By Jason Canady
On Tuesday, January 16th at 6 p.m. eastern standard time, Kapp and Peterson will release their annual St. Patrick’s Day pipe. It’s been exactly 350 days since Peterson’s special 25th anniversary edition was released with the first-ever addition of their Irish tweed pipe bags, but who’s counting? It’s me, I was counting.
Knowing I’m a long-time collector of St. Patrick’s Day pipes, Mark Irwin asked if I would cover this year’s release and I’m honored to do so. “Bless his heart” as we say here in the south.
I’m glad you’re here. We won’t deep dive into the history of Peterson’s St. Patrick’s Day pipes, as that has already been covered quite well by chief Pete Geek – Professor Irwin [but you can see Jason’s complete collection here].
We’ll look at this year’s SPD pipe offerings from Kapp and Peterson and hear from Glen Whelan, Peterson’s Director of Sales about the latest release and what makes this year’s release special.
Finally, we’ll look at some interesting facts about St. Patrick himself and origins of the holiday you may be surprised to learn.
It’s January, the time Peterson usually drops their highly collectible and much anticipated SPD line. You may feel like it’s a wee bit early to look ahead for St. Patrick’s Day, but the holiday will be here before you know it and soon it will be time to “step to the Green!”
For the 2024 release of its St. Patrick’s Day pipe, Peterson of Dublin will offer this year’s line in the classic system range in five finishes: Smooth, Ebony, Heritage, Sandblasted and Rusticated. Most likely the price points will be in that order, from highest to lowest. The suggested retail price is $125-$185.
As you may recall, the first and only time to date the SPD line joined the system pipe was in 2019 with their “The System Goes Green,” slogan. The idea of turning a smooth-finished system pipe green for the holiday pipe belonged to Glen Whelan Jr., Peterson’s Director of Sales. The idea was a big hit.
This year’s release brings back the system with a historic first-time ever acrylic emerald green army mount with an acrylic p-lip stem.
This Ebony 302 Apple looks smartly dressed and ready to step to the green with its black coat and green collar. To my knowledge, this is the first time in the SPD’s history the Ebony finish has been offered.
“For the first time we have used an acrylic mount on a pipe,” says Whelan. We wanted to offer something novel for this year’s release and decided to go with something that we haven’t done previously.”
I asked Whelan if there was a concern of long-time durability for the cap being made of acrylic rather than the traditional nickel or silver band.
“I absolutely believe it’s durable. The method of manufacturing is similar to how we apply the ring accents that you see on a series like Killarney, or even last year’s SPD and we know those series are really durable. I have no durability concerns over the acrylic mount.”
Whelan says the manufacturing of this type of cap is different from their traditional method of a nickel or silver mount.
The shank end is turned down to allow the acrylic mount to sit over it,
much as a traditional nickel or sterling ferrule would.
Note also the tenon has been rounded, allowing for less turbulent airflow.
“We actually turn the bowl shank down on these to create a “step” for the acrylic mount to sit on. Once we have it fitted, we will then paper the mount and shank so that they are flush together.”
The 314 (top) and 317 (bottom) Systems have become some of my personal favorites. I’ve observed there’s been a shift of favor towards smaller pipes these days by many pipe smokers.
If you’ve never had a 313, the little brother to the 309, like its big brother, it’s a flake smoking beast.
The amazing rustication of Wojciech Blaszczak makes another welcome appearance.
The stain chosen for the smooth (312 pictured above) is a warm rich ruby color that allows a hint of grain to come through.
Last year the 25th Anniversary St. Patrick’s Day pipe saw Peterson step their pipe-sleeve game to a higher level by offering a custom tweed bag made from Donegal wool. The bag was offered only with the smooth and sandblasted finishes.
I must confess when I read about the wool bag, I was concerned about the wool scratching the finish of the pipe. However, my concerns were relieved when I purchased a pipe and saw the outside may be wool, but the inside had a nicely sewn soft black cloth for the interior.
This year’s release will also include the genuine Donegal tweed sleeve for the Smooth, Ebony and Sandblast finished pipes which are individually stamped and numbered for a total of 1,600.
Whelan says the company loves the bags and partnership they created with their traditional Irish business who custom makes the sleeves just for them.
“The tweed bag is something we are really excited about. The attraction of this tweed bag to us as a company is really about tradition,” says Whelan. “When I look at our factory floor many of the processes are the same as they were 150 odd years ago and it’s the same for the woolen mills that produce the tweed. So, whilst we are very different companies in terms of what we manufacture, it’s great that we are two long-standing Irish customers upholding traditional manufacturing methods.”
I love the tweed bags myself and they create a nice high-end touch that will also protect my investment for many years. The bags are well-crafted and to me are worth purchasing a pipe just to get the bag. Plus, one can never go wrong with a system. Each with an acrylic stem, Peterson states every traditional shape in the system line will be offered, so your favorite system shape should be available.
Whelan says they are very thankful to the Peterson faithful and excited about the future.
“Thank you for your support in the past, present, and hopefully the future. We’ve many exciting releases planned for this year, not least the Pipe of the Year which I am super excited about!”
The 2024 Saint Patrick’s Day pipes will go on sale Tuesday,
January 16 at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Smokingpipes.com
Stained-glass window of St. Patrick from Saint Patrick Catholic Church, Junction City, Ohio, United States
An interesting fact about St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint.
