355. SPECIAL BULLETIN: The Story of the 2023 Pipe of the Year (Drops on 8/8)

(Pocket Jar PSA: See end of post)

UPDATE: 8/8 8:56pm CDT. Just a word of thanks to SPC for the incredible staggered roll-out of the POY and the great interface in loading and checking out. So many PGs are very happy tonight–hope you’ll pass our collective thanks to everyone at SPC and in Dublin! For those still looking, might be worthwhile, as Nevatitude says, to check back every so often in case the finish you’re looking for shows up!



Terracotta X160 under Patent illustration in 1906 catalog

Pete Geeks look forward to summer with great expectation, as it sees the debut of the new Pipe of the Year. This year we’re in for a real treat, the X160, an amazing shape and exacting reproduction of the original from the Patent era. Here’s what you need to know about the drop:

US DROP: Per Andy Wike at Laudisi, “Peterson’s highly anticipated Pipe of the Year 2023 retails at 6:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, August 8th.”

US Pete Geeks might remember there’s a drop in Dublin as well:

EUROPEAN DROP: Per Adam O’Neill at Smokingpipes.eu, “PotY 2023 for SPE will drop Tuesday the 8th of August 10:00 IST and will have Heritage, Terracotta, Ebony, Rusticated, Sandblasted plus Natural, Rusticated Silver Cap and PSB Rua.” US Rua and Rusticated Silver Cap devotees looking for the harder-to-get finishes, take note!

Finishes at SPC will certainly include  Rusticated, Sandblasted, Heritage and Terracotta in good number. As in previous years, I’m guessing there won’t be a lot of Terracottas.  There will be Ebony, Naturals and a few Rua PSBs as well, at least for those who are early to the party.  I know that a very few Supreme Sandblasted and Supreme smooths have been made (and are seen in the new “All Pipes Considered” video) and some diligent souls will be adding those to their rotations as well (Bob? are you listening?).

Finishes at SPEu should be the same as in the US, although where the Supreme, Supreme Sandblast and Rusticated Silver Caps will land, I don’t know. If you’re after one of these more exotic rarities, see the “Tips & Tricks” below.

There is a great post already up at The Daily Reader at SPC from Chuck Stanion on the new release as well as an episode of All Pipes Considered” with Sykes Wilford and Josh Burgess, so do check those out and leave them a word of thanks in the comments. These two work really hard for us.

Rusticated (Boy, I like this look)

Tips & Tricks: I’ve heard that good results can be obtained at the time of drop by being on the Peterson page before the drop time and refreshing the page until you see the “Pipe of the Year 2023” in the sidebar on the left of the page. It appears well before you’ll get an email announcing availability. Doing this will save you the frustration of going through 8 or 10 pages of new pages until you hit the POYs—if you ever get there due to the system crashing from the feeding frenzy!

I’ve also heard that checking out asap is also a good idea, as folks tell me that if someone checks out before you, you may not get the pipe in your basket. Those who patronize Pipestud’s Saturday tobacco offerings will know what I mean. It’s just one of those software things that can’t be avoided, apparently.

Finally, if you’re after a higher-tier finish, just plan on showing up to the Dublin drop party. Why worry about a bit of extra postage or early rising when what you really wanted was a Rua, Supreme, Silver Cap, Natural or whatever? If you miss it in Dublin, you always have the US drop to fall back on.

The Supreme Smooth: Perfection and how I love birdseye


  • There will be a total of 1100 pipes serially-numbered combining all finishes.
  • The pipes come in a beautiful Donegal Tweed pipe sock with the “Pipe of the Year 2023” logo on the leather patch.
  • The release is accompanied by a POY2023-specific “Chat With the Smoker” pipe box brochure as well as by the new “Chat” brochure and a token silver polishing cloth.
  • Finding the finish you want should be slightly easier this year. In part this is due to the increased number made and in part, as Josh Burgess explains on the “All Pipes Considered” video, because K&P was fortunate with the quality of bowls sourced and able to produce 10 finishes, the most they’ve ever achieved on a POY release.

I’m still waiting for a sports coat, K&P. Or at least a flat cap!

