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Fine books for the pipeman

The Peterson Pipe

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The Peterson Pipe. The Story of Kapp & Peterson
 

There was a time, long ago, when a man with his pipe was commonplace, even fashionable. Indeed, smoking tobacco garnered sentiments of trust and sound judgement. And so the firms dealing in the materials of these combustibles were engaged in a respectable and very profitable trade. Today, with what science has told us of the effects of smoking, the modern consumer would find it anachronistic that a concern that opened its doors to the “smoking” trade mid-Victorian era would still be in business selling largely similar wares and to an eager consumer. But such is the case, and what is the story of this charming tale of a pipe-maker from Dublin, Ireland—The Peterson Pipe.
     It was in 1865, first in London, that Frederick and George Kapp opened a shop carving meerschaum pipes—very much in vogue, but within ten years the two had dissolved the business with Frederick relocating to Dublin, and with that, a change to a new pipe material, briar, and a new partnership, bringing in a young Latvian pipe-maker by the name of Charles Peterson. It wasn’t long before Peterson had established a very clever new design for the innards of a briar pipe, something he christened the “System,” which he patented and marketed as the best-smoking pipe in the world. Surprisingly, the gadget worked as advertised. It was a huge success. That Peterson and his native Dubliners were turning out exquisite specimens of popular pipe shapes from their small factory didn’t hurt, either, to attract the better class of trade with a discretionary income and an yearning for a good-looking pipe, one that smoked cool and dry, delivering full tobacco flavor. In due course, Kapp & Peterson had secured worldwide distribution.
     Today, more than 150 years along, Peterson’s System pipe can still be found in tobacconists’ shops and, more recently, online—and selling rather well. Quite a feat I should think, given the vagaries of consumer interest and continual drift of social customs. With The Peterson Pipe, The Story of Kapp & Peterson, coauthors Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg have left no burl in the ground, to turn a phrase, in detailing how it all came to pass. It’s a remarkable story of a tradition-bound firm that took Charles Peterson’s invention and rolled it into a broad range of well-made and handsome briar pipes that has, against a century-and-a-half of worldwide odds, continued to delight its devotees. 
     The Peterson Pipe is unquestionably the most comprehensive story ever told of a pipe-maker. Extensively illustrated in a striking design, the book includes a unique trait among pipe books in that many firsthand accounts from the very factory workers themselves tell the story of why they worked for “Kapps” (the employees’ beloved  namesake—still in use). Irwin and Malmberg’s seven-year scholarly research and writing endeavor is their masterpiece before you. A boon to the Peterson-pipe fancier.  A superb story and visual feast for the pipe-smoker and collector alike. As enthralling a read as a Peterson is to smoke.            
     Dive in and immerse yourself in pipes! PIPES! PIPES!

Available Chicagoland 2019!









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