upper end of the channel 6, and into the pocket as hereinbefore set forth.”

Here, it is specifically noted again that the tenon extension extends past the opening of the draft hole and into the top of the reservoir.

Page 1 – Lines 90 through 101:

“It will be seen that the tubular extension 10 extending into the pocket 5, not only serves to deflect the nicotine and other obstructions into the said pocket as well as conduct the saliva into the latter, but that it will also serve effectually to prevent any obnoxious matter from the said pocket to return into the stem, even if the pipe be inverted; the annular space around said flange serving to receive the contents of the pocket 5 in case the pipe should be inverted.”

Wow, there is a lot to unpack here. But in a nutshell, once again the tenon extension is being described with enough length to enter into the reservoir, having first passed below the draft hole to get there.

Page 2 – Lines 18 through 21:

“…and a stem having at the lower end a tubular extension passing beyond the outer end of said channel into the said pocket, substantially as described.”

And yet one more reference as to the tenon extension’s length passing beyond the draft hole and into the top of the reservoir.

For something so small and inconspicuous as a tenon extension, there is a large amount of detail and reference made to it within the patent document. It must be important, or at least Charles Peterson thought so. Another individual that recognized the importance of the tenon extension is the late Jim Lilly. For those of you that have been Peterson aficionados for any length of time are most likely familiar with Jim’s fascinating collection of vintage Peterson pipes, and of his writings at The Peterson Pipe Connoisseur & Collector (the site is still accessible, but has not been updated since he last posted, October 2012 and has suffered considerable dropout). In “A Closer Look At The Famous Peterson Standard System Pipe” (from Pipedia.org), Jim wrote, “For the Peterson system pipes to work properly, the stem/tenon has to have an extension, the tip of which, will pass by the draft hole from the bowl and into the sump.” [And the reader might also refer to Ch. 14 of the Peterson book, “Smoking the System ,” esp. p. 258ff.]

Pete Geeks get it, and the tenon extension may just very well be the heart of the Peterson System design. No doubt, opinions will vary on that statement. But for me, I believe it to be true. For without a proper tenon extension, neither the reservoir, or the graduated bore stem will function correctly as Charles Peterson had intended in his patent designs.

From a  sheet of K&P invoice stationary, 1909

Seen above is a typical illustration of both bent and straight “System” pipes.

Notice in both examples the very tip end of the tenon extension is shown to protrude slightly past, or below the draft hole opening, and into the top of the reservoir or sump.

 As a thinking man, I wonder how many modern-era System pipes still exhibit this original design feature of 1890 for the tenon extension?

So, now we know all there is to know about tenon extensions, right? Perhaps. At least we have a bit more insight as to what Charles Peterson invented for pipe smokers back in 1890. Now, getting back to that 1984 Mark Twain pipe without even a hint or suggestion of having a tenon extension, what to do? I think it’s time for a trip to the workshop to see what can be done to remedy this travesty of a System pipe.

To start with, it will be necessary to take a few measurements. First, we need to measure the distance from the top end of the shank to the bottom of the draft hole opening where it enters into the mortise / reservoir area, shown as dimension L1 below. The second dimension needed is the length of the tenon that enters and seats within the mortise, shown as dimension L2 below. The difference between these two lengths, plus a few millimeters added, is the desired length that the finished tenon extension needs to protrude beyond the face of the tenon. The few millimeters that are added ensures the tip of the extension is at the proper placement, slightly below the draft hole opening and into the top of the sump.

Another preliminary task that needs to be addressed is the convex or dome profile of the face of the tenon. A flat area is needed for the new aluminum tenon extension to seat against the tenon face. The current shape would work, but would leave a rather ugly gap between the tenon extension and tenon once it was installed.

The photo above shows the use of a granite surface plate and 400 grit paper to flatten the curved tenon face. This is similar to “topping” a stummel’s rim to remove dents and dings.

Almost done!

A better view of the granite surface plate with a strip of 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper. Slow steady strokes taking light passes will yield perfect results for a nice even and concentric “flat” area.

Now it’s time for some lathe work. Selecting a suitable sized rod of T6061 aluminum, and fitting the lathe with the collet chuck, we can begin the machining process.

The first order of operation is to create the draft hole through the tenon extension body.

The draft hole in the end of the stem was measured to be 4mm.

The photo above shows the drilling process with a 4mm bit. This will keep a consistent draft hole through the junction of tenon extension to stem once assembled.

