343. All Pipes Considered: Andy Wike and Josh Burgess on the New Deluxe System 9B + SPECIAL BULLETIN
Banner: The 9B Revival and the 9BC Shamrock (courtesy Fletcher Hiner)
DROP TIME UPDATE: The Drop Time Adam O’Neill just informed me is the same as always: 10am Dublin time. That’s GMT+1.
May 2nd, 2023. Per Adam O’Neill at Smokingpipes.eu: “We’re dropping the Premier System Revival Rusticated 308 P-Lip on the 19th of May at the usual time (10am GMT+1), with 75 pieces exclusive to Smokingpipes Europe and Peterson’s Nassau St. store.” Per Federica Bruno, “the price is € 121.95. The pipes are not numbered, just stamped “308” and “CP” [Charles Peterson Collection].
The 308 Premier System Revival: Another beautiful photo by Adam O’Neill (SPE)
The Revival 308 Rustic Premier is a brilliant follow-up to the Revival Deluxe System 9B. I’ve said before that Premiers are the scarcest standard-issue Systems and if you like the new rustication (that’s me) and the domed sterling ferrule (that’s also me) you may want to attend the drop party.
Collectors of the Charles Peterson Collection pipes should note that this is CP#6, following February 2023’s release of the Sherlock Holmes Iora (see Post #315 for photos of the first five releases).
I also want to call your attention to the fantastic vulcanite P-Lip stem, similar to that used by the 309 and 312 up until the 309 was discontinued. This is the same bowl, incidentally, as the 2022 POY Mark Twain 14B, in case you hadn’t already noticed. Shape 14 = 308 in the Standard and Premier lines.
ALL PIPES CONSIDERED: PETERSON DELUXE SYSTEM 9B
I want to document last Sunday’s All Pipes Considered by reposting it here on the blog. It’s not often in the world of pipes and tobaccos that the trade has time to sit down with the hobby to discuss a new release, and information like this is of great value to the companioner and collector in all kinds of ways. This is doubly so when we’re dealing with the likes of Andy Wike, Marketing Directory at Laudisi, and Josh Burgess, VP of Manufacturing at Laudisi as well as K&P’s Managing Director.
It has long been one of my core beliefs that good readers are re-readers, and one reason Peterson as a brand has witnessed so much traction in recent years has to do with this very fact. (1) Pete Geeks by nature seem more inclined to in-depth study and research, and if pipe smokers are drawn increasingly to Peterson as a brand I believe it’s because of its rich history and the sophistication of its pipes. If you didn’t get a chance to actually read through the conversation between Josh and Andy, I invite you to do so now, and even if you did, I think you’ll find something you missed the first time.
[Andy Wike]: Welcome back to another episode of All Pipes Considered. So today I have the great honor of sitting with Joshua Burgess, the Managing Director of Kapp and Peterson, and we’re here to talk about something super special. I am a huge System pipe lover, and this is probably one of my favorites that Peterson’s ever done. So Josh, tell us a little bit about what we’re doing here today.
[Joshua Burgess]: Thanks, Andy. So one of the interesting things that Peterson gets to commemorate this year is the 125th anniversary of Charles Peterson’s final system patent. Now, there were three patents associated with the System as we think about it today: There was one for the reservoir, and then the other two concerned the mouthpiece. The final one in 1898 completed this package that we think of today as being the System pipe.
The 1898 Great Britain Patent entry for the P-Lip
So the System pipe has been around for 125 years. It still performs great and has really stood the test of time. This year, we’re looking for opportunities to celebrate the System itself, and what you have before you here is one of the ways in which we’re celebrating — by reviving a classic Peterson shape from the 1896 catalog, the 9. We’ve featured the 9 before in the not too distant past; specifically, we used the 9BC for the 2020 Pipe of the Year.
2020 POY 9BC
[A.W.]: Which was not a System pipe, correct?
[J.B.]: That was not a System pipe. That was a classic configuration. And I liked that project. I thought it was very interesting. But when we really think about patent pipes, we think about Systems. And we think about Deluxe Systems specifically—
[A.W.]: Because of the wear gap?
