tobacco pipe from meerschaum

Tobacco Meerschaum pipes

"After this call, he had to see something beautiful. And something warm in his hands feel. He filled his Meerschaum pipewith Balkan Sobranie, lit a match and sucked. Damn, he thought, this warm, earthy flavor of Latakiatabak, this honey-like, spicy fragrance - there was nothing better in the world. Hard to believe that he had renounced so many years later. He sank into a daydream ... "[From: The Schopenhauer Cure Irvin D. Yalom of]

We do not know what Julius Hertzfeld, protagonist in Yaloms Roman dreams. But one thing is clear: It is the pleasure of his beloved Meerschaum pipe, which puts him in this light, seemingly weightless state of daydream. That sense of winding down and the soul balm will be most passionate pipe smokers familiar. Decelerated time in their pure form.

What could be more stylish than celebrated with a real "White Queen" this deliberate ritual? This designation for tobacco Meerschaum pipes testifies to the esteem experienced pipe smokers from around the world in the face of these noble pieces. And rightly so, in our opinion. Let's take a closer look at this extraordinary material ...

The origin

The province of Eskişehir in Central Anatolia Turkey is considered the cradle of today's meerschaum pipes. Here, the largest deposits of the rare white material found worldwide. The traditional production of hand carved tobacco pipes is therefore deeply rooted in this region. What exactly Meerschaum is actually? In the nomenclature of minerals is one of the scientifically known as sepiolite Meerschaum to the group of phyllosilicates.

It is formed underground under hydrothermal processes under the influence of high pressure and high heat. Sepiolite is very light and because many small air pockets (similar to pumice) buoyant. Because of the exclusively subterranean occurrence it can be obtained only in the mining industry.

Fresh degraded sepiolite is mostly in front of tuber-like structure and is therefore also known as meerschaum tuber.

He is before drying of wax soft consistency and feels greasy. On contact with water sepiolite begins to foam; already the Greeks knew the mineral, using it for cleaning purposes.

For its more common name Meerschaum reached the sepiolite in all likelihood by the Eindeutschung the original Levantine trade name mertscavon.


The lion's share of mined meerschaum came earlier than the Turkish raw material pipe carving for use. As the custom of smoking tobacco was known in Turkey in the 17th century, quickly became apparent that Meerschaum has the optimal properties for the production thenceforth coveted tobacco pipes. The porous material to be processed non-flammable, tasteless and good. In the area around Eskişehir a thriving business with the "white gold" and hundreds of pipe carving originated work done in small workshops their artful work.

Rasch of meerschaum boom grew beyond the Turkish borders; in particular the Austrian Vienna evolved in the 18th century to the metropolis of meerschaum pipes manufacturing. Pipe smokers throughout Europe swore by the lightweight models with excellent smoking properties.

Getting competition and dwindling demand

Until the root tuber of the tree Heath erica aboreadiscovered around 1880 to produce pipes from briar, meerschaum pipes were considered the ultimate among pipe smokers. However, meerschaum pipes were extremely costly compared to the then widespread clay pipes; of tobacco use with a "White Goddess"was therefore usually reserved for more affluent circles. Briar quickly developed into a serious competitor of the expensive meerschaum. It is readily available, inexpensive and in terms of smoke characteristics are pipes from briar meerschaum their colleagues in every way.

For a final collapse of the market for meerschaum pipes came in 1970: The Turkish government responded to the ailing economy of the country with a ban on exports of raw meerschaum. Henceforth allowed meerschaum pipes leave Turkey only as so-called semi-finished products. The handcrafted by Turkish pipes carvers pipe bowls were provided and sold abroad with a mouthpiece. The already dwindling demand with respect to the formerly so popular pipes decreased sequentially further towards zero. At best lover or Turkey travelers stopped at the myth of the "White Goddess"fixed.

