Charles Peterson got his start in 1865 when he approached Friedrich & Heinrich Kapp, German immigrants who came to Ireland from Nürnberg, in their Grafton Street tobacco shop in Dublin with an idea for a better pipe. What initially started off as a competitive claim by Charles soon became a collaboration between Charles and the Kapp Brothers. Together, they renamed the company from “Kapp Brothers” to “Kapp & Peterson” and went on to make what was eventually known as the Peterson Dry System Pipe. Peterson and the Kapp Brothers set a goal to provide a high quality smoking pipe that the everyday hardworking individual could afford.
The progression of Kapp and Peterson is divided into a series of eras which are often used to date the various model of pipes. The first eras are commonly referred to as the Pre-Patent and Patent Eras. These eras consist of the time when the company was officially formed in 1975 and the initial patents were filed in 1890 to approximately 1915, when the initial patents expired. During that time, the Peterson Dry System Pipe was introduced to the public, along with the P-lip stem design. Most of the pipes manufactured during this era were either Meerschaum pipes, which are high-quality clay, or Briar wood pipes. One thing that stands out about Pre-Patent and Patent Era pipes is that they rarely have a Country of Manufacturer stamp on them.
The next era was known as the Free State Era, due to the “Irish Free State” country of manufacture stamp. This era began when the Irish Free State was formed in January of 1922. The Free State Era lasted until 1937, when Eire was officially formed. This led to the Made in Eire Era, which ran from early 1938 to approximately 1941. Due to the war, availability of Briar wood was significantly reduced, which resulted in a significant reduction in pipe production. What pipes were made during the war were often made of either clay or Bog Oak.
There are pipes made during and soon after the war that feature a “Made in Ireland” stamp, either in a circle format (1945-1947) or a block format (1947-1949). Even though these pipes have the “Made in Ireland” stamp, they are still often considered to be part of the Made in Eire Era because Eire officially existed until 1949. The current era is known as the Republic Era due to the formation of the Republic of Ireland in 1949. Currently, approximately 100,000 Peterson pipes are produced every year, with their number one market still being Europe. However, the United States has become the second largest market with almost 1/6th of Peterson’s production.
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