Written by Puff Staff

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

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dunhill pipeskillarney pipes
peterson pipes

Article Index
1. Why I Love Old Pipes
2. Pipe History

indigo1Today member IndigoSmoke gives some background and information on his love for old pipes and what makes them special and nostalgic to him. The year is 1948.  In January, Mahatma Gandhi is brutally assassinated.  On that same day, the first post war Olympic Games open in St. Moritz, Switzerland.  That spring fierce fighting rages near Jerusalem as a conflict begins that will haunt the Middle East for decades to come.  In April, President Truman signs legislation that creates the Marshall Plan destined to rebuild sixteen nations shattered by five years of total war.

As spring passes into summer, the world begins to feel the effects of a new, “cold” war as the Soviets blockade Berlin.  In the fall, the Cleveland Indians defeat the Boston Braves to win the World Series, the first World Series televised to a national audience.  In November, an international war crimes tribunal sentences Hideki Tojo, Prime Minister of Japan during the war, to death.  As the year draws to a close, the United Nations General Assembly adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Also some time during 1948, in a workshop in Dublin, Ireland, a craftsman selects a piece of briar and begins to shape a pipe.   Wood is carefully removed and the classic shape of a small bowled apple pipe begins to emerge.   When the bowl has been sanded to its final form a piece of vulcanite rod is selected for the pipe’s stem.  This will not be an ordinary pipe stem for this is a Peterson pipe.  Peterson pipes are known for their special P-lip stems, designed and patented in the late 1800’s by Charles Peterson, a young Latvian immigrant to the Emerald Isle.  The P-lip stem directs the smoke to the roof of the smoker’s mouth and not onto the tongue as do most pipe stems.  When the stem is completed and carefully fitted, the craftsman leans back and takes a long, hard look at his creation.


While the pipe is well made, the briar’s grain is ordinary and not outstanding so the craftsman decides that this pipe will be destined for one of Peterson’s moderately priced pipe lines…the Killarney line of pipes.  One final task remains.  The craftsman reaches for a collection of small metal stamps used to mark pipes.  On one side of the shank he stamps the word Killarney in a flowing script.  On the other side of the shank he stamps the number 458 to indicate the pipe’s shape.   On this same side he stamps the words, MADE IN IRELAND.  Then he reaches for one final stamp.  This is a new stamp, just being brought into use.  With this stamp he marks the pipe “A Peterson Product” just above the MADE IN IRELAND mark.  Satisfied with his creation he sets it aside, ready for its journey to one of the many shops where Peterson pipes are sold.

A few months later the pipe is purchased in Peterson’s Dublin shop, perhaps by a young man named Sean.  He has recently been discharged from the Army and has come to the city to find work.  After leaving the shop he stops and sits on a park bench and carefully loads his new pipe.  He strikes a wooden match and lights the tobacco.  As he smokes he thinks of the friends he lost during the war.  Forcing his mind away from these dark thoughts he sees a young lady sitting on a bench across the park.  She is a pretty girl with long red hair stirring in the breeze.  He decides to strike up a conversation with her.  As he walks over to her he draws gently on the pipe, carefully considering his opening words.

The year is 1958.  The past ten years have been good to Sean.  He found work and prospered, and now is a sales manager for his firm.  He is about to set off for the United States to manage the firm’s American accounts.  As he stands at the rail of the steamship that will take him to New York he smokes his pipe and looks over at his wife as she plays with their five year old son.  To his eyes she is as beautiful as the day he met her in that Dublin park and the pipe he smokes is the same Killarney apple he was smoking on that day.  He now owns several pipes but the Killarney is still his favorite.  There are so many wonderful memories associated with the pipe…from the day he met his wife to the day their son was born… that he often chooses the Killarney over the more expensive Peterson and Dunhill pipes he has purchased in recent years.  As the ship pulls away from the dock he listens to the laughter of his wife and son, and he considers himself a very lucky man.

The year is 1968.  Business is good but times are bad.  Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King have been assassinated and the country he has come to love is torn by protests over race relations and an unpopular war.  As Sean sits at the counter of a San Francisco diner drinking a cup of coffee a young man in uniform enters and takes the seat next to him.  “I’m Tommy,” he says, nodding at Sean.  Reaching into his pocket the young man pulls out a pipe and frowns.  The stem has cracked and hangs loosely from the shank.  The young man turns to Sean and says, “Figures, I ship out tomorrow.  No time to pick up another pipe.”  Sean looks at the young man and remembers the war in which he fought so many years before.  He reaches into his pocket and pulls out his beloved Killarney.  “Here,” he says, “Take this one.”


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