For the 23rd annual release of the St. Patrick’s Day commemorative and for the first time in three years, K&P has brought out a traditional “navy mount” pipe. The in-house caramel-over-dark brown rustication is complemented this year by a green acrylic fishtail mouthpiece and introduces to the SPD a very bright, very shiny nickel band with Peterson (in script) over OF DUBLIN encircling the classic Peterson “P” which I have seen on the Aran nickel-mounts. In several of the shapes (as seen below) the mouthpiece is extended—not to the extent of the Waterford pipes, but long enough to make a distinct difference in the shape’s aesthetic and overall look. This is always delightful to me, to see just how many changes K&P can ring on a particular bowl—which is, of course, a practice they’ve used since 1891!
The super-cool thing about this year’s release, as you can see in the photo above, is a special green leather pipe holder, embossed with the Peterson logo and a shamrock. For the Pete Geeks I know, this is going to be a must-have or at least a “must want,” as so many of us have specialized collecting interests that don’t normally include the SPD. You can only get this lovely by buying one of the SPD 2021 pipes. I know because I asked (and if the author of the IPPY gold-medal winning The Peterson Pipe: the Story of Kapp & Peterson can’t get one without making an SPD2021 purchase and you can—I don’t wanna hear about it! Bruce W., call the waaambulance.)
During K&P’s big production era—say from 1891 through 1984, when they turned bowls in-house—the work on the factory floor was measured by rendering in the dozens, as in, “‘Hey, Jonathan, how many dozens you got?’ ‘I’ve almost got my first gross, Glen.’” The practice of counting by the dozen (base 12), seems to go back to the beginning of human history, although today we mostly think of its use in analog clock-time (and doughnuts, if you live in the US). Of course, we still use a 12-month calendar based on approximately twelve cycles of the moon for every cycle of the sun. But in ancient cultures (Chaldean, Egyptian, Celtic) it was natural to count as the earth itself counts. For me, it’s another reason to celebrate Kapp & Peterson as one of the last vestiges of Celtic sensibility.
I don’t know whether current factory crafts folk still count by the dozens, but the idea carried over into the Dublin era’s (1981-2018) commemorative issues like the Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day pipe, when twelve shapes were selected. For the Pete Geek during that era, there was the additional delight waiting to see what the “special special issue” pipe would be—meaning a shape drawn from a recent Pipe of the Year, special collection or special issue.
In the Laudisi era, the American-directed company has been consistently expanding the number of shapes for commemorative issues to virtually anything on hand in the Classic Range. So far for this year, 26 shapes have been made—although I’m told more are quite possible. Here’s the first-issue roster: 01, 03, 05, 6, 15, 65, 68, 69, 80s, 86, 106, 150, 221, 230, 264, 268, 306, 338, 406, 608, 999, B10, XL02, XL90, X220 and the XL 11. (If you are unfamiliar with any of these shape numbers, simply type in “Peterson SHAPE Smokingpipes.com” as in “Peterson 608 Smokingpipes.com” and you can bring them to your remembrance.) Here are some of my favorites:
(This experimental shape didn’t make the cut.
I applaud the thick shank and stem, but the bowl seems a little wonky.)
That makes it difficult not to find a shape you like, although you will undoubtedly find some bowls more interesting than others against the wide acrylic fishtail. The acrylic stem is, as best I can see, pine green (hex #01796f). It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but then that’s what the commemoratives are all about, isn’t it? Not dissimilar to limited boutique blends released by our favorite tobacconists.
The nickel band, as I said earlier, is quite bright and well-made:
The stamps are gathered together on the bottom of the pipe:
I didn’t see any real tear-away on the three samples I looked at, so maybe this issue has been addressed at the factory.
MSRP is $120, and it looks like online prices hover around $90. They are out now, and most seem to be available, aside from the 268. If you don’t find the shape you want, don’t despair. I’m sure there will be updates before St. Patrick’s Day. And if you get one and don’t know what to do with that little green leather loopy-thing, drop me a line. I’ll take care of it for you.
Many thanks to Laudisi
for photography samples!
IPSD (International Peterson *er* Pipe Smoking Day) is Coming!
THOUGHT EXPERIMENT for IPSD 2021 (Sat. Feb 20th):
After considering Philip Booth’s “Provisions,”*
send a selfie with pipe (or just photo of the pipe) and answer this question:
What single Pete would you select? Why? What single tin of tobacco?
The paperback somebody left on the plane
tells what you’ll need to carry on your person:
immune seeds in a shielded packet, something of value
to barter, a hardener to refill your own teeth.
The book suggests what weapon to take against
your own kind. And the canteen of water from
pipes still safe; salve for your skin;
a drug, at any cost, against immediate pain.
You already know you won’t want for matches;
you will have thought, long since, of boots
with impervious soles, fit for the distance;
repellent clothes, a balaclava, or thick-brimmed
hat, toward whatever the season may be.
Proud flesh will be your least of crises,
but take curved scissors for what you’ll need
to debride. And yes, dried food, for twice as long
as you think. The book says, Go, leave objects behind.
That much is true. Leave the book first of all;
it forgets to say what you cannot forget: that there’s
no place to go. Whether or not you go or stay, make
an eyeshield, a pocket next to your heart whatever
poems you might now think to copy, keep with you
what’s left of Thoreau. And since no one
but Bach can hold in mind all the Bach
one is bound to need, you might well practice
carrying his simplest tune: the small dance in G
that Anna Magdalena every morning sang
to ease her firstborn son. Carry that music, always,
in your head. What memory you have is all you’ll have left;
in whatever mornings there are, you’ll have for as long
as you possibly can simply to hum to yourself.