Meerschaum may have white, yellowish, gray or reddish and mat colors. Its hardness degree is between 2-2.5, and it is lightly adhesive and porous. It is extracted from 20-60-130 meters depth of the ground as big and small rounds. Small rounds are collected by digging deep wells and tunnels connected to these wells.
Some wells are watery, some wells are dry. Stones of watery wells are much better. Meerschaum is produced in different places like Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Mexico, Madrid, and Nairobi; however, they are unimportant in quantity and low in quality. Meerschaum with the highest quality is found in Eskişehir. The property that while drying it keeps the remains of moisture and gases in its body, makes Meerschaum a suitable material for making tobacco pipes as well as a good filling material for absorbent, filter or isolation in industry. It became an indispensable material in industry for years. It is used in making cigarette-holder, tobacco pipe and decorative goods and in automobile paint industry. It is added to porcelain paste, insecticides, powder and stain removing medicines.

There three geological periods in its formation:

First Order
It is an ore in sandy- clay soil at 10-14 meters depth.
Second Order
It forms between 40-60 meters depth. It is an ore existing in clay.
Third Order
Meerschaum with the highest quality forms in Conglomera series and it exists in 80-130
    meters depth fitting with the topography. Other kinds of meerschaum are: cotton-piece, granular cast, unit unity and puny.
The places where Meerschaum extracted from are: Sarısu, Yenişehir, Türkmentokat, Gökçeoğlu, Karaçay, Söğütçük, Sepetçi, Margı, Nemli, Kümbet, Yeniköy, Kepertepe, Karahöyük and Başören.

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Maintanance of the Meerschaum Pipe 

Making the pipe rest

Aiming to make the customers think that this hobby isn’t that expensive the sellers generally tell them that they should use only one pipe many times in a day then make it rest for 1-2 days. But this appliance affects the smoking quality badly. The most accurate way of smoking is to use 1 pipe only one time in a day then make it rest for at least 1 day for merschaum pipes but for briar pipes at least 2 days. This both makes the pipe relieved and increases it quality , greatly. In order to apply this method correctly one can give numbers to pipes and smoke these pipes according to order of the numbers. 

Breaking in the Pipes

Unlike the briar pipes meerschaum pipes doesn’t need any braking in process.

For briar pipes the breaking in process is done as  ; 

The breaking in process that is needed to prepare the briar pipes to the trees warmth and to the tobacco , before smoking is firstly applied to pipe’s inner wall parts using the carbon cake , which is formed in a few steps , i.e. firstly the pipe’s bowl is filled up to 1/3 section, then the pipe is lighted and is smoked. After applying this 1/3 filling process pipe smoked 2-3 times then filled 1/3 more and 2-3 times smoked again,  after the remaining 1/3 section filled and smoked 2-3 times  you can use your pipe as you want. The important part is to cool down the pipe before filling it again , in order not to make the briar burned. When the carbon cake is formed smoothly the pipe gets broken in.

This carbon layer protects the Briar pipes from burning , so it is quite important for the briar pipes provided that not exceed   2 mm thickness. Moreover the carbon cake increases the Briar pipes smoking quality and pleasantness. This is also effective at meerschaum pipes provided that it doesn’t exceed the 2mm level. If this cake exceeds 2mm then it may affect the quality in a bad way giving a totally opposite result. Against all the others say some experienced meerschaum pipe users don’t clean out the carbon cake saying that making this increases the quality at all. 

Cleaning of The Pipe

Cotton swab is enough for cleaning the meerschaum pipe. Shaving foam , toothpaste , alcohol etc. materials emphatically must not be used. Especially Savinelli Company’s “See Spray” is ideal for cleaning the briar pipes, but it is not suggested for meerschaum pipes. That is to say , any spray should not be used for cleaning the pipe , without considering its specialties.

After smoking the pipe the remaining tobacco or tar that remains in bowl must be cleaned out. While doing this process in meerschaum pipes one must be extremely careful , because the pipe spoon, pipe reamer, etc. tools may damage or scratch the pipe.

In order to protect the pipe from blots we must keep our hands clean. Meerschaum pipes come out after getting polished with beeswax. Especially, being sensitive to outer effects while it is warm , is you touch the pipe with dirty hands then this dirt will pass on the pipe, which would end up in unstable darkening. In addition to this you must pay attention cleanliness of the pipe racks and pipe stands that you put the pipe on, if you don’t the dirt they possessed will remain trace on the pipe.

Protection of the Meerschaum Pipe

The tools that are used in cleaning process of pipes must be used carefully and the pipe must not be forced. Otherwise this may end up in cracks and corrosions.

Mouthpiece must not be forced and must rotate counter-clockwise while removing and while putting it in , it must be rotated clockwise. Otherwise the pipe’s connection parts would be worn off and get slacked.

Never try to remove the remainders out of the pipe by hitting it to a shoe heel , corner of a table , an ashtray, etc. like you see on movies.

Pay attention to pipe furniture that they must not be damaged which would scratch the pipe. Fast smoking, too much smoking ,warming up too much makes the pipe darken with no balance of inner and outer layers.

Smoking Quality

- Some briar pipe users use whiskey, lemon , honey etc. to get a fine smoke but these types of materials are not suggested to meerschaum pipe because these affects the quality in a bad way,  I suggest you aromatic tobacco instead

- Even though the outlook of the pipe gets better ,  beeswax must not be used after the first appliance or the smoking quality will get affected badly.

