388. A Visual History of Peterson’s Bulldog Shape, Part 1: The Patent Era (1891-1919).

PSA: If you missed out on the mugs, flatcaps or tampers,
see the end of this post.

The quest for the perfect Peterson bulldog began for me with the first pipe I smoked, my Dad’s  Kaywoodie White Briar shape 12B, one of his two Kaywoodies. I knew nothing about pipes except that I wanted to be a pipe smoker, and I certainly had never heard of Peterson.  Because it was my first pipe, I suppose I’ve always held the bulldog shape in special regard, although there’s never been one in my rotation.

The Kaywoodie White Briar 12B (not my Dad’s, but same pipe)

While I’ve always felt the bulldog to be a quintessentially English shape, there’s no doubt that K&P made the shape its own right from the start, as we’ll see in this first installment dealing with the Patent era.  As I usually do with a shape history, I’ll begin with the famous chart from the old ASP shape history made by Bill Burney.



Courtesy Bill Burney

“The classic bulldog,” writes Burney, “has a diamond shank, tapered stem and the bowl is canted forward a few degrees. The bowl is shaped somewhat like two cones joined at the bases, with the top cone truncated or cut off and the bottom cone blended into the shank.  Where the two cones join, there are traditionally two very small grooves cut around the bowl. . . . They are also available bent.” So the iconic design language looks like these two representatives from the workbench of Italian artisan Francisco Ganci:

Francisco Ganci Bulldogs (photos courtesy Al Pascia and Bollitopipe)

I would suggest the design language of a classic bulldog has six components:

  1. diamond shank
  2. tapered stem
  3. bowl canted forward a few degrees
  4. two small grooves where the top and bottom cone meet
  5. usually straight, can be bent
  6. conical or v-shaped chamber

You can’t get more of an English bulldog than Dunhill’s,
this being the 4104 Chestnut. Hmm—all those who cavil about
Peterson Heritage and Dark Smooth stains—see anything remotely familiar here? LOL
(Photo courtesy Blue Room Briars)

You’ll notice I’ve added a sixth to Burney’s list of five. I’m not a pipe maker, but I’ve read and seen diagrams that the chamber geometry of the bulldog is conical or v-shaped. I’ve peered into my dublin and bulldogs with a flashlight and poked my finger into them trying to make this determination, but really, it needs someone from the industry or an artisan pipe maker to confirm this. If you fall into either of those categories, your commentary would be most welcome.

If bulldogs really do have conical chambers, this may account for why so many pipemen don’t care for the shape while others are enthusiasts: the v-shaped chamber is (I’ve heard it said) the least popular among smokers. This is because it causes the flavors of the tobacco to intensify as the bowl is smoked down. One reason I like dublin shapes, in fact, is for this very reason. If Fletch, Professor John or anyone else in the know can comment, I’d really appreciate knowing for certain. With all this in mind, however, we’re ready at last to turn to ye olde Irish bulldogges.


Ye Olde Irish Bulldogge (the Canine Variety)



1896 Catalog Shapes

From the Patent era, the earliest bulldogs in the K&P catalogs we know about are those in the 1896 catalog, shapes 34, 35 and 36, seen from smallest (top) to largest in this illustration:


As they are only illustrations, it’s difficult to know with certainty if all three have forward cants on their bowls, but there is one essential detail we ought to note: the beads between the small grooves where the top and bottom cones meet. These beads will return!

1906 Catalog Shapes

A decade later, the 1906 catalog follows up with an explosion of Irish bulldogges—the Coronation Cad, the 200, 201, 202, 203, 204 and 205. You can judge the scale by the 1 : 1 ruler overlay in each of the following illustrations:

Coronation Cad and the 200


The 201 Variations


The 202 and 203


The 204 and 205



K&P’s named shapes are few and far between and have always been among my favorites if only for that very reason.  Like Patrick McGoohan’s No. 6 in the old TV show The Prisoner, I seem to prefer names over numbers.  Usually with Peterson names just a little thought will unlock the reason for the name. But “Coronation Cad” was so unusual that a few years ago I called in my “little grey cells” (which are normally in hiberation) to help out.  I came up with the etymology for “Cad” a few years ago, but as it was discretely placed in a footnote, you may not recall what I wrote.  Here’s the story, taken Michael Quinion’s Worldwidewords.org:

“The word started life as cadet, either a military trainee or a member of a younger branch of a family. That developed into caddie, now solely a golfer’s bag carrier, but in the eighteenth century it meant any lad or man who hung about in the hope of getting casual work as an errand-boy, messenger or odd-job man. Both cadet and caddie were shortened to cad. . . . In 1895, George Augustus Sala commented in London Up to Date: ‘An omnibus conductor, nowadays, would, I suppose, were the epithet of cad applied to him, resent the appellation as a scandalous insult; and, indeed, cad has come to be considered a term of contempt, now extended to any mean, vulgar fellow of whatever social rank he may be.”  The shift seems to have happened at the University of Oxford. Lads from the town who hung about colleges in the hope of casual work of the caddie type were called “cads” by the undergraduates. It became a contemptuous way [for the undergrads] to describe townsmen, and by about 1840 it had achieved its full flowering as a term for a man whose behaviour was unacceptable.”

Tom Crean, age 25, smoking a K&P Coronation Cad
aboard the Discovery (photo taken September 30, 1902)

As I like to remind everyone from time to time, just because a shape appeared in a catalog which can be dated to a certain year doesn’t mean the shape first appeared in that year. Here we have a marvelous example: the photo above was taken on September 30, 1902. It’s our own Great Explorer Tom Crean, age 25 and looking like he stepped out of a 2024 men’s fashion magazine with his scrappy beard, windblown hair, Aran sweater and dog (notice how there’s always a dog in outdoor fashion photos these days? At least something is getting better in the world).

Of course, what I really want you to see is the K&P Coronation Cad in Crean’s mouth. If you study the photo and the catalog illlustrations long enough, I think you’ll see that the Coronation Cad offers the largest bowl of any of the 1906 bulldogs.  The photos for the K&P 1906 catalog were taken in 1905 , which means Crean’s pipe couldn’t have been made any later than about 1901, as the voyage to the Antarctic took about 10 months.

Playing off the “cad” = caddie idea, I suspect the Coronation Cad was meant as the very first Peterson “SPORTS” pipe because of its full-size bowl and short stem. It’s an amazing design by anyone’s standards and one of the greatest Petes not currently in the catalog. But why “Coronation”?

The unmounted Amber P-Lip 202 and 203 in the 1906 catalog

(Of course, it’s possible that Crean’s smoking a 202 or 203, but I’m going to go with Coronation Cad not just because I like it when K&P names their shapes, but because I’ve more to say about this particular shape.)   

A Note from the the secretary of His Majesty King Edward VII to Alfred Kapp
preserved in the Kapp & Peterson Archives

In 2013 on our big research expedition, Gigi found a photograph with the small two-page note seen above. Here’s a few annotations to help everyone not raised with a good English education or in the Emerald Isle (the Pete Geek’s spiritual home!) puzzle their way through it:

  • The note is written to Alfred Kapp, not from him.
  • The King referred to in the note was, of course, King Edward VII (r. 1901-1910).
  • “Her Majesty” was Queen Alexandra of Denmark.
  • “Princess Victoria” (1868-1935) was their fourth child and second daughter.

King Edward VII (1901-1910)


The beautiful Princess Victoria, daughter of King Edward VII

  • The “snapshots” were taken “during Their Majesties’ Visit to the Exhibition,” aka The Irish International Exhibition 1907, which was held in Herbert Park (in the Ballsbridge neighborhood of Dublin) from May through October.

View of the Exhibition from the Entrance

  • The Viceregal Lodge (Áras an Uachtaráin) was built in the 1750s and became the summer residence of the Chief Secretary of Ireland, viz., the head of British government in Ireland.

Vice Regal Lodge

I confess I can’t decipher the signature. I presume this lady or gentleman was a secretary of some sort to the royal family. If you’re familiar with the history of Ireland and Great Britain in these years, do leave a comment and let us know.


Alfred Kapp’s “Snap” from the Irish International Exhibition

Either we didn’t get away from Dublin with a good scan of Alfred Kapp’s snapshot in 2013, or the photo wasn’t very good to begin with, but you can see it’s the King from his beard and that it was taken at the exhibition by comparison of the half timbering in the building and the name over the entrance—“Irish Canada” or “Irish Canadians”? with the half timbering of some of the buildings at the exhibition.

Not everyone was excited about the Royal family’s visit, of course, as the following clipping from The Gaelic American reports. For Alfred Kapp and his uncle by marriage and business partner Charles Peterson, getting to spot the King and Queen, take a few snaps and then forward them to the Vice Regal Lodge was important.  Theirs was mostly an export business and depended heavily on sales to Commonwealth nations.