The aluminum rod is 3/8” diameter.

The second order of operation is to turn to proper diameter and length, that portion of the tenon extension that will seat into the existing counterbored hole in the stem’s tenon.

Measurements were made of both depth and diameter, of the counter bored hole in which to make the tenon extension fit.

I should also mention at this point the tenon extension I’m making for the Mark Twain will be of my “friction fit” design. No threads are used. But it does require a bit of close tolerance machine work to get the fit correct. More like trial and error.

A slightly different view of the machining process underway.

 For the aluminum work, I’m using C2 grade carbide cutting inserts for the bulk of the turning operations.

 For the work in aluminum of this size, and with the carbide cutters, spindle speeds approaching 2,000 RPM yield a nice surface finish.

Once the machining is completed for the friction fit into the stem’s counterbore, the part is removed and rotated to work on the tenon extension’s functional end.

 A smaller collet is installed into the lathe to hold the smaller diameter of the extension.

 A circular form carbide cutter is used for the external shaping of the tenon extension body. This cutter generates the radiused transition shape at the base of the tenon extension.

Another view of the external shaping process.

 The lathe’s compound rest is used for the longitudinal cuts, and is set at a 4 degree taper.

 You can see that the opening has already been chamfered to allow a smoother air flow entry into the draft hole.

 And that covers the highlights of the fabrication process.

The finished tenon extension, stem and stummel – all polished and ready for assembly.

Close up detail of the new tenon extension fitted to the stem.

 

I think Charles Peterson would approve. And so would Mark Twain.

 We now have a true “System” pipe!

 But does it smoke better than before?

 For the answer to that question, we wait upon Mark Irwin’s evaluation…

Mark’s IRWIN’s classic 1984 Peterson Mark Twain De Luxe System pipe

 

COLLECTOR’S CORNER
Coda: The Hamilton Super Condenser

A 1984 MT Original in its place of honor,  just below the A. & C. Petersen Mark Twain 150 strut card that adorned the counter of Ted’s Pipe Shop for a number of years.

It’s probably impossible to relay to you the importance of the MT Original to my generation of Pete Geeks, but I’m going to try. You had to be there is what people say about something of this magnitude. I can only compare it to similar emotional events in my life: the Yes Tales From Topographic Oceans tour in 1974, George Harrison’s massive Dark Horse tour in 1975, seeing Rush for the first time in Richmond, seeing The Call in a small club in Charlottesville. Insert your own sacred event and you’ll begin to get the picture.

What made the MT Original so special was a unique conjunction of events. The pipe appeared in 1981, when what I think of as the Mark Twain Renaissance was underway.  Running Press had issued both volumes of The Unabridged Mark Twain (which I read in the janitor’s closet of St. Paul’s UMC on Sunday mornings—my weekend job while at seminary!), new biographies seemed to appear every six months, a very ambitious 4 hour adaptation of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was made (yes, the boy Huck smokes his cob frequently throughout), A. & C. Petersen (the Danish tobacconist) issued MT150 for Twain’s 150th birthday in 1985, and most importantly, Peterson’s US distributor visited the Boyhood Home of MT, was blown away by the 14s he found on display, and the MT Original was created.

While contemporary Pete Geeks look at the AB stem of the MT Original and yawn—they’ve seen this stem so many times in the past few years, they seem to say, yawning—no one in the Pete world had seen anything like it for over a generation.  The last tapered DeLuxe stems had dropped out of the catalog by the mid-1950s, and this was, how shall I put it? Extraordinary. Incredible. Amazing. Something Out of This World.  Everyone—and by that I mean everyone who loved Petes—had to have one. Problem—where the heck to find one?

I was blessed to have Ted’s Pipe Shoppe in Tulsa with its Irish Pete-loving proprietress. If she carried a Limited Edition MT I don’t remember, but she did have the red boxed DeLuxes, and my best friend Ron snagged one as soon as he saw it (the dog). I had already moved away to grad school, but we corresponded by tapes and typed letters and when he told me about the MT I just about had a nervous breakdown. The very next trip I made to Tulsa was in July of 1982.  He and I had almost identical interests, and we always spent our first morning together with a breakfast of day-old doughnuts and scrambled eggs, followed by making the rounds of our favorite shops:  St. John’s Episcopal Bookstore (we loved to pick over anything new in Charles Williams or C.S. Lewis), David Hedge’s Gramophone Shop (yes, LPs, and yes, classical music) and Ted’s.  When I saw the MT Original, I broke out in a sweat.  I only had $30 in my pocket and the retail was $75 (for some reason I remember $65 as the price tag. It was with a seriously downtrodden spirit that I left the shop and climbed into Ron’s death-trap Pinto. He waited until I was in the seat and we’d lit our pipes to tell me he was going to buy my birthday present that morning, and how about if he paid for half the pipe?

