335. A Visual History of the Peterson Long Shanks, 1893-2023
Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
When I was a high school senior my Grandmother sent me $20 and told me to buy something special with it for Christmas. I lost no time making my way to to Ted’s Pipe Shop in Tulsa and selected a pipe I’d been looking at for a long time: a GBD 256 Canadian saddle. I wrapped it up, put it under the tree, and looked at that little box every day for a few weeks until ‘The Day.” It was by far the best gift I received that Christmas and one of the few over a lifetime of gifts I remember. It would be in my tiny rotation receiving hard and loving use for the next 25 years and the source of a lifelong confusion concerning the difference between the Canadian and Liverpool shapes.
About a year and a half ago, Josh Burgess, Managing Director at K&P, wrote me about Peterson Liverpool shapes and we had a wonderful email conversation on the long history of the Peterson long shanks. For St. Patrick’s Day 2023, I’d like to expand on the fruits of that conversation and offer a visual history of these great shapes from 1893 to the present as found in the catalogs and ephemera.
The best place to begin is with Bill Burney’s classic charts for ASP from back in the day. Bill gathers all the shapes we’ll be considering under the umbrella of the “canadian shape group,” which is a good idea, although I actually think “long shanks” as an umbrella term might be more descriptive. Here’s Bill’s chart delineating the four shapes:
In a nutshell, we have two oval and two round shanks and two tapered and two saddle stems, in other words:
Oval Taper = CANADIAN Shank is longer than twice the height of the bowl (a “Long Flat” in Pete Speak).
Oval Saddle = LUMBERMAN Shank is longer than twice the height of the bowl (never seen in the catalog).
Round Taper = LIVERPOOL Shank is longer than twice the height of the bowl (a “Bolton” in Pete Speak).
Round Saddle = LOVAT Shank is usually shorter than twice the height of the bowl.
Confused? You’re not alone. In fact, it took me most of the week to wrap my head around these simple four shapes. I’m sure there are some “ifs” “ands” and “buts” that can be added to these definitions, but as a general rule of thumb, I think they’re a good starting place.
As usual with K&P, there’s specialized vocabulary that Pete Geeks will find it fun to know and use, culled from the company’s 162 years:
Bolton – K&P’s traditional name for the Liverpool shape.
Flat – term used in the 1906 catalog to describe an oval stem (sometimes actually flattened on the bottom). A “flat” in connection with a long shank or “Long Flat” = a Canadian.
Long Flat – K&P’s traditional name for the Canadian shape.
LONG SHANKS BY ERA
Patent (1893-1917 / 22)
There are no Long Shanks to be seen in the 1896 catalog, but by the 1906 K&P had a profusion:
Central, 1001, 110, 1051, 1053, 1050
Top: the “Central” is a fascinating Lovat that unscrews in the middle of the shank! Appears to be same as the 110 B 1 ½ ” but with a stem that breaks down in the middle.
2nd from top: 1001 B 1 ½ “: K&P’s first Liverpool with a taper (B) 1 ½ ” P-Lip.
3rd from top: 110 B 1 ½ “: K&P’s first Lovat.
4th from top: 1051 B 1 1/8″: K&P’s first Canadian. Now we enter into the “Flat Stems,” aka Canadians and Lumbermans. The 1051 seems close in size and length to today’s 264, a smallish Canadian.
5th from top: 1053 B 1 1/8″: What do we call a short canted oval-stemmed pipe? Canadivat? Lovadian? Stumpy Canadian? Belge-Lovadian? Whatever. The sheer unexpectedness of such a thing is wonderful.
6th from top: 1050 B 1 1/8″: Now we’re cooking with gas. A seriously long shank Canadian. Just what the doctor ordered.
The 104 Variations
This is a puzzling illustration, so much so that if you can solve the “T.” mystery, I’ll add an official “No Prize” Merit Badge to your CPG certificate!
Top: 104 B 1 1/8″: As “flat stem” is not indicated, this must be a small Liverpool.
2nd from top: 104 T. 1 1/8″: So what is the “T”? And why does the shank on this pipe look larger than the top one, if they’re both 104s?
3rd from top: Central: Presumably this is the 104 with the “Central” treatment.
4th from top: 104 T. B 1 7/8″: Again, I have no idea what’s going on here.
