The Peterson 4AB POTY Is Coming.

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JimInks

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My first exposure to Sherlock Holmes was the movies where Basil Rathbone played Holmes. I quickly learned that Sherlock Holmes was one of the earliest fictional detectives. Thanks to my local library, I was able to read every one of the sixty Conan Doyle written Holmes stories. The next year, 1974, I became a pipe smoker. Being that my only source for pipes and tobaccos were local drug stores, I tried to find a pipe that resembled the Peterson 4AB that Rathbone smoked in the Universal series. I settled on a Doctor Grabow Omega, which copied the standard Peterson system pipe. Over time, I bought several pipes that were somewhere near the shape of that model, but never one that was close enough.

For many years, I dreamed about owning the same model Rathbone smoked, though I didn’t know what shape number it was until the early 2000s. It was a fruitless search to find that pipe, and I began to feel I would never own one. When I heard that Laudisi Enterprises, Inc. had acquired the Peterson line, I saw a chance. At the 2018 West Coast Pipe Show, I brought up the idea of manufacturing a 4AB to Shane Ireland. Shane was unaware of the existence of that pipe, but when he Google searched the subject, he quickly realized the sales potential of the 4AB. I informed him that there were a great many pipe smokers who have wanted one for years, and that it would be a great service to the community if Laudisi would bring back the 4AB. I specifically pointed out that the copy had to have the exact specs or buyers would not be happy. I told Shane there was a cut-away diagram of the 4AB with the details on line, and he could use that as the template for the new model. Shane told me it would take a couple of years or so, but he would see that it would happen, and that an exact copy would be a priority.

I started mentioning it on the pipe forums, and suggested that interested parties contact Laudisi and ask them to produce the 4AB. A huge number of people did that. In a 2019 conversation with Smoking Pipes representative Kaz Walters, I told him I had been talking up the idea whenever I had the chance. Kaz said that it was the most requested shape to bring back into production. I felt better about the chance that it would happen, thanks to my fellow pipers.

At the 2019 Chicago Pipe Show, Peterson blogger Mark Irwin was selling his amazing then-new book on the history of Peterson pipes. I told him about my conversations with Shane and Kaz, and asked Mark if he would help get this done. Knowing that Mark had a lot of contact with Peterson, I knew he could be very helpful in this venture. Mark was very enthusiastic about my idea, and said he’d do what he could. Which he did.

In the Fall of 2019, I asked Shane for a progress report. He said making the bowl was not the problem. The AB stem was going to be difficult to accurately replicate, and once they solved that problem, they would make the 4AB. Shane said to be patient as it would take some time before it would happen. Over the next two years, we had a few discussions about the project, and he was always optimistic that it would happen. Sykes Wilford seemed interested in it when we discussed it at the same show.

My patience has been rewarded. On Friday, December 3, Laudisi and Smoking Pipes are releasing five versions of the 4AB as the Pipe of the Year with hand crafted, very accurate specs. 500 in total were made. The three smooth models have brown, terracotta and natural finishes, along with a rusticated and a sandblasted version. I have one of each of the smooth versions. Since Rathbone smoked Wilke #515 in a dark brown 4AB, I will follow in his august foot steps in tribute to him. This is a transformative moment in my pipe smoking life and if it is in yours, you can thank all of known and unknown (to me) people involved in making this happen. Pardon me while I light up a piece of history that I waited forty-seven years to do.
 

JimInks

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The Natural I own is Number 6.
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smoker13

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Many Thanks, Jim! The past few weeks has seen money fly out of my wallet in a frenzy to acquire a dozen 2021 Christmas Sherlock Holmes pipes (yes, I do have many of the regulars as well) but I'll be sure to keep a caffeine-fueled eagle eye out on Dec 3rd to snatch up these treasures! Again, Many, MANY Thanks for your dedicated efforts to seeing this pipe's birth, from soup to nuts to use a completely wrong adage!
 

JimInks

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Many Thanks, Jim! The past few weeks has seen money fly out of my wallet in a frenzy to acquire a dozen 2021 Christmas Sherlock Holmes pipes (yes, I do have many of the regulars as well) but I'll be sure to keep a caffeine-fueled eagle eye out on Dec 3rd to snatch up these treasures! Again, Many, MANY Thanks for your dedicated efforts to seeing this pipe's birth, from soup to nuts to use a completely wrong adage!
You're very welcome. I think they'll sell out before the day owns.

Turns out that I'm getting the sandblast (thanks to my mother-in-law for the birthday present), and the rusticated versions, too. I'll have the complete set!
 

Zeno Marx

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Cool situation, for sure. Another nice Peterson vision of billiardship. limited editions...bleh. It's in the air, though. I swear every hobby I have, or had, is now deep into limited editions. They were once an anomaly, and now they're the regular MO.
 
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