For the next thirty years or so, that pipe was in my weekly rotation, more during the first twenty years than later on when I was able to begin adding a few Petes.  At some point, the pipe seeming past repair and not know what else to do with it, I sold it off. I had no DIY skills and the whole idea of pipe restoration at home hadn’t arrived yet.  As you know, I’m a smoker/collector and not a collector/smoker, so selling it off didn’t much trouble me until . . . it did! At that point one of the great Pete Geek collectors came to my aid: Brian 500s, who had several MT Originals, sold me a fine example.

The only problem I’ve had with the MT since returning it to the rotation is a self-inflicted one: the longer you practice the art of smoking and smoke virginias, the more nuanced your appreciation becomes of how well a pipe performs. I’m convinced a book could be written on the perils of virginia tobacco. It’s the absolute most difficult to smoke, yet for those who become addicted to it, it’s the Only Real Tobacco in the world. So while the new MT Original smoked fine, without a condenser (sorry, Gary, but as a petroleum engineer, you should know what this thing should be called! 😊) it didn’t smoke nearly as well as my other correctly equipped DeLuxe Systems.

R&D Concept Drawing of the Hamilton Super Condenser

Enter Gary Hamilton and the “Hamilton Super Condenser.”  I hinted in an earlier post that the Super Condenser turns a System pipe into an Artisan-Grade pipe and I meant it.  Gary has now blessed me with three of these: one for the 1990 Patent Commemorative Oom Paul [which didn’t come with a condenser, despite being sterling-mount, just to throw Gary into cognitive disarray] , one for a recent super-chubby 307 Spigot System, and one for this MT Original.

What Gary has achieved, in my opinion, is a miracle of “back-to-the-creator” engineering.  He’s made a close reading of Charles Peterson’s original Patent drawings and specs and implemented it for each pipe. That is, he’s made sure each Super Condenser dips to just below the smoke channel entrance in the shank of the System and nearly to the top of the reservoir. It does the additional service of making sure there’s no drag where the condenser fits into the tenon.

We’ll never know if this kind of accuracy was consistently achieved even in the Patent era, but when it happens it’s a Thing of Beauty.  I suppose theoretically it could happen in the factory,  but that would depend on a number of factors far beyond our pay grade. As Gary told me a few months back, first of all there would have to be a belief system in place that whatever is being manufactured actually works to specs, and works really well, or there’s no buy in to make it happen. Even supposing everyone is on board—as in, “we’ve all tested [smoked] this repeatedly and know it makes a huge difference”—there would still be multiple hurdles to overcome: financial, tools, parts, labor, et al. To its astonishing credit and 160+ history, K&P has experienced this type of thing over and again, going through troughs and then coming out to new peaks on the other side.

However, here’s an interesting “What if? thought experiment: What if Charles Peterson’s “dip below the smoke channel” Patent engineering had been adhered to more-or-less continuously for the past bazillion years? Would Peterson’s reputation now stand as the best briar pipe-making company in the world? Would people think of Dunhill et al as *meh*, of Castello as *meh*, most artisan pipes as *meh*? You don’t want to know what I think.  Wait–you already do!

A 1975 Centenary 4s with the wear gap gone missing!

What led to the Super Condenser, by the way, was a comment I made to Gary quite a while back about a 4s Centenary pipe I bought from Mike Glukler of Briar Blues.  I told him it was the absolute finest System I companion; astonishing good. Could it have anything at all to do with the depth of the condenser? He “hmmed” and thought about it, and went home and thought about it some more.

The Centenary 4s is numbered 0/11, which I didn’t at the time know a thing about (11 of the 4s shapes were made for the 1975 Centenary commemoratives; “0” indicates the pipe as a trade show demonstrator; 11 conveniently being the day of my birth). Mike had it on his website for a number of months with no buyers, and as he only wanted $100 for it, I finally wrote and asked him what was up with the pipe, since it wasn’t selling.  “It doesn’t have a wear-gap,” he replied, “and so I’m kind of afraid of selling it. I tell everyone I’m not sure it fits correctly.”  I thought I knew what had happened, and bought it.