Most know about the legend of Patrick using a shamrock to explain the holy trinity, “three leaves form one clover” and running snakes out of Ireland, an obvious metaphor regarding pagans, but did you know he brewed beer?
We’ve heard the story, Padraig was mostly likely from the Great Britain area, was kidnapped and forced into slavery and taken to Ireland when he was around age 16. He escaped and returned to Ireland to bring Christ’s salvation, love, and forgiveness to Ireland.
According to New York Times Best-selling author Stephen Mansfield, author of In Search of God and Guinness, Patrick brought beer with him too.
Mansfield says Patrick traveled with an assistant that was a brewmaster. When Patrick entered a village or home to evangelize, he also brought fresh beer.
Food and clean water were always an issue in those days, especially to the poor. Beer helped by providing both for the body. Evangelizing isn’t about just bringing a spiritual message; Patrick knew to also meet their physical needs. Plus, sharing a beer is a great ice breaker and opens the door for conversation.
The first “St. Patrick’s Day Celebration” was in America not Ireland.
Surprise! Since around the ninth or 10th century, people in Ireland have been “observing” the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick on March 17.
However, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade and celebration took place not in Ireland, but in America.
Records show that a St. Patrick’s Day parade was held on March 17, 1601 in a Spanish colony in what is now St. Augustine, Florida. The parade, and a St. Patrick’s Day celebration a year earlier were organized by the Spanish Colony’s Irish vicar Ricardo Artur.
More than a century later, homesick Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched in New York City on March 17, 1772, to honor the Irish patron saint. Enthusiasm for the St. Patrick’s Day parades in New York City, Boston and other early American cities only grew from there.
Over the next 35 years, Irish patriotism among American immigrants flourished, prompting the rise of so-called “Irish Aid” societies like the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick, and the Hibernian Society. Each group would hold annual parades featuring bagpipes (which actually first became popular in the Scottish and British armies) and drums.
In 1848, several New York Irish Aid societies decided to unite their parades to form one official New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Today, that parade is the world‘s oldest civilian parade and the largest in the United States, with over 150,000 participants. Each year, nearly 3 million people line the 1.5-mile parade route to watch the procession, which takes more than five hours.
Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Savannah also celebrate the day with parades involving between 10,000 and 20,000 participants each. This is according to History.com’s “History of Saint Patrick.”
Speaking of Boston, Mass.
Records show the state of Massachusetts has more Irish citizens than any other state in the U.S. A fun fact you may not know is on March 17, 1776, British forces were forced to evacuate Boston following General George Washington’s successful placement of fortifications and cannons on Dorchester Heights, which overlooks the city from the south.
Realizing their position was now indefensible, 11,000 British troops and some 1,000 Loyalists departed Boston by ship on March 17, sailing to the safety of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Did you notice the date? The British soldiers evacuated the U.S. by Boston harbor on March 17. This should be a national American holiday, but few Americans even know of this event in U.S. history. That’s because Boston is full of Irish who love their St. Patrick’s holiday. This historic date has been overshadowed by the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in Boston. Behind New York, Boston leads the second biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in America. They say Savannah’s celebration follows a close third.
Savannah, Georgia Loves St. Patrick’s Day.
I can vouch for the celebration in Savannah where I lived for five years. Participating in the holiday event planted a seed of love in my heart for the holiday that has grown and flourished over the years.
The city of Savannah is full of Irish Americans and Irish descendants, and they take the holiday very seriously. I remember meeting two Irish girls who had just traveled from Dublin to celebrate in Savannah. Dumbfounded, I asked them “why?”
“We celebrate it there, but it’s nothing like here,” they said.
Happy (early) St. Patrick’s Day everyone!
Jason Canady, CPG
is a writer, graphic designer and educator from Fayetteville, North Carolina and a Certified Pete Geek. His large and rare collection of St. Patrick’s Day pipes have been featured on Peterson Pipe Notes. This is the third time Canady has contributed as a writer to Peterson Pipe Notes.
Brits pulled out of boston March 17
With thanks to Laudisi Enterprises
and Kapp & Peterson for media materials
and photography samples
* MARK: The V.P.B. (“Vulcanite Push Bit”) of the early 1950s is similar in conception to the new acrylic mount. As I have not examined one in person, I am uncertain whether the V.P.B. was a solid, attached piece with a morse-tapered mortise, or whether it was a cap like the new mount. It was certainly beautiful:
The Chicago International Pipe & Tobacciana Show, the world’s greatest pipe show, will be held April 11th-14th 2024. This year’s show is being held at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Chicago, 9300 Bryn Mawr Avenue, Rosemont, Illinois 60018, which is about 5 minutes from the airport. Hotel booking is available HERE. Tim Garrity, the Chicago Pipe Club’s president, talked to Brian Levine at PipesMagazine Radio HERE in a recent podcast.
I’ll be giving a presentation, “ ‘The Life You Save May Be Your Own’: Pipe Smoking & the Contemplative Lifestyle,” on Friday at 3pm to launch my new book, The X Pipe & Other Mystagogic Stories for the Pipe Smoker.
There will be a Pete Geek Meet and we’re planning a Swap & Sell. I encourage you to come and share pipes, good fellowship, Portillo’s hotdogs and more—there’s nothing like it!
Early Visualization of the Cover