[J.B.]: Because of the wear gap, and because the aesthetic of the Deluxe System is really what distinguished Peterson pipes early on. When you look back at that old catalog, I think that’s what’s most striking about it: those Deluxe Systems. So we have the classic 9 shape here revived and presented in the Deluxe System configuration.
[A.W.]: Okay, that’s fantastic. I love this shape so much. It’s muscular, it’s stout, it’s got that almost languid curve to it, you know what I mean? All of Peterson’s bent pipes are just so great. And I think it particularly works really well with the System configuration. And 125 years! 125 years and nothing’s really changed.
[J.B.]: I think it’s so interesting to look back at that early catalog. We think of Charles Peterson as being an innovator, and he was, of course; he was constantly tinkering and improving. But I think what’s really remarkable is just how coherent the pipes are as an aesthetic. For some of the things you talked about — like the pronounced bends, that muscular nature — all these things sort of grow out of the unique System engineering. In order to accommodate that reservoir, which is part of the design, you need a more muscular shank. And it lends itself to a bent pipe.
[A.W.]: Yeah, even the graduated bore mouthpiece, right? You’re funneling that up into the P-lip bit. So even the shape of the stems themselves have to be a certain way.
[J.B.]: I mean, most Deluxe systems that we see today are presented with the saddle stem, because eventually that came to predominate, but it was really nice to be able to do a tapered mouthpiece on the 9B. The “B” itself refers to its tapered stem. So it was really nice to be able to feature that again. So if they’re Peterson guys who really love that tapered stem, this is an opportunity to acquire one.
The Stem Configurations Chart (1896 Catalog)
[A.W.]: That’s fantastic. Yeah, I really love the way that they look. And they’re available in a handful of finishes as well. Firstly, it will be available in Peterson’s traditional rustication, that signature two-toned rustication, which you guys do such a great job with. (2)
[J.B.]: I think so too. I think it’s really pleasing to the eye and to the hand. I have some Peterson smooth pipes that I smoke a lot. But, you know, I was traveling recently and I had to pack a bag, and I looked at sort of what I naturally gravitated toward and it was rusticated pipes. Because they’re so comfortable to smoke.
[A.W.]: Yeah, and I think they really fit in with the idea of Peterson pipes as utilitarian field tools as well. They really stand the test of time. Sometimes it’s nice to have a pristine pipe and to admire its finish and all of its grain, but sometimes you just want something you can smoke the hell out of. Aside from the Rusticated finish, we also have sandblasts of two different grades, right? We have the regular sandblast, but we also have the PSB. Remind us what PSBs are, if you would, Josh.
[J.B.]: So the PSB is about finding sandblasts with special character. You can think of sandblasting in different ways. Some people like a really even blast where the pattern’s exactly the same. Some people just prefer them as craggy as possible. Other people like a softer blast. Every PSB pipe is designated as such because it has a lot of character. It’s going to be on the craggy side. The orientation won’t always be perfect, but it’s just a really interesting old school sort of blast that you might have found at the beginning of the 20th century. It’s one of my favorite finishes. I think they look really nice. This particular batch of briar blasted really well. So it’s a nice thing to see on these pipes, them featuring that really interesting grain that we get to designate as PSB. (3)
[A.W.]: Yes, I’m really looking forward to those as well. Additionally, we also have two different smooth finishes. We have Dark Smooth and then Ebony.
[J.B.]: Yeah, the Dark Smooth has really nice grain. We quite like this stain at Peterson because it showcases that contrast. It’s sort of a walnut stain, and we really like that one. Then there’s the Ebony, of course, which looks sharp in a very classic, but different way.
[A.W.]: Yeah, it’s really cool to see this historic shape in like a dress pipe finish.
[J.B.]: I know because certainly Charles Peterson wouldn’t have done that. I’d like to think if he were here at our table, he would approve.
[A.W.]: Oh, he would love that. He would probably smoke the rusticated pipe, though, I would imagine.
[J.B.]: I think he would too. You know, we have one of Charles Peterson’s pipes at the factory. The guy was so interesting. He had a really funny sense of humor. He had engraved on the band of the pipe: “When stolen, please return to Charles Peterson at the address.” So I really like his optimism there: Not if it’s stolen, but when it’s stolen, please return.