Sure enough, the original companioner had opened the mortise for the tenon to go “all the way home,” closing the tenon-mortise gap. Crazy you say? Well, back in the day all the Pete Geeks wanted a DeLuxe System with no wear gap. It was the badge, you see, that we’d smoked the living daylights out of it, that we were, in short, Serious Pipemen.  This was the era—and you can roll your eyes if you wish—when cleanliness in a pipe was not next to Godliness, but a sign that said smoker was a noob and to be laughed at behind his back. No one wanted to be seen with a pipe unless the stem was oxidized, the button was chewed, and the bowl was scorched.  Every Pete Geek judged you by the gap in your DeLuxe System (Scout’s honor).  Richard Hacker, if you even know who he is, told a famous story in The Ultimate Pipe Book about riding around in his MG with his face out the window trying to scorch the side of the bowl. “Then,” he said, “everyone will know I’m really a pipe smoker.”

HOW DO DELUXE SYSTEMS WITH 9MM FILTERS ALTER THE TENON EXTENSION?

Marc Morano: How do DeLuxe System pipes with 9mm filters alter the tenon extension?

Mark Irwin: Marc, this is an outstanding question. Before digging into it, what I believe you’re asking is “what is the difference between a 9mm DeLuxe System and the traditional DeLuxe System?” If that is so, let’s begin with a neutral definition from a pipe & tobacco website (I chose C.Gar, although others say the same things) so we’re on the same page. I’m numbering it to make clear my points: “[1] Just like cigarettes, the filter absorbs any excess nicotine from the tobacco. This means smoking with a filter is technically more healthy for you as it may reduce the risks associated with all forms of smoking. [2] Filters can help stop unwanted moisture gathering in the stem or being drawn through into the mouth. [3] It is possible to draw small bits of tobacco through the stem and into your mouth however with a filter it lowers the chance of any tobacco making it into the stem making your smoke more enjoyable.” So there’s three reasons for using a 9mm filter. How does the Patent deal with these? Let me take them in reverse order, prefaced by a general comment.

Just as K&P provides fishtail “System” pipes, it also provides 9mm “System” pipes. Going simply by Charles Peterson’s patent engineering, neither of these is, technically, a System. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a Peterson System that has been modified in either way, just that it no longer conforms to the System patent specifications.

[3] A DeLuxe System makes it impossible to draw any bits of tobacco into the mouth. You’ll see debris covering the condenser, but will never have a hot cinder or bit of tobacco come through the P-Lip button. The engineering precludes this possibility. No need, in other words, for a 9mm filter.

[2] The System is far dryer than any traditional fishtail pipe. No backwash of tobacco juice will occur with a System, as so often happens with a traditional tenon-mortise fishtail pipe. You will never need a pipe cleaner to swab out the stem while smoking a System. No need for a 9mm filter here.

[1] The System allows nicotine to pass through the moisture of the tobacco vapor.  Here is the divide between advocates and critics of the 9mm filter. Advocates believe nicotine is a dangerous substance and to be avoided and causes cancer. Critics believe that nicotine by itself has not been proven to cause cancer, but in fact enhances brain functioning, slows down dementia, etc.  These critics believe there are numerous other chemicals containing carcinogens commonly found in cigarette smoke which do cause cancer in some demographics. Finally, critics of the 9mm filter dislike it because it mutes the flavor of the tobacco, which they say is the entire purpose of smoking.

For my own part—and this is my bias—the extensive reading I did of epidemiological research on cancer and pipe smoking for my book The X Pipe left me with grave misgivings concerning the ethical a prioris of current research models, which seem to be allied with the profit-making political agendas which pay for the research.

In the end of course, everyone must decide for him or herself  about health risks and flavor. Insofar as the Patent System style of Peterson pipe is concerned, as I said earlier a 9mm System (like a fishtail System) is simply not a Charles Peterson Patent System, nor does it perform like one.

 

Smoke in peace,
we have our Petes!

*Mark: I have a theory for this.  Academics have long recognized that American thought takes its hermeneutical bearings from German logic, as readily seen by our confusion when confronted with the British educational model.  Irish thinking, I argue, is  sui generis: neither German nor American and certainly not British.  While the “thinking men” of Dublin’s Trinity College would doubtless be comfortable in the same room as academics from England, America and Germany, at a cultural level the “Irish way” of doing things, I assert, is quite different from the way things are done anywhere else in the world. Don’t believe me? Ask the next leprechaun you meet in Killarney.