T1506, T1507, T1508, T1509
These charmingly primitive illustrations from the Hudson’s Bay Company 1910-1911 catalog don’t really give us valuable information. The T1508, despite its description, may or may not properly be a Long Shank. If it is, behind that enormous band we’re looking at the first instance of a banded Long Shank. What the cross-reference numbers might be to K&P’s in-house cataloging is a mystery. I do like T1509, “The Emperor’s Favorite Pipe,” and wonder if that had any reference to an historical person.
Irish Free State (1922-1938)
724, 725, 716 (Temporary Illustrated Price List)
The saddle mount Lovat first appears in the mid-1920s the Temporary Price List brochure, the 725. I’m so accustomed to thinking of Lovats with saddle mounts that to see one with the tapered mount (as the 110B earlier) requires me to stop and process a bit.
Top: 724. Notice the 724 and 725 look like the same shape but in different sizes, a practice K&P engaged in from the beginning and still does (think 304/306, 302/303 for example).
Middle: 725. Besides being a smaller version of the 724, notice that the shanks of both, like that of the 1001 and 104 from 106, appear to have a slight taper moving from bowl to stem. Very elegant.
Bottom: 716. This appears to be a very small Liverpool.
950, 950 2“, 972, 973, 2009, 2030 (1937 Black & Silver Catalog)
The 1937 catalog contains five Long Shanks, a Lovat, two Liverpools and two Canadians. Because the bottom two are designated as oval shanks (instead of the “flat” designation used earlier and used later on), I believe this is our clue that the top four are round shanks or Liverpools–aka Bolton in K&P’s later terminology.
Top: 950 a large, beautiful Lovat.
2nd from top: 950 2″—notice in the DeLuxe and Kapet qualities, this bears shape 51, which is very, very like the 53 Lovat in production today.
3rd from top: 972. Isn’t this a smaller version of the 950 Lovat?
4th from top: 973. This looks like a small Liverpool [Bolton] to me.
5th from top: 2009. Obviously a small Canadian. The 265 Deluxe / Kapet number is quite close to today’s 264.
5th from top: 2030. Another great Canadian and the 266 Deluxe / Kapet number places it again in the group of Canadians that have come down to us in the K&P chart, as we’ll see.
36 (1937 Pipe Box Brochure)
The 1937 “Chat With the Smoker” brochure contains only one Long Shank, shape 36, later identified as a Bolton or Liverpool (see below). Fascinating that the shape numbers from 1937’s Black & Silver catalog to the 1937 pipe box brochure and on to the 1939 Rogers Imports Catalog should be in such a state of transition.
994, 995 (1939 Rogers Imports)
Todd Becker (Deadmanspipes)’s 1939 Rogers Imports Ltd Catalog is a crucial document in the K&P literature (you can get your own PDF at Post #136). In it we see K&P growing quite expansive as they partner with Harry Rogers in the US. Above we see the two shapes of the Classic Range.
Top: 994. A 6 ¾” Canadian or “Flat.” This is my ideal for a K&P Canadian. It’s big enough and long enough to make heads turn. It truly deserves the Long Shank appellation.
Bottom: 995. A 5 ¾” Canadian or “Flat.” If the artist’s rendition is correct, this one has a slight taper from bowl to button in the shank.
972, 995, 994, 950, 1036 (1939 Rogers Imports)
Next in the Rogers catalog are the Shamrocks. We’ve already dealt with the 994 and 995, although here with the bands they begin to have that recognizably “Peterson” aesthetic we think of today.
Bottom: 1036. This is our very own 53 Lovat. I’m convinced. Same length, same height, and of course with P-Lip saddle. So in a cross-reference chart I think we may write 53 = 1036 with near certainty.
Top: 972. The way the artist plays the light down the shank makes me wonder if this is an oval or a “flat” shank. I just don’t don’t know. If it’s a Lovat, it’s a small pipe than the 1036 on the bottom, and that pipe is small by today’s standards.
Fourth Down: 950. A very English-looking Lovat although it does have the benefit of the P-Lip. The shank is just too thin to be Irish!
53, 36, 264 (1945 / 1950 Catalogs)
The two post-war catalogs for 1945 and 1950 were probably intended for point-of-sale as K&P geared up to meet the huge demand for briar pipes which had been in ever-shorter supply from 1941 onward. What we find therefore are what K&P believed would be their best sellers.
Top: The 53 number we know and love has finally arrived!
