Portraits of the Author as a pipe smoker.

While it is well known that Mark Twain smoked a pipe, photographs of him doing so are not always easy to find. Here is a small collection of gems, showing the great man himself indulging in one of life's finer pleasures. At least four of these pipes were made by Peterson: what appear to be System models 307, 312, a System billiard with nubbin (now defunct) and the System Deluxe fullbent now reissued as the "Mark Twain."

Twain with what appears to be a
Peterson System 312

Twain on deck smoking an intriguing silver-banded Peterson System billiard with a nubbin. This shape was sold in the 1905 Peterson catalogue. To the left, the author enjoys a calabash in his library.

A contemplative repose, with what appears to be a Peterson System 307. Happiness in a good book, a good pipe, and the time to enjoy them; some things never change.


Here is the Peterson System Billiard that Twain was likely smoking on deck of the steamboat.

In the center are the two pipes currently in the Hannibal, Missouri Mark Twain Museum, both personal favorites of Twain. The briar Peterson is pictured again on the left, and has been re-created by the Peterson company in a fine sterling silver mounted limited edition enjoyed by many a pipe smoker, available in smooth, sandblast and rusticated finish. The first series was produced in the 1980s. Peterson reintroduced the pipe in 2011 with a companion poker, as a set. 

The corncob, or one very much like it, was drawn as part of a published sketch of Twain, but with a straight stem. The Missouri Meerschaum company produces a similar version today (the "Freehand") with a wood shank and bent vulcanite stem.