Just a few more thoughts on the POY 2022 / 14B, beginning with an update on the Drop Party. First, Josh Burgess at K&P has made an episode of All Pipes Considered with Shane Ireland on the POY 2022 which is great viewing.
Smokingpipes.eu: “going out Tuesday the 16th at 10:00 IDST” – Adam O’Neill, SPE
Smokingpipes.com: “These will launch at 6:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday August 17.” –Andy Wike, SPC
Worldwide: availability has already begun through other internet and brick & mortar retailers, as you can see from the comments section of the last post.
Adam O’Neill at SPE sent me the following update: “Naturals, Rusticated Silver Caps, Rusticated, Sandblasted, Heritage and Terracotta” will be offered.
At SPC, Andy Wike sent photos of all finishes. I think that means all will be available at SPC, but I’m not certain.
I received further word that, as is standard K&P practice, the vast majority of pipes will be in standard finishes. “Rare Finishes”—meaning only a handful—will be available in Supreme Sandblast, Natural, Terracotta, Rua, Rustic Silver Cap, Ebony and Terracotta Silver Cap. If you’re after one of these, you may want to attend both drop parties to increase your chances.
If you can’t make the Drop Parties, remember Laudisi has shipped POYs to clients all over the world, some who already have them in stock and some will will stock them shortly on their virtual or real shelves.
Everyone’s tastes are different and what we each look for in stain, grain and blast is quite idiocyncratic. I had no idea until last year’s 4AB Drop that I’d want the rusticated version and it’s now one of my most treasured pipes.
This year’s photos from Laudisi are by no means glamor shots of the very best, just typical of what we can expect. Settling on a finish is probably the best first choice, then taking a look at enlargements of a prospective pipe. Even that, as studio lighting has its limitations, won’t really tell you all of a pipe’s story. Hopefully, though, it will get you a pipe you’ll enjoy and appreciate for a long time.
I’ve heard from several Pete Geeks how much they like the Dark Smooth and the Sandblast. I am myself now in a bit of a quandary. After the PSB Rua (yes, it is a PSB per Andy Wike), I am seriously drawn to the Dark Smooth, although I’d thought I’d be going for a Terracotta. Time and my trigger finger will tell.
If you’re looking for any of the rare finishes, your best chance will be to make sure you attend both the early SPE drop and the later SPC drop. I’ve heard there are only a handful of each of these. Don’t be surprised if you don’t see the finish you’re looking for at the time of the drop. In fact, you might want to go into the show with two or more acceptable finishes on your list.
THE GOLDEN SPIRAL
Last week, Steve Mawby, the Customer Service Manager at Laudisi, sent me a photo of a POY in Terracotta that I forwarded to one of the greats in our hobby, Linwood Hines, D.o.P. and founder of the CORPS show. Linwood wrote back,
I’ve been studying this pipe for the past half hour. It has to be one of the most handsome pipes I’ve seen in many years. The piece of briar of course is superior, the finishing and staining is a masterpiece and the shaping reminds me of a classical sculpture. The stemming—the shaping and the bending—is perfect, in exact proportion to the shape.
Linwood has such a long and vast experience of so many pipe makers and artisans and is so exacting in his critique of pipe design in that I found myself mulling over his words as I went to bed. The following morning a file was brought up from my ‘mind basement’: the Golden Ratio and Golden Spiral! Linwood is talking about the Golden Spiral! That’s what makes this such a gorgeous pipe! These related concepts are the stuff in which Thinking Men (you and I) revel. So just to refresh your memory—
“The Golden Ratio is a mathematical ratio often found in nature, art, and design. It gives the world around us composition and symmetry that, for reasons we don’t fully understand, we find beautiful. It appears in the spiral of a seashell, the uncurling of a fern, and many other natural structures. When applied to the arts, it becomes a tool for creating balanced, organic works.
It goes by several names, including the Fibonacci Spiral
The Golden Ratio can be heard in the arrangements of Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach. It can be felt in the syllabic patterns of Sanskrit poetry. It can be seen in the works of artists and architects from Salvador Dali to Frank Lloyd Wright. It can even be applied in your day to day life by framing a portrait using photography’s “Rule of Thirds’” [seen in the photo above] or smoking the POY 2022! 1
The Golden Spiral, which may be thought of as the aesthetic appropriation or application of the mathematical principle, is represented in the same Fibonacci spiral as the Golden Ratio. As one painter explains it,
“The Divine Proportion [i.e., Golden Ratio] is often represented by the golden spiral [and can be seen] in a rectangle where the ratio of the larger side to the smaller one is the Divine Proportion. When drawing the Divine Proportion squares are formed from the original rectangle. Connecting the points where this series of ‘whirling squares’ divides the sides will generate a logarithmic spiral that coils inward.