The situation today

In the Turkish Eskişehir has remained only a handful of the once numerous meerschaum pipes artists. In the shop windows of Souvernirshops be Meerschaum place now mainly in the form of jewelry and small statuettes. Are only in the local Meerschaum Museum still admire old pipes of immense size and elaborate ornamentation. The meerschaum mines in the small villages of the province are mostly orphaned and abandoned. The degradation of the once coveted Minerals takes place only on a modest scale. The success story of the Meerschaum pipe seems to be over. But is that really so? Marcel Wagner, a journalist at the SWR has produced a report about the situation of the Turkish meerschaum pipes Blunders some time ago for the Arte broadcast "Zoom Europe".

In his research in the village Beyaz Altin to German "White Gold", the decline of sea foam commerce was clearly visible. At its heyday just recalled the image of a pipe on the rusted town sign. The visit within the last pipe carving in Eskişehir however revealed to him a still vibrant culture whose experience and knowledge are passed on to the next generation. Despite the difficult conditions of their trade these people go to their work with dedication and artistic standards, which has no equal. Each of them carved pipes that finds her lover, contributes to the survival of this ancient craft.

The production of meerschaum pipes

Of course, we are talking here of pipes made of genuine meerschaum. In trade pipe very inexpensive Meerschaum pipes replacement are often offered. This is also known as Massa or Wiener Meerschaum material consists of the pressed waste produced during the processing of genuine meerschaum. It is not subject to the current export ban and is further processed by machine outside Turkey. But we dedicate ourselves to the real Meerschaum:

Meerschaum has a number of qualities that offer unbeatable advantages in the production of high-quality tobacco pipes. In fresh state, the material can be easily and extremely intricate processed (carved). The pipes Schnitzer holds the meerschaum while working constantly moist to keep the soap-like consistency. Only after complete drying developed meerschaum his final hard texture.

Meerschaum pipes are often sculptural quality and expressiveness; the creativity of the artist are in shaping virtually no limits on the part of the material. Each pipe is an unmistakably unique and bears the signature of its creator individual hand. To conclude the work of the pipe carving dipped the bowl into boiling wax. Why? More on that later.

Smoke features and benefits of a meerschaum pipe

The fine pores of the meerschaum can not be seen with the naked eye, but do be very useful while smoking his pipe: They suck the excess condensate in the bowl and allow full smoking pleasure even without filters. After prolonged use, a meerschaum pipe is slowly beginning to change color. The initial radiant white gets a light beige ivory, which can to develop into a strong yellow-brown gradually.

In this process, in the last paragraph mentioned wax treatment takes effect: The condensates recorded from meerschaum be integrated using the wax coating in the material and cause aesthetic discolouration. So every meerschaum pipe not only the personality of the pipe carver reflects, but also bears the signature of their individual smoker. Unlike their wooden counterparts a pipe from meerschaum should not be smoking.

From the first light up, the bowl up to the top are filled with tobacco. In addition, the heat resistance of the material prevents the dreaded in pipe smokers blowing the whistle. Finally, it should be mentioned that meerschaum pipes are lightweight. They can be easily smoked freehand without exerting lips or jaw muscles excessively. Pipe smokers heart, what more do you want?

The maintenance of a meerschaum pipe

Some things should be considered in the care of a meerschaum pipe: The high absorbency of the material causes a temporary softening during smoking. Before you brush your whistle, you should give her sufficient time to cool. Otherwise you run the risk of the interior of the pipe head with the metal of the pipe cutlery damaging. Even when flicking the ashes they should Proceed with caution.

Although Meerschaum pipes are not as sensitive as clay pipes, but still have a certain brittleness and thus fragility. Otherwise, a meerschaum pipe is a simple smoke machine that will last for generations with proper treatment.

Meerschaum pipes of A.P. Donovan

After a few efforts, it is A.P. Donovan finally managed to establish contact with a traditional Turkish pipe carving. According to our claim to offer you only the highest quality products, we have added to our selection now an exclusive range of hand-carved pipes. Each of the artistically sophisticated whistling arose in handcrafted with great attention to detail.

With the acquisition of a meerschaum pipe from A.P. DonovanYou follow in the footsteps of large pipe smoker for the past three centuries and prove once again: style can not be bought; one can only underline it with the right accessories.