Tag Archives: Fred Bass article

Waxing Meerschaums


Blog by Fred Bass

This is another short piece that Fred Bass wrote on waxing Meers. Once again this was saved on my hard drive. I am glad that Fred sent me these pieces and that I can now pass them on through rebornpipes. — Steve

I’m not sure how the wax functions to color Meerschaums, but I do know that coloring a Pipe requires wax, tobacco & heat. The Meerschaums that I’ve seen in the advanced stages of coloring get a sticky surface, especially while being smoked. It’s as if the Block is near total saturation and cannot contain the by-products of smoking as efficiently as new Block, so these resins & moisture migrate past the Pipe’s surface. I remember seeing older Pipe smokers in Pipe & Cigar shops having to smoke their Meerschaums while being held with a cloth, to catch the ooze that was fairly dripping from deep brown colored Meerschaums. That was years ago, when I was called “Kid.”

True Lattice Pipes (ones that allow light to pass thru the ‘windows’ are demonstrations of the Artisan’s high level of skill. They are functional art! I suspect that much of the same skills and technique are used in Figurals that are undercut so that light can pass thru the details of the carving. Admittedly, I’m drawn to the display of Patina these Pipes produce as they are smoked. Rewaxing presents more of a challenge, which I address by using the most refined Bee’s wax I can get (for better absorption) and only in sparing amounts. What I’ve discovered by doing this, is that it’s important to err on the side of caution… Better to use too little an amount of wax, than too much. This allows me to better gage how much wax the Pipe will absorb in a single application. I have better control of this if I paint molten wax onto the Pipe rather than immersion in a liquid wax bath. The key is not to get in a hurry.

The undercut Lattice Meerschaum is truly a reflection of the Carver’s skill and art! Most likely, the discussion of rewaxing them has been going on for as long as they have been smoked. I appreciate the knowledge and experience of Deniz on this topic. The literature does not make a distinction between Lattice and undercut Lattice (or undercut Figurals for that matter) when discussing rewaxing. In the Spring ’03 issue of P&T, Rick Newcombe’s article (How to Color Your Meerschaum Pipe: A Quicker Method Explored) rewaxing is discussed. His 3 points are: 1 – smoke the Pipe; 2- blow smoke on the Pipe and 3- melt beeswax into the Meerschaum. The method, of daubing melted wax onto the Pipe & then using a hair dryer or heat gun to melt the excess off, Rick credits to Beth Sermet of SMS Meerschaums. The Pipe shown in the pictorial displays is a Lattice, but it is not undercut. One thing that Rick does not mention, is that the bit & connector should be removed prior the application of the heat to avoid damage to them. The Pipe’s newly acquired color that results is likely to fade, but with repeated smoking, additional rewaxing and time the color will become permanent. It is possible to crack a Meerschaum with heat, if there are unseen flaws in the Block, but I’ve not experienced this or read of it from others.

Another method was employed by Sailorman Jack. He would rub highly refined beeswax on his Meerschaums while smoking them. This would melt the wax & promote absorption by using the heat of the Pipe created by smoking. I’m not aware if he made a distinction in this method when coloring true Lattice Pipes. The discussion of rewaxing will continue for as long as there are Pipesters that smoke Meerschaum Pipes. It’s an interesting topic, but should not become more important than the main event of actually smoking the Meerschaum. I enjoy looking at Meerschaum art as much as anyone, but I enjoy smoking them more.

I’ve found that quilter’s use high grade Beeswax to give their thread strength, so a fabric store is a good resource. Regarding your question: “Is it better to use 100% beeswax?,” it all depends on what you want to do. This is an area of the Meerschaum crafts that is most guarded by Carvers. Additives can be tallow, different grades of Beeswax, whale oil, lacquers, solvents and pigments. If you find out anything in this part of the arts, I suspect that I’m not alone in wanting to know more. I’ve even seen fire used, for effect. Either suspending a Meerschaum above a fire or wrapping the Pipe’s bowl in wax soaked rags & setting it on fire are done for effect.