[A.W.]: Yeah, oh my goodness; that’s amazing. So real quick, Josh, the 9 shape is not completely gone from the catalog, right? I mean it does exist in some form currently, correct?
[J.B.]: You know, I think about pipe shapes as something that’s not static. They evolve over time. Small changes get made. And so the 9 that was introduced in 1896 sticks around in the Peterson catalog; you can find an evolution of it today in the XL90. But this particular 9B pipe here is a special throwback to the original patent shape. It represents an effort to recover that original design, and there are important differences, I think, between these classic versions of the 9 and something like the XL90.
The 9 is a little more Egg-like, and the cheeking is more pronounced around the bowl. The center of gravity on the current 9 is a little bit lower. It’s a lovely shape; it’s just different in how it’s evolved. So this is an effort to recapture the aesthetic of the 9 from the 1896 catalog. (4)
[A.W.]: Amazing, and again, I think you guys did such a great job here. I’m really excited to see what other tributes to Charles Peterson’s System that may pop up this year as well. But this has been a closer look at the 9B Revival in the Deluxe System configuration. The pipes come complete with all of Charles Peterson’s patented innovations — including the moisture reservoir, the graduated bore mouthpiece, and the P-Lip stem — all in a really nice Deluxe System configuration, accented with elegant sterling silver mounts and presented in a host of finishes. Be sure to check out our entire selection of 9B pipes on-site now. Thank you, all, again for watching, and thank you, Josh, for sitting with us today.
[J.B.]: Oh, of course. It was a pleasure. We were really excited about these and hope your viewers like them too.
Many thanks to Andy Wike and Josh Burgess:
these guys take such good care of us!
Thanks also to Adam O’Neill and Federica Bruno at Smokingpipes.eu
And thanks to Smokingpipes.com / Laudisi for permission to repost this article.
(1) There are podcasts, YouTube channels and forums with thousands of viewers, listeners and commenters offering quick and shallow information exchanges, but paradigm shifts can only occur when deep information is shared. What this means from an epistemic viewpoint is that less is often more. A single idea, book, or individual can create a butterfly effect that no amount of social media saturation will ever achieve. In the long run, text trumps visual media. Every time. That’s why books are so dangerous.
(2) The trade rhetoric is instructive: while the rusticated pipes do sell, note they are promoted first as the lowest tier and slowest seller. As you well know, the Natural, Smooth and Ebony don’t need to be discussed, because they are the very first that will fly off the shelf.
(3) The PSB quite undeservedly has received a few snark attacks from the larger hobby. They don’t understand what it is—which could be said to be their problem with K&P, actually. The PSB (which stands for “Peterson Special Blast”) is a a meeting of three things: first, the enactment of the idea of early Dunhill shell blasts, which could be rather gnarly as were “character”-driven rather than uniformly defined); second, an example of the best of K&P’s highest sandblasting skills (which are now considerable); and third, the upper level of K&P’s perennial tier-driven production. Never forget K&P has from the beginning offered well-delineated tiers from entry-grades to Supremes. I should add that, for lovers of great blasts, looking carefully through the regular sandblasts is a good idea. I have found non-PSB blasts that for me were even more compelling than the PSBs.
(4) To me, these last few paragraphs about shapes and shaping address the growing awareness on the part of the hobby—and especially the Pete Geeks within it—that shapes change. Hard-core PGs may have noticed the bumps in the shape-road with the transition from the Palmer-era to the Laudisi as new outsourcers for bowl shapes had to be found, some more and some less successfully. But there’s also some ambiguity here: is the current shape 9 / XL90 / 307 / 78 about to be replaced with the POY version? Egad. I’ve only fallen in love with this classic chubby version—which has been with us since c. 1937—in the past five years. Quick! Man the estate search!
Chris Tarman, CPG brought around two dozen of his finest Petes to the Chicago show, but there was simply not enough time for us to hold and appreciate them. He recently photographed part of his collection and I wanted to share these with you—mostly because he and I share such similar tastes in Petes!
Gentlemen, remember to say Lá na Máithreacha sona duit–
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY
to your Mother and those who are mothers in your life.
(Mother’s Day was actually March 19 in Ireland, but much of the world celebrates it today.)