The Gaelic American – Vol. IV, No. 21, May 25, 1907, Whole Number 193.

To send the photos and receive a written reply saying King Edward “was very much pleased” by the Peterson pipes and that Queen Alexandra and Princess Victoria wanted more copies doubtless exceeded Kapp’s expectations.  I’m left wondering which pipes were sent to the King–which was probably Charles Peterson’s call. How “regal” would the pipes be? Meerschaum or briar? Sterling or rose gold mounted? Engraved? With what legend–“To His Gracious Majesty King Edward VII”? Don’t forget that while Charles Peterson and Alfred Kapp were trying to build a successful export business, Charles was also quietly sympathetic to Home Rule and the Irish cause.  In any event, King Edward VII was a heavy cigar smoker.  I imagine those pipes are sitting–“New Old Stock”! in a box somewhere in the sub-basement of a sub-basement of a sub-basement and have never even been cataloged.


A 1903 Patent Bulldog 200S

Ken Sigel has sent me photos of a beautiful 1903 Patent Bulldog he’s recently acquired, one which readers of the Peterson book can see in the bottom right hand corner of p. 57. Whether it’s the Coronation Cad or a 202, I couldn’t say. I can say by looking at the bowl and the extended tenon that it must have been—and I’m sure still is—an incredible smoking pipe. To be smoked enough to color as it has and to have the amber stem in as good a condition as it is—evidence not only of its keeper’s love for it, but of how well it performs.

This screw-in tenon extension (remember this is a Patent System) is what draws me to it.
It must have smoked like a dream, given its coloring.


By way of conclusion, I want to bridge this post to the next bulldog installment with comments from any Pete Geek who companions a Peterson bulldog. Send me a photo and tell me what tobacco or tobaccos you smoke in it.  If you tried (and failed) to companion a Pete bulldog, I’m also very interested in hearing from you—just tell me which shape and the problem that led you to part with the pipe.  In return, I’ll add the Commentary Merit Badge to your CPG.

To be continued . . .


With thanks to Ken Sigel, CPG for photographs of his Patent Meerschaum 200S;
to K&P for archival materials on King Edward VII’s visit to Ireland;
and to Rebecca Oviedo, Distinctive Collections Librarian/Archivist
at Falvey Memorial Library, Villanova University,
for her marvelous post on the 1907 Irish International Exhibition
(check it out to see the giant water slide and other amusements on offer at that exhibition);
Dunhill Chestnut photo courtesy Blueroombriars.com.



Are you coming to the Chicago International Pipe & Tobacciana Show? It runs from Wednesday, April 10 through Sunday the 14th.  You can scroll down every day’s events and get a description of the offerings at the CPCC’s website.

The Pete Geeks will be meeting Saturday, April 13th, from 4:15 to 6:15 or so in conference room DFW A. Details can be found here: PETE GEEK CHICAGO MEET.

I’m giving a presentation on the contemplative aspects of pipe smoking as well as to launch my new novel, The X Pipe and Other Mystagogic Stories for Pipemen. The novel will be available at our table at the Buy Sell & Swap on Sunday from 3-5 as well as following my presentation Friday. Details on the presentation at THE LIFE YOU SAVE MAY BE YOUR OWN.





Massimo Genoni, CPG. SH Original, from 1987/88: I don’t remember exactly the year of purchase, but notice the peculiar hallmarks!

Mark: If you haven’t seen the hallmark to the right before which shows a weight scale with .925 on it, this is the hallmark of the Convention on the Control and Marking of Articles of Precious Metals. Ireland participates in the Convention, as do many countries from around the globe. For inscrutable reasons known only the mysterious and secretive Company of Goldsmiths of Dublin, the Convention mark was often stamped on K&P’s sterling in certain years. Whether this was by accident or design, I couldn’t say but I might just write them and ask as the question has come up several times.




John M. Young, CPG.


John is smoking an “old, reliable friend,” an 86 Army Mount


Joe Gibson, CPG.

Joe asked me to remind everyone that St. Patrick’s Day is only a week away: “Are you prepared?”


Revised 12:00 CDT

Flat Caps: None available at this time.
If you bought a flat cap and it’s TOO SMALL, please contact me for options.
Tampers: Only Red Classics are available
Mugs are all gone.
If you’re interested in the available flat caps or tampers,
email petegeek1896@gmail.com and she’ll send you a PayPal invoice.
And many thanks to everyone who has participated in these events!


Continue Reading388. A Visual History of Peterson’s Bulldog Shape, Part 1: The Patent Era (1891-1919).