Approximate measurements and other details:

Length: 5.82 in./147.83 mm.
Weight: 1.90 oz./53.86 g.
Bowl Height: 2.03 in./51.56 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.62 in./41.15 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.74 in./18.80 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.56 in./39.62 mm.
Stem: Chamfered P-Lip Vulcanite
Filter: None and 9mm
Shape: Patent Era X160
Finishes: Rusticated, Sandblast, Heritage, Ebony, Terracotta, Rua, Natural, Rusticated Silver cap, Supreme Sandblast, Supreme smooth

The Supreme Sandblast Tanshell


For their fifth POY, Kapp & Peterson has released an accurate reproduction of the beautiful swan neck X160 Peterson Lip Pipe from the 1906 catalog, furthering the “New Traditional” emphasis of Laudisi-era Peterson. As Director of Sales Glen Whelan explained to me:

“The Pipe of the Year is the pinnacle of Peterson every year. In the Laudisi era we’ve followed a very specific theme by bringing back old classic shapes. Every year around the same time we get to thinking about what we want next year, although for me I confess that it’s pretty much on my mind most of the time, along with the SPD, Christmas and other new releases!

“For the POY I usually start by looking through old catalogues, older web images, photos and of course the Peterson book and Peterson Pipe Notes. I’m looking for something to jump out at me, and the X160 stopped me dead in my tracks. I popped it on the screen in our conference room, and Josh, Sykes and I all agreed that this was going to be it—so long as we could execute the shape!. We consulted with Jonathan Fields (production manager), Jason Hinch (silversmith) and Giacomo Penzo (our pipe specialist) and they they agreed—this was the shape.

I had help from a good friend in the pipe community who actually had this exact shape, in meerschaum no less, and he was able to share precise measurements that Giacomo used to create a replica. Seeing the bowl before our eyes we knew we had something special.

(Note: “Ambroid” is not Bakelite but amber shards and pieces that have been glued together. Many say it is quite beautiful, and of course it was much less expensive than genuine amber. I wonder if it was more shatter resistant?)

When you resurrect a new shape, you start wondering how it ever fell off the shape chart, but I guess that shows how consumer taste can evolve over time and come back full circle. I guess the pipe world is no different than, say, music world, where we went from vinyl, cassette, CD and minidisc to MP3/streaming and now around full circle where vinyl is the ‘in’ thing again. Classics will always be classics.

The Rustic Silver Cap


A Closer Look

Unbelieveable! Notice the X160 passes a pipe cleaner.

The first thing I want to celebrate in the X160 is that, while it’s an army mount, every one of the four samples I handled passes a pipe cleaner. For a bent pipe, and a bent army mount, that’s wildly amazing. I’d call it over-engineering, at least in the sense that, with an army mount, you can always break the pipe down if you need to while smoking it. But this would be to miss the point: the point is that with the briar airway’s hole and the tenon hole matched up like this, there’s less turbulence, which means a cooler smoke.

If you picked up one of the recent Short Army pipes, you already know some of this story first-hand. The chamfer on the vulcanite tenon—seen above—is the same style employed on the Short Army.  This and the accurate drilling compensate for the wider tenon-mortise gap, and at least in my experience with the Short Army and my own chamfering modifications on other Petes, overcomes any turbulence leading to hot smokes.


The vulcanite stem is discussed in the “All Pipes Considerered” video, where Josh discusses the difficulties involved and Jonathan Field’s problem-solving in making it happen.  Whether or not this is a brand-new stem or something modified, I don’t know.  I do know the Short Army and recent Terracotta Spigot stems are new, and this stem’s graceful bulge toward the tenon (to accommodate the graduated bore) and the crisp lines of its P-Lip shelves make me believe it may be new as well.



The shank stamps on the Terracotta, Rusticated, Heritage and Ebony are all placed together on the shank bottom, as is the usual Laudisi-era practice. I’m wondering if there’s a story on why 1100 was settled on for the total number of pipes or if it was simply a matter of expediency. Maybe someone from K&P can tell us in the comments (hint)?

The band stamps continue Laudisi-Peterson’s practice of placing the hallmark below PETERSON on the bottom of the sterling band and the Peterson script above DUBLIN on the front.


Shank face and Ferrule

The shank face and ferrule aren’t something we talk about as Pete Geeks very much, although they have a long and interesting history. I asked Josh Burgess to explain a bit about the shank face is determined:

“We would call the briar underneath the mount the shank face when thinking about the very end of the shank. Shaping of the shank is done by our craftsmen, and determining how to shape a new pipe shape’s shank is usually a collaborative process between Jason Hinch in mounting and Giacomo Penzo in BTA. Deciding whether that should be flat, rounded, or bullet-like is usually a part of the design process. Then Giacomo and Jason work together to ensure that our tooling was set up properly to achieve the desired shape. The basic shape of the mount on different styles of army mounts is a result of turning/shaping that we do in our BTA station. So a System Standard will have a very rounded shank, a Deluxe System a flatter shank face, and something like the POY a kind of bullet shape.”