 

 

 

 

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Lance Dahl
Lance Dahl
13 days ago

Mark,
Another wonderful article, I wish I had Gary’s to make these for several of my own Petersons that are missing these extensions including 3-4 Mark Twain remakes….

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
13 days ago
Reply to  Lance Dahl

Hey Lance, recall that old saying of be careful of what you wish for…And I see there are quite a few thumbs up in agreement with you. I am very thankful for all the response. I am considering taking on the crafting of tenon extensions (ok, condensers) for my fellow “Pete Geeks”. Stay tuned.

Linwood
Linwood
13 days ago
Reply to  Gary Hamilton

Gary, I’ll stand in line at your door for a few. NOW, why did I sell my original MT? Same as Mark – it just didn’t smoke that well. HAD I known back then that it only needed the exten’ser (am I politically correct or not?), I darn sure would have drawn one up and asked a friend in the machine shop to make a few! “But, now, I have to find another MT, you rats….

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
13 days ago
Reply to  Linwood

Hi Linwood, Hopefully we can get all those suffering MT’s corrected. How ingenious of you, the “exten’ser”…I like it.

Martin
Martin
13 days ago

Another fine Blog entry. Great work on this one, I´m a fan of your “press fit” chimney.
Very interesting opinion on the Irish thinking is different. By the way I can Think much better drinking out of my Pete Geek Mug.

Stah
Stah
13 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Pete Mug is great, absolutely! Big enough, great material and crafting. My wife grabbed one of two I ordered, so she drinks her green tea from black, and I drink my black tea from green. Never mess up! 😀

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
13 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Hi Martin, I believe we are all thinking better since the arrival of our Pete Geek Mugs! I companion my mug like I do my pipe 🙂 Thank you for your comment, and being a “fan” of the press fit chimney.

Sébastien Canévet
Sébastien Canévet
13 days ago

Thanks for these new article, I’ve increase my knowledge about the Mark Twain model…

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
13 days ago

Sebastien, thank you for the comment, it is very much appreciated.

Nathaniel Gibbs
Nathaniel Gibbs
13 days ago

Absolutely fascinating article, an enjoyable read as ever. I concur with Mark’s thinking about logic. I am half British, half German and have worked a fair bit in Ireland and of course been a tourist there. Their execution of thought is very different to that of other Europeans, Americans and of course the Brits, despite the unethical dominance London had over the country for so long!

Stah
Stah
13 days ago

Thanks for the great article. Definitely, I need to make a tennon extension to my MT. I thought about it many times before, wondering why it was not done.

About the last paragraph: actually, living in Ireland, I found so-called “Irish way” is very close to the “Russian countryside way”. 🙂 At least, too many things Irish do in their life (including lifestyle, housekeeping, family values etc.) are similar to the people living somewhere in Ural hinterland.

Last edited 13 days ago by Stah
Marc Morano
Marc Morano
13 days ago

How do deluxe system pipes with 9mm filters alter the tenon extension? Does accommodating unfiltered stem change the system dynamics?

Terry McAtee
Terry McAtee
13 days ago

A great Sunday morning read with Peterson in hand with a great cup of coffee. God Bless You!

Stephen
Stephen
13 days ago

What a great read! Gary Hamilton, CPG, and I are in complete agreement tha the condenser is an integral part of the Peterson System. I applaud his accomplishment to return the MT to the fold of true System pipes. Something not mentioned is that the ‘new’ condensers are made of aluminum. I think this material was selected on purpose, due to its thermal characteristics. Remaining relatively cooler than the smoke, it causes the nastiness to condense on its surface and drip into the resevoir. I am an American engineer of German descent on both sides, and have worked with many… Read more »

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
13 days ago
Reply to  Stephen

Stephen, thank you very much for your comments. It is interesting how over time, that the manufacture of one simple item, like the condenser, can drift away from its original design. Mark Irwin and I have discussed this, and link it to a theory of “manufacturing fatigue”. Fatigue in the sense that one becomes lethargic or tired. Over time, and due to attrition of knowledge leaving with the craftsmen, small things can change without being immediately noticed. This new and subtle “change” over time becomes, by default, the new design. Sometimes it is best to go back to the starting… Read more »

Bob Cuccaro/TLIP
Bob Cuccaro/TLIP
13 days ago

Love anything about Twains! My 84 is always on display and smoke mainly Peretti TGD blend in it. Love this article going into detail creating the condenser.

