Refurbed a Tanganyika Meerschaum Prince

Blog by Steve Laug

This morning I got around to cleaning up another one of the pipes I found on my trip – a little Tanganyika Meerschaum prince. The stampings on the pipe were simple, only a shape number that looked like a 27 on the underside of the shank and the block letters Tanganyika on the underside of the stem. The star logo on the left side of the stem is different from the typical elephant, giraffe or running man, which have come to be associated with Tanganyika Meerschaums. I wanted to see what I could find out about the little pipe so I did a search on Pipedia and was able to find some information on the pipes made from Meerschaum that was mined there. The following is a synopsis of the article found there.

Kiko, meaning “pipe” in Swahili-Kiswahili to English translation, is probably the best known of the various brands of meerschaum pipes from there. In East Africa Meerschaum is found in Tanganyika, once known as German East Africa, and since 1964 part of the United Republic of Tanzania. The main deposit comes from the Amboseli basin surrounding the Lake Amboseli. Tanganyika Meerschaum is normally stained in shades of brown, black and yellow, and is considered to be inferior to Meerschaum from Turkey. Even though, the raw material is mined by the Tanganyika Meerschaum Corporation and to a large extent used for pipe making. Uncounted pipe makers throughout the world were supplied with Amboseli Meerschaum, preferentially used for Meerschaum lined briars or leather-clad pipes. In Tanganyika the Kilimanjaro Pipe Company Ltd. produced the following brands: Caveman, Countryman (Elephant logo), Kiko (Elephant logo), Kikob (Elephant logo), Kilimanjaro (Rhinoceros logo), Kudu (Giraffe Logo), Makonde (Rhinoceros logo), Merlin (Flying bird or Antelope logo), Sportsman (Elephant logo), Tembo, Townsman, Twiga (Giraffe Logo), White elephant (Elephant logo)

This little prince I had was dirty and there was a screen contraption in the bottom of the bowl. It did not smell of anything other than strong Lakeland style tobacco so I am guessing this was a contraption to keep the bowl from getting moist in the bottom. Not sure about that however. The exterior was dirty and had sticky gum on it from the sales label. The rim top and down the top edges of the bowl had been darkened prior to smoking to give it a classic aged look like the pictures below.
Kiko meers

The top of the rim was darkened as were the edges when it left the factory. In this case they were spotty and uneven. The bowl had a slight build up of cake. The shank was dirty with tars but smelled strongly of tobacco. The stem was slightly oxidized and also very dirty inside and out. The metal screw in tenon was dirty and had tarry buildup on the threads. The stem was slightly overturned.




I used a dental pick to pry the screen ball from the bottom of the bowl. It had been squashed into shape and the top indented to mirror the bottom of the bowl. The side of the screen had been opened toward the airway in the bowl bottom as well to facilitate smoke getting through. I wiped down the exterior of the bowl with alcohol dampened cotton pad to remove the grime and the buildup of gum on the stem and the bowl.



I sanded the meerschaum bowl with 1500 and 1800 grit micromesh sanding pads and then buffed the bowl with Tripoli and White Diamond to get a shine on the meerschaum.


I cleaned out the shank and the bowl as well as the stem with pipe cleaners and cotton swabs dipped in Everclear. I kept cleaning until the pipe cleaners came out clean and unstained.

Once finished with the inside I sanded the outside of the stem with a medium grit sanding sponge and then wipe it down with Meguair’s Scratch X2.0 on a cotton pad. Then I sanded the stem with micromesh sanding pads from 1500 – 12,000 grit. I wet sanded the stem with the 1500-2400 grits and then dry sanded with the remaining grits.



I then buffed the stem and bowl with White Diamond on the buffing wheel. The four pictures below show the finished pipe. In the fifth picture, I decided to sand the rim down some more before finishing and then stained it with a dark brown aniline stain to get the darkened look back to the pipe edges and rim. When I had finished that I flamed it and restained until it was as dark as I could get it and then I buffed it again with White Diamond and coated the stem with carnauba wax and the bowl with a beeswax mixture.






3 thoughts on “Refurbed a Tanganyika Meerschaum Prince

    1. rebornpipes Post author

      I don’t pick up many meers as they are not generally on my list. But like you I don’t recall seeing a Prince shaped one before so I picked it up. Plus it is good practice to clean and restore a meer.

  1. Dave

    Nice job on this little Meer. Thanks for sharing your techniques for refurbishing a dirty Meer. I’m sure they will come in handy in the future.


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