The shank face has to match up, of course, with the diameter of the stem tenon. For the new POY, like every other mounted Pete, the shank face briar has to work from the diameter of the stem. For my money, K&P has achieved a really close approximation of the shank face/ferrule seen in the 1906 original.


Shape Lines

For me, the lines of a shape are extremely important, giving visual as well as potential tactile information in hand. For a bent P-Lip Peterson it is especially helpful to see a flank profile of the pipe from both the horizon line of the bowl rim and the horizon line of the button. The first gives us a true idea of what kind of bend to expect on the pipe, while the second gives us the drop angle of the bowl. Historically and Peterson P-Lip bents have always had a bowl drop so I’m prejudiced, as you might say, to this tradition. The composition of the X160 is elegance in a pipe, a true swan neck:

A good flank photo can be shot either from slightly above, like this one of the Heritage, or straight from the side. Both give valuable information not typically seen in advertising shots on the internet. This one illustrates the bend with a horizontal rim line.


This is a nearly-true obverse flank shot giving priority to the horizon line of the clenching shelf. This lets us see how the pipe will “dip” and the way in which it adheres to Peterson tradition. This one, I sure you’ll be glad to know, passes the test with flying colors! The Sandblast in black gives a gnarly, tactile feel to the design.

While there’s no way to really explore a three-dimensional object except by long, close attention in person, I wanted to share a few more photos that show the wonderful full cheeking (curvy sides of the bowl) and tapered shank that make this such an appealing, unforgettable shape.

The dark polished lines of the Heritage here let us see the amazing transition and curves of the shank and bowl.


The Ebony finish is also a first choice when evaluating a pipe by its shape. These two photos from SPC, seen in this fashion, also allow us to understand the sinuous geometry of the X160 a bit better.


The Rua PSB: there is simply no competition from other makers for this great, deep blast and contrast stain effect.


The X160 in Historical Context

There’s a lot of pedigree behind the new POY and I thought it would be fun to set out some of the highlights.

The X61 / P-Lip Celebration (1998)

The most important link between the new POY and the original Patent shape is the X61 / P-Lip Celebration 1898-1998 commemorative released in 1998, the centenary of the P-Lip patent. In The Peterson Pipe we read,

“The P-Lip Celebration may be the great, unheralded Peterson commemorative. Infrequently seen on the estate market (especially as a complete set with rack), it was produced to celebrate the centenary of Charles Peterson’s final System patent in 1898, #18827, for the P-Lip.

The X61 was offered with a two pipe rack and both smooth and Pebble Rustic

“Tom Palmer told Pipesmoke magazine in 1998 that Peterson chose ‘two traditional Peterson bents, replicas of 1898 designs—one with a smooth finish, one rusticated—along with a special rack to hold them. Each pipe and rack is stamped with a commemorative legend’ (Winter 1998/1999, p. 13).  The bowl matches the X160 Patent Lip found in the 1906 catalog, although it has been upgraded with a space-fitting saddle stem rather than the flush-fit ‘Navy’ stem it was originally fitted with. Its significance for the collector derives from the fact that Peterson chose to reproduce not a Patent System pipe, but a shape originally cut only for the Patent Lip line. The reproduction is a little larger than the original. In addition, none of the Patent Lip pipes in the 1906 catalog utilized space-fitting [Deluxe style] mounts.”

From long companionship, I can tell you the P-Lip Celebration is an excellent smoking pipe. It’s also unique in the catalog in that the wear-gap mount features a cross-drilled aluminum tenon extension and accommodating mortise like those found in Deluxe Classic Range pipes until the 1950s or ’60s.

The bowl of the X61, as you can see in the side-by-side photo above, is larger and more elongated than the X160, while still bearing a  family resemblance. The shank is of a similar proportion, but straight rather than possessing the gorgeous tapered swan-neck curve. It’s was a great way to celebrate the final Patent from 1898 as well as honor the Patent Lip Pipes.