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
13 days ago

Bob, I’m very glad you enjoyed the story. I had a great time with the research and writing.

Br Jack+
13 days ago

I always felt my MT was missing something. I never thought about the condenser, though. In my defense, I’ve just gotten into De Luxe System pipes because I just don’t have the money. I have two De Luxe pipes without condensers — the MT and a 5s. I emailed Peterson about condensers for the 5s and they sent me two. However, the stem seems to be a replacement stem (no P on the stem) and it’s not threaded. My MT (which was my Holy Grail pipe when I first saw it in an ad in a Pipes and Tobacco magazine),… Read more »

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
13 days ago
Reply to  Br Jack+

Hey Brother Jack, hold on to that last thought of yours…I’m working on it….

Jonathan Gut
Jonathan Gut
13 days ago
Reply to  Gary Hamilton

Hi Gary, another excellent article. Keep me in mind regarding MT condenser. I have #290 of the 1981s, never have understood why Peterson left out the condenser.

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
13 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan Gut

Hi Jonathan, Wow #290, that’s a keeper…but I think we can figure out a way to make it a better smoker.

Massimo genoni . Cpg italy.
Massimo genoni . Cpg italy.
13 days ago

very interesting post. Thank you. I share your thoughts on tobacco and chemical additives. Precisely for this reason I only smoke cigars in a pipe.

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
13 days ago

What a post today! Thank you Gary & Thank you Mark! It had everything one looks for in one post. Incredible pictures, a fantastic history lesson and technical walk-through WITH the reasoning behind the decisions made. Gary I truly appreciate the level of care and expertise you bring to the tenon condenser friction fit solution. Mark I appreciate the insight as to why you love love the MT from back in the day. Such a shame that original went away, but knowing your outlook on companioning a pipe over collecting them, it makes absolute sense. I really enjoy reading &… Read more »

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
13 days ago
Reply to  Nevaditude

Hey Mark, Thanks for the kind words, and I’m so glad that you enjoyed the story today. I had a fantastic time writing it, and Mark Irwin is a terrific editor and mentor. I’m thankful we have our “Pete Geek” community in which to share thoughts and ideas with. Like you said, it is indeed a brotherhood. And we are all blessed.

Ken Sigel
Ken Sigel
12 days ago

Gary, what a great piece! I like the combination of history, engineering, and hands on experience. I have always assumed it was the depth of the reservoir that made some of my Patent Era Pete’s smoke so well. Now I am going to start looking at the relationship of the tenon extension and the smoke hole on some of my newer pipes. Well done!

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
12 days ago
Reply to  Ken Sigel

Hey Ken, and thank you. I’m pleased that you enjoyed the story. Please report back on what you find when examining your newer pipes, it will be interesting to see if the original design is adhered to.

Robert Terry
Robert Terry
12 days ago

Fantastic history of the MT, as well as the benefit of the condenser for all system Pete’s. I would love to companion a 1982 deluxe MT, A graduation year pipe.

Please let us know if you go live with the custom condenser upgrade!

D.H. Billings
D.H. Billings
12 days ago

Great article, and I love that you kept the extension to the same inner diameter as the tenon. Interestingly enough, I don’t like the current extensions because their inner diameter is less than the airway. Maybe if I re-drilled those extensions, I’d change my mind?

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
11 days ago
Reply to  D.H. Billings

Hey D.H., Thank you for noticing that I maintained the same airway (draft hole) diameter through the tenon extension to match that of the draft hole in the stem. To have a tenon extension with a draft hole smaller than that of the stem is counterproductive to the intent of the original design of the System pipe that Charles Peterson designed. If you are able to re-drill the extensions that you have, I’m sure you will notice an improvement. Just be careful of going too big and eating into the threads from the inside. And by luck, if your extensions… Read more »

Marcus Hunt
Marcus Hunt
11 days ago

Great article and fascinating reading! Just a thought, do you think the factory might have just made a boo boo by not making the tenon extension? Perhaps, at that price and rarity ( like some collectible whiskies that never get opened) they never actually expected anyone to actually smoke the pipe? Maybe they just thought it would be a collectible for some wealthy patron’s collection?

Last edited 11 days ago by Marcus Hunt