Thursday, August 2, 2007

QUOTE: Dr. Fred Hanna, Ph.D

"I once owned a lowly Peterson second that was a first rate smoker (as so many of them are), equal to any high grades."

The Myth of Brand and Maker in Pipesmoking

Dr. Fred Hanna, Ph.D


Anonymous said...

Peterson Seconds!

How often under-appreciated among those who write about pipe smoking, and yet what truly excellent pipes!

My first decent pipe was an Irish Seconds. I had made a few attempts at smoking a pipe before that point (something about it was inherently attractive; the sense of thoughtful relaxation absorbed in one's senses...) but they were less than fulfilling.

But almost by accident I acquired an Irish Seconds, a larger half-bent model, which felt right at home in my hand. This proved to be a revelation, absolute delight from the first puff. Finally the early attempts were justified: this was what I'd known in the back of my mind, or anticipated, that would make smoking a pipe worthwhile.

By analogy, as if one's only experience with recorded music had been the songs played on a transistor radio, and then for the first time one put on a set of truly good headphones on a good stereo system: the clarity of sound and the inner expanse of the auditory space would be almost like discovering an entirely new sense.

I still have that pipe and smoke it regularly, and have since acquired eight or nine more (am I missing one or two without having to go count 'em?) whenever I can find them. All of these have a natural briar finish with no stain or whatnot, and have darkened over the years All are as good as almost any high-grade. I can live with the minor visual imperfections, as the taste and aroma these pipes convey, plus their substantial feel in the hand and in the mouth, are a source of joy any time I sit down for an undisturbed hour of puffing.

Unfortunately, Irish Seconds have become quite difficult to find as new pipes in the US, though the supply of estate pipes more than satisfies (and the last time you ate at a restaurant, you ate with utensils that others had used before you). So the question is, what might be done to persuade Peterson to send more of these truly excellent pipes over to us in the US..?

And, I might add, their affordable price, in the range of $20 when I last bought them new (perhaps would be in the range $30 - 40 today?), makes them accessible to people who have never smoked a pipe before, who are intrigued but not committed and therefore don't want to spend $50 - 100 for an "experiment" that might not work out for them.

The best thing anyone could do to make pipe smoking accessible to the curious newcomer, would be to discover a truckload of Irish Seconds and distribute them so far and wide that the "newbie" would practically trip over them upon walking into the nearest tobacco shop.

And, not to worry about the Irish Seconds distracting the market for Peterson's regular pipes. When I figured out that they were Peterson products, I became more interested in other Petersons, to the point where I have seven or either of those as well (am I forgetting one somewhere?). One good thing leads to another. Though it would lead there more directly if the nomenclature was changed slightly to, "Irish Seconds by Peterson," to make it easier for the new initiate to know where the trail goes.

Nor do the regular Petersons distract from the Irish Seconds. Which to smoke at any given moment is a matter of mood and inclination, the phase of the moon, the activity of squirrels in the yard, and other factors too random to list.

So let's hear it for Irish Seconds, and let's hear from others about their experiences with these pipes.

Kimberz said...

I have an Irish Seconds for sale.

Tyler said...

Dr. Hanna,

My family has a long standing Irish background and before my grandfather passed away he gave me his two remaining pipes which survived two house fires over his lifetime. He said that he collected them when we was in the Navy in WWII and traveling through Europe. One of them is an Irish Seconds and I have found nothing but sheer pleasure in smoking it. It must be at least 60-70 yrs old and has plenty of character, but smokes as smooth and easy as anything I've tried so far.

John said...

Excellent article, thank you.

As you mentioned, this seems like an economical approach to getting into the Peterson System.

I can't imagine but that more folks would enjoy and stay with this, with a quality pipe, but with a "cosmetic mar" vs. some of the more atrocious low end examples I've seen.

Best regards, John