Friedrich and Heinrich Kapp, German immigrants to Ireland from Nuremberg, founded the famed Kapp Brothers store on Grafton Street, Dublin in 1865. Shortly thereafter, a Latvian immigrant, Charles Peterson, strolled into the Kapp workshop and declared that he could make better pipes than they could. Armed with an imaginative flair for pipes and a craftsman’s background, Peterson not only proved himself correct, but became the third partner in the fledgling firm.
Originally based at 53 Grafton Street the business moved to 56 Lower Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street) on the corner with Bachelors Walk shortly after the Easter Rising. The name Kapp & Peterson Ltd can still be seen on the parapet of this building and the letters KP are formed in timber panelling on the shopfront.
Today, Peterson, run by Thomas Palmer, makes about 100,000 pipes annually, distributed all over the world. After Europe, the United States is the largest market with 12-15% of Peterson’s production.