Middle: The 36, last seen by number in the 1936 pipe box brochure.
Bottom: The 264 Long Flat, finally! The iconic Peterson canadian. Some—myself included—may feel it’s too short and too small to fully qualify for an Erin Go Brach design award, but it’s been around for close on 80 years now!
A Peterson 53 Lovat for Rogers Imports
The nickel mount is longer than that used today. The stamps on both nickel and shank are outstanding.
Emerald 264 in Pebble Grain Rustic from the mid 1990s
The Pebble Grain rustication reminds me of an Irish blackthorn walking stick or shillelagh:
quintessentially Irish like no other rustication the company has ever done.
35, 36, 50, 51, 53, 265, 264, 263 (1947 Distributor’s Shape Chart)
The 1947 distributor’s shape chart was probably the first post-war full catalog sent out to K&P’s various markets and distributors and contains a very full and therefore extremely important look at what the company was doing as it geared up. I have mostly questions rather than answers about the top four shapes. The bottom four most Pete Geeks are familiar with by now.
What makes the 35, 36 and 50 all “Bolton” shapes? The 35 and 36, just seen as these outline drawings, look as much like Canadians or Lumbermans as anything else, while the 50 Large Bolton looks like a Lovat. Fortunately, with the context of other catalog illustrations, we know all three of these have round shanks, making the 35 and 36 Boltons our own Liverpool and the 50 Lovat a . . . Lovat!
Why is 51 a Billiard rather than a Lovat? Is the stem just a little too long?
(The 263, incidentally, will appear again in the Rogers Imports Ltd. 1953 pipe box brochure.)
Early Republic (1948-1968)
For the catalog ephemera but not actual production, shapes from the period of the Early Republic on had by this time dwindled down mostly to the 53 Lovat and the 263, 264 and 265 Long Shanks. By the 1960s, the best-sellers were obviously the 53 and the 264 with other shapes only making infrequent appearances.
7 (GT&C large trifold, 1950)
You might think Canada would be the world’s home to Canadian pipes, but this is apparently not the case. In 1950, Genin, Trudeau & Co., K&P’s exclusive distributor to Canada since 1900 (and with its own unique shape numbering system) had only one. Fortunately for us, the illustration makes it clear that this is an oval shank and hence a Long Flat.
As documented in Post #163, at some point between 1948 and 1968, K&P released a true “long shank” Long Flat. I’ve seen it on the estate market in both smooth and rusticated versions and it stretches to an amazing 7 ¼”. It is not only a long shank but a setter with a flattened bottom, allowing it to sit upright.
35, 36, 53, 264, 265 (1955 Dublin & London catalog)
The European-release Dublin & London catalog from c. 1955 appears to be a comprehensive lineup of shapes from the mid-1950s. By putting together all the Long Shanks in the illustration above, part of the Bolton mystery is solved—these were really small-bowled pipes. If the “Long Flat” designation does indeed distinguish oval from round shanks, then the two Boltons, as I’ve said earlier, were our Liverpools.
Of the Long Flats, this is the first time K&P has added the word “Canadian” to them, indicating that at last this name has caught on with the smoking public. The 264, if the scale indicator is correct, was ½ “ longer then than it is now.
I’ve always thought it a shame that pipe makers are so reluctant to make the Long Shank pipes. I presume it has to do with being unwilling to go to the effort of having the block cutters cut out longer pieces of briar.
224 (GT&C pipe box brochure, 1955)
And in the pipe box brochure from 1955 (see Post #280), what appears to be the 264.
Late Republic (1968-1991)
224, 204, 71 (1975 GT&C trifold brochure)
Canada is one of the great buried treasure sources for otherwise rarely seen shapes on the estate market. This pixelated illustration shows three Long Flats—but your guess is as good as mine if these are the same shapes as we find elsewhere in the catalog at this time or whether they were unique to the Canadian market.
10 (1975 Orange catalog)
For K&P’s Centenary celebration they released one of their very most important catalogs, and in it there’s a brand-new line, the truly craggy Aran. The photo above, taken with the wrong focal length lens, makes it appear that the bowl is canted. It is not. I’ve included the catalog illustration.
