1976 Peterson’s 301


I found this pipe at an antique store close to the mountains in
Georgia. It’s rather unique because of the rustication that had been done to it. According to a fellow pipe lover, he thinks he remembers this pipe being sold as a special package deal with a tobacco blend.  Sort of like how there’s a Peterson pipe set with a Zippo lighter.
With some further research, I’ve been told that this pipe may be what’s called a Manx Meerschaum, or African meerschaum, which is generally harder and cured a little different than Turkish meerschaum.

When I purchased this pipe, the stem was heavily oxidized. I sanded it down a little, trying to be very careful since the highest grade of sandpaper I have is 600 grit. It worked wonderfully, though. I then soaked the stem in some Everclear alcohol for about 4-6 hours. After the soaking, I used some bristled pipe cleaners with some of the alcohol to make sure that the stem was cleaned thoroughly. Once done with the cleaning process, I used some Brebbia pipe and stem polish and a microfiber towel to polish the stem. It came out beautifully! I do need to repeat the sanding and polishing again, since I’ve noticed that I missed some of the oxidation.

I did a salt and alcohol treatment on the bowl and shank, making sure that all the previous tobacco residue was removed. There were no scorching in the bowl and the pipe took to the S/A quite well. Once I finished the S/A treatment, I used some of the polish on the silver and around the rim of the bowl. I didn’t think I would get some of the tarnishing off, since it looked like it went deeper than the surface, but it all came off easily and shined up wonderfully.

I smoked this pipe for the first time the other night and was moderately rewarded for my time cleaning it up. I think I packed the tobacco a little too much and had to relight more than a few times. It was a little frustrating, but this is my first Peterson pipe. While I can already tell it’s not as good of a smoker as my Rinaldo, I’m hoping a good cake build will make this pipe better soon. I’m also sure that a better packing for the tobacco will help.

 Edited 3/19/2008 ~ Due to a couple of comments from a good fellow and research I had done after fully confirming that this pipe is in fact a manx (African) meer, I’ve needed to come in and update this entry. In after-thought, the S/A treatment wasn’t a good decision. Meerschaum pipes do not take to the treatment like briar does and you can pretty much bet on ruining a great pipe. This said, I will say that I got extremely lucky. The pipe did not degrade, or ruin. I think that has a lot to do with the type of meerschaum it is and the fact that I didn’t do a major S/A treatment like I have done with several briars since I got this one. Turkish meerschaum is much softer and not near as dense as this pipe. Without being fully aware of the characteristics of this kind of meerschaum, it can be easily mistaken for briar. I have a few meers that I smoke rarely. I’d never do an S/A treatment on them and with this Peterson, I was impatient, didn’t confirm its material, and didn’t know there were other kinds of meerschaum to look out for. I’ve smoked this pipe several times since this post and it gets better and better as I work through my own ignorance. For the comments made below, thank you for your insight and bringing this back to my attention to make a follow-up. As I’ve said in my bio, I’m new to this and I’m learning as I go, hence the name BootlegBonVivant.

Happy puffin’!

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12 thoughts on “1976 Peterson’s 301

  1. Thanks for sharing this information. Really is pack with new knowledge. Keep them coming.

    Thanks for dropping by! If work would let up a little, I might have more to write about, lol.
    ~Shaun

  2. This pipe is made in african meerschaum. The black rim of the bowl is the normal finish of a new pipe.

    In a meerschaum pipe, avoid any cake in the bowl, you must to remove any parcel of carbon after each smoke. Cake is for biar pipe only.

    Avoid S/A treatment in a meerschaum pipe, the way to break-in a meerschaum pipe consist to allow the meerscaum to suck the tobacco juice. That cleans and dry the smoke and de porosity of the meerschaum do its job : extract the tobacco juice to the exterior of the bolw. That also colors the bowl wich could become yellow to mahogany, depends to the kind of tobacco you smoke in.

    Meerschaum also doesn’t keep the flavor of the last tobacco you’ve smoked in, so, it doesn’t need any traitment to remove an ancient taste, despite its porosity. This porosity works to extract naturally the taste of the last smoke. That’s why a meerschaum pipe can be smoked with several kind of tobacco without need to be acclimated to the new one, you can smoke it along the day (it dry faster than a briar pipe) with different tobacco.

    Allowing a cake to form in the bolw and … your bowl should be cracked soonly, because meerschaum is delicate and can’t support de pression of the cake dilatation, when heated and wetted by a smoking session, even a thin cake.

    The inner of the bowl becomes black, but you must see that it’s dark meerschaum, no cake. To clean it, use fine sand paper gently and remove any parcel of carbon.

    Enjoy this pipe, but remember that a meerschaum pipe is not as a briar pipe, so, it must be cleaned and smoked differently, more gently than a briar pipe.

    At last, I think that the strange taste you encounter comes from the S/A treatment, any meerschaum smoker would NOT do this… so, you have experimented this and permit the regular meerschaum smokers to avoid this bad taste, if one could have the strange idea to do this.

    Best regards.

  3. I must to additionally write this :

    To break-in (in fact, it’s not really a break-in, but a colouring, meerschaum doesn’t need break-in nor cake) a new meerschaum pipe, fill it fully, but only smoke the first half of the bowl. This procese allows to perfectly color the base of the bowl. Knows that’s the shank is always coloured the first, because it’s a point of condensation, due to the low temperature in this place compared to the rest of the pipe.