Going back to the 1906 catalog we find there are quite a few “160” shapes, including the 160, 161, 163, 164 and X160, ranging from smallest to largest:

For convenience sake I’ve placed the two pages of the 160 group together.

 Each of these, as was the practice in the Patent era, could be ordered in a number of mounting styles: the AB (army taper), B (navy taper), B Long (taper long) and B Short (taper short) as well as spigot and long sterling screw, seen here:


The “160” group, or handful of shapes, are still with us after almost 120 years. While the “1” prefix (which I believe was used to designate what we think of as Classic Range shapes) has been dropped on most of the shapes, surprisingly enough the 160 is still with us. Here it is in a recent 160 Silver Mounted Army, with acrylic P-Lip:


The 160 Silver Army P-Lip

It is still quite close to 160 bowl in the 1906 catalog. There are three other contemporary shapes that are part of this same little family, the 65, 69 and 68:

Aran 65, 69 and 68

The 68 is the chubby version, of course, and didn’t enter the catalog until c. 1979, but is still a card-carrying member. The 65 and 69, like the 160, seem to have been around forever.


What did the Thinking Man Smoke? Could it be . . . ? Nah. Or wait,is it . . . ?

By now, I hope every Pete Geek knows that the Thinking Man smokes a 4s:

This is the illustration used in the 1906 catalog, advertisements and B&W ephemera, which is why—in my opinion—it’s such an iconic shape and needs to be in regular production. Well, that and the fact that it’s one of the best and most versatile smoking pipes in the world.

This is the sepia-tone poster of the Thinking Man painting distributed by K&P back in the day.
Notice he’s smoking a 9S.

 Now a few Pete Geeks—ephemera hounds like Chris Lauer, CPG and a few others—will know that the Thinking Man also has in his rotation another great System, one seen in the famous oil painting reproduced during the Patent era (with the word ‘Patent’ in it and facing the title page of the Peterson book) and later on tobacco tins and pouch packages (without the word ‘Patent’).

But wait, there’s more!

X160B Long

 Study the X160 B Long carefully, because this is the 3rd pipe in the Thinking Man’s rotation. It is seen hanging in all its extensive glory in the large flatback sculpture of the Thinking Man that hung for many decades over the Grafton Street shop.

You can see it quite clearly in the flatback seen above before it was repainted. If you’ve read the Peterson book, you know the story. In brief, it hung over the Grafton Street shop for years and years and was taken down when the shop moved to its new Nassau St. digs. It was severely damaged by the greenhouse effect of being under a plexiglass cover for several years, so it was taken to the factory for restoration. In the meantime, word came down that the Dublin city council wouldn’t allow it to be rehung as it was an endorsement of tobacco smoking. In any event, it was eventually restored to its present glory and hung in the hallway of the factory:


It goes without saying—but I’m saying it—that the Pete Geek who strives to be a student of the Thinking Man can do no better than make sure these three essential pipes are in his rotation: the 4S (or 4 shape equivalent like the 309, XL339, 79, 4AB), the 9S (or equivalents like the 307, XL307 and XL90) and now the X160.

The Natural in Flame Grain. Unbelievable.


Josh Burgess, Glen Whelan, Steve Mawby & Shimshon Cook for all their help;
to Laudisi Enterprises for permission to reproduce stock photos.



Last Day to Order Pocket Jars

Today is the last day to order the Pete Geek Pocket Jar. Marie will send in your requests tomorrow. When we receive the jars she will send you a PayPal invoice. All the details of size and color and cost are in her link here, which you must fill out and submit:  PETE GEEK LEAF POCKET JAR.



More Leaves from the Pete Geeks

Gaz Hansen, CPG


Shimshon Cook, CPG


Abba Mark Hunt, CPG



Hats off to Jon Umpherville, CPG

The new Reader’s Merit Badge

Jon hails from northern Canada and in the course of recent correspondence told me he was reading straight through every single post of PPN. I recall warning him this might be a dangerous thing to do for a number of reasons, but he persisted to the bitter end. I promised to create a special CPG merit badge as he’s the first person I know to have actually been this . . . well, devoted.

As you can see from his “crazy eyes,” he has been undergoing remedial treatment. I’m sure the NOS 312 Pete Meer System he’s smoking is part of the cure. He also has a passion for shape 4, like someone else I know:




Continue Reading355. SPECIAL BULLETIN: The Story of the 2023 Pipe of the Year (Drops on 8/8)