265 (1975 Orange pipe box brochure)
While the giant 1975 Orange comprehensive catalog shows only the 264 in its shape chart, the 1975 Orange pipe box brochure illustrates a 265 as a Canadian. I think the illustrator got it wrong here, or may have, since I can turn up only billiards with the 265 number. I’ve included the entire column because I don’t normally think of the shapes seen here as being available by 1975, but they were.
The 1978 Peterson-Glass catalog (not pictured), quite delightfully to my mind, gives us one last look at the 264 as a Long Flat. By the 1981 Mark Twain brochure, K&P would follow everyone else in the pipe world and call the Long Flat a Canadian. Too bad.
264 and XL264 (1988 Hollco-Rohr)
The next new Long Flat in the ephemera isn’t seen until the the XL264 in Hollco-Rohr’s 1988 catalog (which you can download at Post #228). This is my ideal of what the Peterson Long Flat ought to be: big enough, bold enough, with my idea of a goodly-sized chamber. Below you can see it in the superb Emerald Pebble Rustic, so much larger than the 264 that it makes one wonder why it didn’t merit its own shape number:
Top: XL264 Emerald Pebble Grain Rustic, c. 1995
Bottom: 264 Emerald Pebble Grain Rustic, c. 1995, in front of XL264
55 and 26 from the Old English Collection (1997 Black catalog)
Pete Geeks owe Mario Lubinski a great deal for all he did in expanding and enriching the Peterson catalog. While he was later embarrassed about the Old English Collection—which was his idea but didn’t sell well—in retrospect the 12 pipes, especially the new shapes, were charming. I suppose by definition the 55 is a short Liverpool. For my money, the thick shank and the tapered F/T are Irish elegance non pareil. The 26, on the other hand, is totally baffling. It’s a stretch Lovat, I suppose. Not a Lumberman–it’s got the round shank, a shank so thin so it’s definitely “English,” but still—what a great shape! Lubinski thinking outside the box (as always), to make his Lovat a bit longer than we expect.
Left, top to bottom: 261, 262, 265; right, top to bottom: 80B, 26, 54 (c. 1986, Lubinski catalog)
Back in Post #119 we first took at look at some of the Italian-market Wicklow shapes from the last half of the 1980s. While it was a standard mid-grade line, Mario Lubinski—as he always did—performed some magic and included in it several forgotten shapes. The Wicklow (documented in the Peterson book) was a fairly standard mid-grade Peterson Classic Range line, but here as elsewhere Mario Lubinski made it something special, including for his Italian customers several forgotten shapes that have since disappeared from the catalog.
There’s some real beauties among the Long Shanks here. The 261 Belge-Canadian and the 262, which is the same stummel as the 263 but with the Irish canted stem are extraordinarily lithe. Mario’s two personal favorites, incidentally, are the Lovats in the right-hand column, the 26 and the 54.
Junior Rusticated Lovat
And so we come to the end of our journey with the Junior Rusticated Lovat which appeared just this past week.
- The Patent era was the most diverse in its offering of Long Shank shapes.
- K&P has never issued a Lumberman.
- K&P’s only substantially-sized Liverpools (“Boltons”) were made during the Patent era.
- The best representative of K&P’s “Long Flat” or Canadian shape (in my opinion) is the XL264.
- When your Grandmother sends you money for a pipe, you never know what the outcome may be.
Jesse Cunningham, my Grandmother, at 20
I know there’s a fair number of Pete Geeks who companion some of the rare Pete Long Shank shapes, and if you’ll let me know via email or the comments below, I’d like to do a companion post in the near future documenting real-life examples of as many of these shapes as possible.
Thanks to Bill Burney for use of the ASP charts,
to Mario Lubinski, Josh Burgess at K&P,
and Gary Hamilton for the vintage SPD illustrations.
Special thanks to Lee Skiver, CPG, for the fantastic SPD pipe stand (see below)!
ZIPPO 2ND BATCH
The second, final batch of Zippo Pete Geek commemoratives is on schedule and should be mailing out before the end of the month.
PETE GEEK T-SHIRT
We’ll be sending the final count list to Larry Gosser on Monday the 20th. We’ve made the minimum needed but there’s still time to order a shirt! More details on this Google Form, which you need to fill out if you want a shirt.
SPD Artisan Pipe Stand by Lee Skiver
D20 SPD 2023 stack billiard by K&P
Two classics this week on eBay from 1945-1955: a new/old stock Tankard, unsmoked w/its original ephemera, and a beautiful early Lovat Shamrock 53.