    As explained, it’s the meerschaum itself who must be the “cake”, so to do this, you must remember that condensation is the key.

    It exist parts to put on the top of the bowl made especially to breaking-in it better and faster. You smoke into this part and not in the bowl of the pipe itself. The idea, once more, is to use most effectively the condensation in the pipe. It usualy advised to smoke 60 to 100 times in this part befor to smoke the tobacco in the pipe itself.

    Another tip is to use a glove for the 60 fisrt time that you smoke a meershaum pipe, because if you hold it with bare hands it could make appear horribly and forever your fingerprints. Fortunately, african meerschaum avoid this problem, due to it’s “oiled and cooked” method. But for the turkish meerschaum, it’s an imperative.

    As said, the black part on the top of the bowl is due to this traitment. So … do not try to remove this false tar anymore, it’s not tar. More than that, as you can read befor, trying to remove all tar by S/A method mean to remove the real “cake” of a meerschaum pipe (must I precise that the particulary of meerschaum would be destroyed by this procese?) and, if you try to remove it by sanding … you no longer have any pipe at the end, because it’s deeply, completely, entered in the meerschaum, from the inner to the exterior. Meerschaum not working otherwise …

    As I saw, it’s your first contact with meerschaum, and you did big mistake by using proceses reserved to briar pipes. I hope that my intervention doesn’t come too late, if some meerschaum beginners have allready readed and followed your “advices”.

    Best regards,

    Meerschaumer

  4. i’m about to get my very first meerschaum pipe off eBay, it’s brand new never smoked before, how do i ensure that i’m going to keep enjoying this pipe? Meershaumer’s english was horrible and that did nothing more than confuse me. i’ll bookmark this page and wait for a reply from someone that can/will translate.

    basically i got out of it that you must keep the bowl clean but don’t sand it or it’ll eventually disappear. something about only smoking half a bowl at a time until it breaks in BUT if you’re supposed to clean it after each use how is it supposed to break in?

    1. Welcome. A meerschaum pipe is something to experience and while it can be tricky to care for, the basics of care are simple. No alcohol should ever be used. A meerschaum will not build a cake like a briar pipe. Instead, is absorbs the natural moisture of the tobacco. I’ve seen suggestions about only smoking a half a bowl of tobacco as well, but if memory serves me, this is only within the first few times smoking the pipe, as a break-in process. I’ve never been able to substantiate that this is even necessary. One thing of maintenance is to use softer pipe cleaners on the mouthpiece and stem. This will help keep the sour/bitter taste out and allow you to enjoy your pipe for a long time. I don’t recommend the bristled pipe cleaners. I think they’re too abrasive to benefit longevity in a meerschaum. There have been other opinions on not touching the bowl with your hands because the natural oils in your hands can hinder the “browning” of your meer. I haven’t smoked mine long enough, or as much to be able to find out for sure. Take it easy and smoke slow.

      1. thank you for the help, the pipe i bought looks like a golf ball so i really don’t care if it browns on the outside lol however i plan on using it for golf and golf related events only so I’ll be wearing a glove anyhow. as for pipe cleaners, would you recommend a specific brand? i’m thinking those colored ones from the craft store? (very soft)

        I’ve got a bag of BJ long pipe cleaners and i’m assuming those are the ones that are too abrasive?

        1. Should suit your purposes just fine then. For the pipe cleaners, check out my pipe makers and retailers page found at:
          https://bootlegbonvivant.wordpress.com/pipe-makers-retailers/

          Most retailers found will keep pipe cleaners in stock that are safe to use on actual pipes. I wouldn’t recommend the craft store ones for various reasons. Also, if you have a local Cigar/Tobacco shop, you should be able to find these there as well. Pipe cleaners are very inexpensive. If you don’t mind telling me your location, I might be able to help find a Tobacconist nearby.

          1. I live in the thousand islands (yes that place the salad dressing comes from)
            the closest tobacconist i’ve found is either smitty’s in carthage that’s mostly closed or pipes unlimited all the way down in rochester area.

            I prefer to go online for my pipe needs. Boswell have been good to me since i first decided to call them last fall. and btw…surfing around your site for an email address i saw your list of pipe retailers, dead man’s appears to be open.

          2. I don’t blame ya. There’s quite a few cigar shops close to me, but only one that really sells much in pipe related merchandise. Also, online, you can find better variety.

            Thanks for letting me know. They never sent me an email stating they’ve re-opened under new management. It’s about that time where I go through all of my links and update them, and add more. Maybe I’ll try to take some time this weekend to do that, lol.

  5. FYI
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meerschaum — That’s the link to the Wikipedia article on the mineral meerschaum. It states the superior, pure form is found in Turkey and that the African meerschaum is a processed. It also states the Turks have stopped exporting the mineral and are seeking to create a meerschaum monopoly.

    1. Thanks for the link. As far as I’m aware, and I could be wrong, but the Turkish government did that a few years ago; only allowing Turkish pipe carvers to mine the raw material or buy it.

      I’m not sure about the superiority, but both smoke wonderfully.

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