- As i mentioned before carbon cake increases the smoking quality and pleasantness of the meerschaum pipes like does at briar pipes, regardless of what some web sites say, while it is not a needed material for meerschaum’s at all.

- Again as I said before , you should make the meerschaum pipe rest for at least a day after every smoking process which will increase the smoking pleasantness greatly.


Some Accessories for Meerschaum Pipes

The meerschaum pipe accessories are the same as  other pipes accessories except “9mm meerschaum filters” and “meerschaum base stone filters”.

I advise you to be used 9mm active carbon filter or 9mm balsa filter instead.


The Quality of Meerschaum pipe

It is hard to understand this from the outside .The most important method of understanding is to test pipe’s lightness. Quality of the Meerschaum pipe is parallel to its lightness (in weight).

The second method is the change of colors while smoking ,but this would only occur in time. The meerschaum of good quality changes its color stably.

The other tips of the quality can only be understood by the experienced meerschaum pipe smokers which is about the smoking quality.

Burak Demir

The President of the Pipe Club of Turkey  


Brief Historical Account of Meerschaum 

At first Meerschaum  was the two horse statues that bring in 20.000 old France silver liras to Puget which was made at 1652 by the French Artist Louis Pierre Puget, who was a student of Berini, in the garden of Vaux-Le-Vicomte Castle in France .At these times we see 9 art masterpieces at the height of 17 cm. that were worked up wonderfully of Puget which he considered them with all the details. These works of arts are by order The Girl , The Eagle , The tree and its body , Victory Monument , The Relaxing Bushed Brigant , are the first Meerschaum works. Moreover the Meerschaum was worked up before 1652. Being not able to establish the artist’s names and the regions they were , we are starting the history at 1652.

 We see the finished pipe, which was formed by the first meerschaum , was made by a noble Hungarian Evangelist  who made it from two raw meerschaums that were given as a gift from the Sultan of the era. Giving these two raw meerschaums to his friend Karol Kowates, who is a fancier of pipes, Hungarian Evengalist Count Andrasay wants him to make something from them. And Kowates makes the first meerschaum pipes that are displayed in Budapest Museum now. The interest to meerschaum increases in Europe ,then the first meerschaum factory gets build in Ruhla Town, Germany. By 1745 there were 27 factories where over 150 craftsmen work in , in parallel with this the workers number who work in meerschaum mines increases from 1600 to 6000 in Turkey. 

Meerschaum pipe was first shown to people by the craftsman Kristof Treiss in Leipzig Fair at 1750. 

By 1777 in Frankfurt Industry Fair two craftsmen “Johanın Wolfgank Wagner and Yakop Helmann” came from Ruhla showed their products which bring them plumes .- At 1812 meerschaum found its second importer firm named Benjamin Barling which is an established firm in London.

England draws attention of the world at 1851s for being a country which is able to use the industrial explosions perfectly and utilizing the opportunities as well. Thanks to meerschaum factories and their product the Crylal Plale Exhibition turns into a world fair.

B.Bading is an existing firm even now and like it a well-known firm GBD i.e. “ Ganneval Bondier Donniger” which was formed by three friends who have these names, starts meerschaum production at 1851,in France. By 1852 a second Matthissa France Firm was established which has 80 craftsmen working in. At 1850s the factory number in Germany increases significantly and with no doubt we see that the German Industry affects the Hungarian , Italian and Austrian Industries as well with  Hitler’s regime. By this time we see there are at least 50 firms and 10-15 craftsmen in every of these firms just in Austria. It is impossible not to talk about Vienna, because Vienna is the only place that gives spirit to meerschaum and Vienna surely is the centre of places that gives  woman beauty to meerschaum and makes the mythology work up with meerschaum well.

By 1850 the number of craftsmen in Europe was 1500 and this quick widening of the meerschaum industry  between 1851 and 1854 makes us see “Brothers M. and Emannel Lzapek” at Czechoslovakia , “E.R” at Belgium Brussels , “Arthur Schneider” at East Germany Leipzig , “Snaland” at Sweden and having the title of first woman pipe producer “Helene” at Bulgaria Sofia set up one each firms. At that period which the meerschaum’s exporting was hundred thousands covered money there comes a new market on the scene. Calcuta at Middle-East, India and D.Macropolo opens three factories at Bombay , Sri Lanka, Colombo . 

In the very end meerschaum was carried to America by the European artist F.J.Kaldenberg in raw form in amounts of full two chests, which is nearly amount to 300 pipe all , at 1855.The first American Pipe Factory was build on William Demuth Main Road and the first meerschaum pipe store was opened in the name of William Demuth Company. Year 1862,  the second store at Manhattan, year 1862 follows the firm of this store,year 1896 the biggest meerschaum factory was opened at the south end of 101th Main Road Richmond Hill Queens, At Park Lane. 

Speaking about meerschaum and America, we shouldn’t forget Vienna craftsman Gustav Fisher who migrated to America by 1881.The fisher family made meerschaum managing in a direct line as 6 generations from 1742 to 1975, that is exactly 233 years. Born at 1887, Jr.Fisher was already a 74 year old pipe carver, who started this job at 14,when he died.

                 TURKCE SAYFALAR