A Frustrating Search
I have always been a fan of meerschaum pipes… well, at least of the idea of what meerschaum pipes could potentially be. The famed meerschaum carvers of Eskişehir, Turkey are certainly unmatched in their skill and ability to transform a meerschaum stone into a highly detailed figural representation of whatever person, creature, or scene they can imagine! But for all of their artistic talent, it is nearly impossible to find a meerschaum pipe made with the same engineering, fit and finish that the pipe collecting community has come to expect from high-grade artisan pipes. Even more disappointing to lovers of the classic shapes is the fact that most of these shapes coming out of Turkey are lacking the refining graces and nuances that really make a classic shape shine.
For many years I searched for my perfect meerschaum billiard. A proper billiard, shaped deftly to perfection with lines and curves reflecting those of the most revered French and English pipe houses. The same pipe would be drilled perfectly on center, not too high, not too low, with an open airway. It would have a hand-cut stem with integral tenon, comfortable button, and excellent slot work.
Was this too much to ask? Apparently so. I searched to no avail.
A Rare Medium
Meerschaum is a stone, a mineral, magnesium silicate to be exact. Deposits are found in only a few places in the world, and all are of poor quality and color, except for one. The mines of Eskişehir, Turkey are full of large chunks of meerschaum, free of inclusions and dirt, and of pure white color. This makes Turkish meerschaum the most coveted for pipemaking, and also creates cause for protection of the material from that region.
The meerschaum carving industry is such big business that to export raw, un-carved meerschaum is against Turkish law. This has made high quality meerschaum impossible to obtain by those whose skills are best suited to properly engineer and finish a high quality product… well, nearly impossible, that is.
If you want it done right…
At the beginning of 2014, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on several raw meerschaum stones from Turkey. Understandably, I cannot discuss the details of this acquisition. This was the beginning of the Cannoy Meerschaum Collection.
This series features high quality Turkish block meerschaum, hand-made to American high-grade artisan pipe standards, with perfect engineering, integrated push tenons, and Delrin lined mortises. They come with a handmade fitted case.
These meerschaum pipes are not graded, but are numbered consecutively, starting at “1″, in order of production. The entire collection will be archived on this page so that the pipes’ respective owners can access information about their pipe in the future!
#9 – Bamboo Rhodesian