Here is the trick: If you place a point of interest on the smallest part of the spiral, the eye will naturally flow through the rest of the image. So, imagine this shape is placed over the image, and place your subject in the smallest part of the spiral. Also, I realized you can also flip or turn the spiral. The direction it heads isn’t important, it’s really about the shape and the distance between the loops that matters. . . .
Many artists like myself use it literally or subliminally and have subsequently taken this idea and used it to plan their compositions. I suppose Leonardo DaVinci was probably the most famous artist to use the Golden Ratio in his paintings. Georges Seurat also used it. . . . Shapes proportioned according to the golden ratio have long been considered aesthetically pleasing.” 2
Finally, Pete Geek Matthias sent some great questions this week about the POY and its relation to the MT and the Mark Twain museum pipe that I think are worth considering, especially to those who love Laudisi-era Peterson’s commitment to recreating such pipes as the 14B, 4AB, 9BC and 999 in their Pipe of the Year offerings.
I love historical accuracy, authenticity and period performance—probably more than most—but as I said last time, at some point we have to put down the score and play the music, or in this case smoke the pipe. In period performance practice, for example, the more we understand original instruments, practice and performance considerations (with Beethoven or Bach or whoever), the better informed our own music making will be. Except that, is sometimes isn’t! So let’s take one last look before we head out for the Drop Party.
Keep in mind these photos are not exactly to scale,
and neither are the set-up angles identical.
Mark Twain Gold Band POY 2022 14B Terracotta
154/1000 (HM 1985) 837/295 (HM 2022)
Length: 6.34 in./161.04 mm. 6.03 in./153.16 mm.
Weight: 2.50 oz./70.87 g. 2.50 oz./70.87 g.
Bowl Height: 1.90 in./48.26 mm. 1.87 in./47.50 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.41 in./35.81 mm. 1.39 in./35.31 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.82 in./20.83 mm. 0.77 in./19.56 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.58 in./40.13 mm. 1.55 in./39.37 mm.
Stem: B (tapered) P-Lip vulcanite B (tapered) P-Lip vulcanite
Shape: MT Commemorative (1981– 2010) 14B (1906 Patent design)
Era: Late Republic (1969=1989) Laudisi (2018 – )
Measurements, however accurate, can never tell more than part of a pipe’s story. There’s things that are simply impossible to measure. First, photography isn’t always accurate from a documentary standpoint. While the photos above seem to be taken from the same distance, they setup angles aren’t the same, nor were they taken at the same time or in the same lighting. Second, using the numbers of the two pipes is useful, but it can only take us part of the way home. The three-dimensional reality of the two shapes far exceeds what a photograph or catalog image can convey. To take but one instance, the MT’s bowl is physically .03 taller than the POY, but far shorter in its visual weight. The MT looks topped and chopped, because it’s visual gravity is much heavier than the lightness of the POY which ascends like American balloonist John Jefferies crossing the English Channel in 1785.
Regarding the museum pipe vs. the catalog and POY pipes, recall from the last post and the big Pete book that the museum pipe is not only seriously damaged but that I relied for its identification on photos sent to me by the museum’s director, measurements made by K&P on their trip in 1891 and 2D measurements taken from the 1896 and 1906 scale catalog illustrations. It was obvious from the catalog illustrations that K&P had measured the 14 as there’s no other shape that comes close to its size and bend. 3
And for subsequent iterations of this shape, remember the numbers are really, really close, whether from the Éire, Early Republic or Late Republic eras. It’s mostly a matter of when a bowl was turned and how it was papered. Cheeking and visual weight distribution are the essential differences between bowls. An 1898 Patent Lip is only difference between the 1896 original 14B and the MT and POY.
At the end of the day for most Pete Geeks, just obtaining the 2022 POY will be a treat. To either be old enough or have been in the hobby long enough to also have a Mark Twain commemorative or a 308 / 358 version from the IFS, Éire (308 and 358) or Early Republic (308) eras is simply added grace. They’re each cause for celebration.
1 The definition is from Blackwing.
2 See the full text here.
3 As many Pete Geeks are now finding out, having the 1896 catalog is a real boon when dealing with early Petes. Brian 500s just told me this morning that he wasn’t certain that he’d bought an O.3 (the rare straight-sided XXL dutch billiard) until he laid his pipe on top of the catalog page. Presto.