What has worked well for me is to wax the Pipe while it’s being smoked. The wax will absorb according to the porosity of the Block and will stop when saturation has been achieved. The excess will wipe off with a clean cotton cloth and will enhance the gloss of the finish. This combination of wax, heat and the by-products of combustion that accumulate within the Block all work together over time to color the Pipe. The amount of wax absorbed by the Block is proportional to it’s porosity. Some Pipes will take a large amount of wax and others will take only a bit at a time. The length of time that the Pipe’s been smoked is also a factor. When I’ve applied wax to Pipes that have been in long service, with little attention paid to waxing, the coloring is darker with wax application & tends to persist for longer periods of time, eventually resolving into a darker color that is permanent. The quality of Block is the most important factor in this waxing for color technique, but other factors that will influence the result are also to be considered. The Pipe’s shape, size & mass present variables to coloration. I’ve read where Cavendish Tobaks will color a Meerschaum faster, due to the high content of oils. I cannot speak to this, as I prefer to smoke Tobaks that I enjoy, which do not generally include Cavendish blends. For me, the smoking experience that the Meerschaum affords is most desirable, while the coloring is secondary. Another factor will be the ambient air temperature. It seems that the Meerschaum breathes more efficiently on warmer days. On colder days, the Pipe’s surface will cool faster and this seems to slow down the absorptive qualities. Indeed, I’ve read of one Pipester’s experience of smoking his Meerschaum from start to finish in subzero temperature, which resulted in the Pipe’s color turn to a mottled grey. In general, it seems that the combination of wax, heat and the by-products of smoking the Pipe lead to coloration, over time. Maintaining a clean surface on the Pipe also seems to matter. The waxing serves to protect the Pipe’s surface, in addition to being a factor in coloration. It has been years since I’ve used the CAO Antiquing Compound, but from what I remember, it was a Beeswax. It may have had other additives or not.

The technique of hot wax application to a Pipe, followed by melting off the excess with a heat source, is one I employ less frequently. It’s just much easier & convenient for me to wax the Pipe as I smoke it. This practice of cold wax application also afford opportunity to finish it even after the Pipe has cooled following a smoke. Sometimes, the Pipe’s finish will be a bit rough, as it has absorbed all of the wax applied to it, leaving the surface unprotected & textured, like the inside of a bowl of an unsmoked Meerschaum. I’ll go ahead and apply more wax to the Pipe and then follow by buffing it with a white cotton cloth. The variations of waxing Meerschaums by the Pipe smoker are many. There are most likely as many technique styles as there are Pipesters. It is an area where individual preference and creativity combine with experience to result in habit. It has been the topic of discussion, for centuries, wherever Meerschaums are smoked. The goals of the Pipester differ from those of the Carver. While the Carver employs Beeswax for product quality, the Pipester uses it for coloration and protection of the patina. I cannot speak to the Carver goals of using signature wax finishes for effect, as I have little understanding of this part of the art. I can speak to the Pipester, from my own experiences… I say, smoke the Pipe & wax as you wish. Let the course of nature proceed over time, but enjoy the smoke while you wait.

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Meerschaum Care and Cleaning


Blog by Fred Bass

This article is a combination of various posts and emails that Fred wrote on the topic. He combined them into this piece and sent it to me for safe keeping. With his death I think it is important to make this articles available to the community. — Steve

For me, I believe that Steve has hit upon the root of the issue in regards to an earthy taste. To deliver a smoke’s full potential, a clean pipe is best. Before I smoke a new Meerschaum, I clean it with Everclear, a shank brush and pipe cleaners. There will be a lot of dust in the pipe from the milling of both the block and the bit, if it is hand cut. The first few smokes will burn off the wax. Many find this brief period not to their liking. This same event occurs after a pipe has been rewaxed. I guess I’ve done it so many times that it no longer bothers me.

The next part to this issue is to follow up every smoke with the proper cleaning. By doing this, I have no need to dedicate a pipe to a blend as I experience little to no taste carry over. It is best to be diligent in preventing any cake build up. A sharp, blunt tipped knife is best used to scrape this off. This is just the opposite of Briar pipes, where cake build up is good. The problem is that Meerschaums will develop a black tar like plaque that can impart a bitter taste to the smoke. There is much difference of opinion on the points I’ve touched on. I can only speak to what works for me. My observations suggest that by keeping the Meer clean, you stand a better chance of having the by products of combustion contribute to the coloring that many Pipesters seek with their Meers. When I reclaim an estate Meer that has been abused, it takes several cleanings between smokes for the pipe to flush itself and finally deliver the best smoking experience. The pipe is a filter. Like any other filter, it can become saturated and not be able to function effectively.

Again, I do not consider myself an authority on Meerschaum pipes. I’m as much a student as the next… All I can offer are my own observations and experiences. To this end, I hope that this helps other Pipesters, so that some benefit may be gained.

Back in my undergraduate days, I saw a pipe in the window of a luggage shop that I just could not get out of my mind. It was an Andreas Bauer from Turkey, after A. Koncak acquired the trademark. It was a simple Smooth Bent Paneled Block Meerschaum that had the lines of the paneled bowl continue into the Amberite plastic bit. It was the first pipe I’d seen with the Delrin mortise-tenon push/pull joint and came in it’s own fitted leather case. Before this my only other Meer had come in a cardboard box. This was no holds barred PAD, so I saved up my $40.00 and caved in.

