23. Peterson Chubbies, Part 3: The 107 P-Lip Straight Billiard (Revised)
After the classic John 999 and old 9BC, the third entry in my catalog of the all-time greatest Peterson Chubbies is a straight billiard, the 107 P-Lip. It’s also the newest of the three. A careful study of the K&P ephemera reveals that if a pipe is illustrated in a Peterson brochure (rather than a catalog or catalog brochure), it is often because that shape or line is new. Following this line of logic, the 107 was announced in the 1979 supplemental pages the 1975 catalog “now illustrated for the first time.”
107 Kildare Patch (c. 1979)
This might seem definitive if it were not for a troubling listing on ebay a short while ago of a Rogers Imports-era Shamrock 107. The photograph is distorted, but the number does appear to be a 107. The rim has been inexpertly rounded and the stem probably not original, as Shamrocks from this era were fitted with P-Lips, not fishtail stems. Still, it makes you wonder.
107 Shamrock with an obvious replacement stem
The shape next appears around 1992 in the “Handmade” brochure as the “XL Billiard 107,” in the re-booted Sterling Silver line, which had been around since Rogers Imports introduced it in the late 1940s, but not seen in the ephemera for about ten years or so before resurfacing in the early 1990s.
XL Billiard 107 (1992 Handmade Brochure)
While Peterson is known for its iconic bent System shapes, from the very beginning they also made straight pipes—first the small-chambered Patents, then traditional English shapes, which of course morphed into the bigger, bolder, and more masculine shapes for which Peterson is renowned. The 107 is about as “Peterson” as a straight pipe can get in its design language, especially if coupled with the graduated-bore P-Lip stem—which also gives it a dryer, cooler smoke and relieves the pipeman of the necessity of running a pipe cleaner down the stem half-way through the smoke.
The 107 is part of the “100” series line, which dates back to the 1906 catalog. Interestingly enough, the number itself seems never to have been used officially until 1979, or at least, it is undocumented in the ephemera we have seen so far. The 1906 catalog has a number of classic billiard shape: 101, 102, 103, 104, 104, 105, 106, 109 (not to be confused with the XL diamond-shanked 109 of recent years), and 110, but no 107.
Maigret (Italian Market only, photo courtesy Mario Lubinski)
I came to straight Petes fairly recently in my smoking, thanks to the encouragement of Phil Blumenthal over at the IPPC, and tried a Maigret 107 about a year ago. I found the pipe too heavy and uncomfortable with its fishtail acrylic stem, and let it go. A few months ago I spotted the 107 in a Flame Grain, and with the P-Lip it seemed the very epitome of Peterson’s best Chubby Aesthetic, so I went for it.
What makes a pipe a “Chubby” is a matter of some debate, but as far as I’m concerned it has to do with the thickness of its bowl, bowl walls, stummel and stem compared with traditional shapes in its classification—as a billiard, in this instance, it will be considerably more “inflated” than other straight billiards.* The tapered effect of the 107 P-Lip on its massive stem contributes significantly to making the shape look not merely large but truly Chubby.
A visual comparison between the 105, 106 and 107, all adorned with bands and P-Lips, points out the Chubby contrast nicely:
Top to Bottom: 105, 106, 107
(Photos Courtesy Smokingpipes.com)
You can also see it in the measurement numbers:
Pipe X105 Aran 106 Aran 107 Flame Grain
Length 5.55 in / 140.84 5.78 in / 140.84 mm 5.82 in / 147.83 mm
Weight 1.39oz / 39.54 g 1.80 oz / 51.03 gr 1.90 oz / 53.86 gr
Bowl Height 1.79 in / 45.49 mm 1.90 in / 48.26 mm 1.99 in /50.55 mm
Chamber Depth 1.54 in / 39.21 mm 1.61 in / 40.89 mm 1.61 in / 40.89 mm
Chamber Diameter 0.78 in / 19.85 mm 0.79 in / 20.07 mm 0.82 in / 20.83 mm
Outside Diameter 1.40 in / 35.49 mm 1.49 in / 37.85 mm 1.61 in / 40.89 mm
All three pipes retain what I think of as the classic bowl geometry of 2 : 1, depth by width, making them great all-around pipes whatever your tobacco tastes, but particularly desirable for Virginia flake and Va/Per smokers.
Currently the 107 appears in a number of Classic Lines, including of late the Christmas 2014 and Dracula series, but seems to be available with the P-Lip only in the Flame Grain, Killarney and Dublin Filter. I wish the 107 P-Lip was more widely available, as it is actually easier to grip in the mouth than the fishtail. The Flame Grain runs about $160 (and you’ll see a fill or two). Sometimes it shows up in the Killarney entry grade (under $100) as well. I’ve also spotted the 107 P-Lip in the older U.S. Rock of Cashel line as well as the Dublin Filter, but sadly, not in the Aran, where I think it would be a natural.
*My diatribe on Chubby pipes can be found at http://www.neatpipes.com/blog/built-for-comfort-a-short-history-of-the-chubby-style/&id=7.