I’ve been working for the past few days on the hallmark reference chart for The Peterson Pipe: The Story of Kapp & Peterson, and so it comes as a relief tonight to stop and simply admire the silverwork the date letters represent in a short piece of video magic courtesy Smokingpipes.com.
If you’ve ever taken a minute to examine Peterson’s silverwork under a loupe, you know something special is going on. They don’t just pull a band out of a box and loop it over the shank. Each piece is hand-turned and involves numerous operations.
You might think going to the factory would help you understand the process better than a video, but that isn’t really the case. There’s so much going on, what with lighting and noise and machinery and trying not to get in anyone’s way. I can testify that this is a gem of a piece, letting us get up close to the work in a way I couldn’t, despite two visits to the factory.
The Peterson spigot story is an interesting one, told in the book through both the company’s history and interviews with its current and retired artisans. I won’t spoil it for you here except to say it goes back almost to the company’s beginning, then was lost to the tides of fashion for over fifty years before making a slow but steady comeback in the last decades of the twentieth century. While the System pipe may be in decline, the spigot certainly is not, so much so that it’s become the visual icon for the company’s twenty-first century profile in much the same way the System pipe was for the twentieth century.
The Craftsman Line spigots have obviously been a great success for the company, leading the way for the new Caramel (or “Champagne”) Spigot line just now hitting e-tailers in the U.S., and the promise of the Roundstone Spigots to come. If you don’t have one, there’s never been better time.
Pictured at top: 1999 XL339 Spigot, hallmarked “N”