Things soon started to go wrong. I dropped it. This resulted in a few nicks in the block’s surface, which I thought as obvious as a train wreck, but others did not seem to notice. Not having much experience with Meerschaum, I proceeded to char the rim to where it might seem that a booster rocket had been used to light it. Down at the local pub, things got spilled on it and it seemed like every drunk that came in just had to pick it up when I had it resting in it’s case. Matters got so bad that I became ashamed of how the pipe looked, so I put it in a drawer for many years.

A couple of years ago, I decided that I would put the lessons I’d learned to good use with the resurrection of this pipe. It has been a slow process, involving much Everclear, a shank brush, more than a few pipe cleaners and the patience to repeat the process until the old ghost of blends I’d just as soon forget were exorcised. This did not help the finish nearly as much as the pipe’s smoke. Today, for the second and hopefully the last time, I took the block to task with 600 grit wet sanding in Everclear followed by a rewaxing using Halcyon II. It is starting to look passable. It will never return to it’s original state but it is no longer a pipe I keep in a drawer. With enough time and determination, even an abused pipe can regain some of it’s radiance. Just don’t beat it up too bad.

It is very interesting to read about the use of Murphys oil soap in restoration of a Meerschaum. One of the things I enjoy about pipesters is the ingenuity and diversity of problem solving methods. I guess that my approach is more of an ‘old school’ technique… I use Everclear for both routine maintenance & cleaning. In restoration, I’ve experienced positive results using it on the exterior surfaces. Where serious abuse has left a Meer with rim burn and other finish problems, Everclear used with fine grit wet/dry sandpaper will get results. Even if it looks as though Grandad used a space shuttle liftoff to light up with, with a little time it will resolve. After the cleaning, I’ll use Halcyon II. It does not have the durability of Bee’s Wax but is much easier to buff, so I will do my maintenance in a more timely way. For cake buildup, I use a sharp, blunt tipped knife and scrape it down to the stone surface. For restoration, the use of Everclear, a shank brush and lots of pipe cleaners will help flush the pipe. It may take 6 to 12 cleanings after every smoke to help the Meer unload old ghosts, but it will happen. Restoration of estate Meers is more of a labor of love than anything else. It takes time and effort. In addition to the use of paper shims to correct an overturned bit, I’ve used clear finger nail polish with good results. Some of my older Meers have a Kaywoodie type metal screw joint. A sparing application of clear nail polish, left to dry for a couple of days with the bit in the desired rotation will form a temporary bond that will last for awhile before becoming necessary to repeat. I hope these observations serve to provide good information to pipesters.

These paragraphs offer information on this topic of care and is by no means exhaustive. As we evolve, so does our knowledge & while some things we do remain the same, some things will change. There is plenty of room here for diversity, and it is welcome.

 

Flow Dynamics in Meerschaum Coloring – A Theory


Blog by Fred Bass

Here is another reflective piece by Fred Bass that I had in the files saved on my computer. I think it is time to resurrect this discussion. Anyone with contributions, thoughts or comments please note them below… thanks. – Steve

I’ve been giving some thought to the issues of flow dynamics as they relate to Meerschaum coloring. With little else but the most rudimentary exposure to scientific thought on flow principles long ago, my grasp of this concept is weak. Still, it seems a topic of interest to both myself and others. I offer these thoughts in the hopes that others will take some interest. The combination of burning tobacco and beeswax cause Meerschaums to color over time. OK, so what’s going on? It seems that heat will cause the wax to migrate into the Block. Continued heating/cooling cycles will cause the wax to migrate in a progressive manner, but at some point, the wax evaporates. This process works like a wick to the by-products of tobacco combustion and draws them into the Block, where they accumulate, in a progressive result of color, that changes character over time. If I understand it, this is the process that results in the patina that Meerschaum smokers prize. Is this what’s going on? Do I have a cogent theory in this line of thought?

An interesting observation to add to this is that Meerschaums that have been smoked for long periods of time, without rewaxing, may not demonstrate a well developed patina. When such a Pipe is rewaxed, it will quickly display colors. Like all coloring in Meerschaums, the repetition of rewaxing in concert with smoking the Pipe, will eventually produce coloring that does not quickly fade.

I believe that I’ve addressed the path of wax dissipation. Continued heating/cooling cycles will cause the wax to migrate in a progressive manner, but at some point, the wax evaporates. This process may account for wax loss, but certainly some will also be lost to friction on the Pipe’s surface. I’ve not taken any additives that the Carver may choose to mix in with the wax or the porosity of the Block into account.

Smoke from the tobacco smoking is giving the brown color, that is certainly a factor. The heat and the moisture of the tobacco are also involved. The Pipe’s shank usually starts to color first, as it is the site of major condensation via cooling, of the tobacco being smoked.

I agree that the wax protects the outer surface of the Pipe, which is not to say that it doesn’t migrate into the Block. As I understand it, the Carver blocks off the Pipe’s draft & the bowl, so that the wax does not get into the Pipe, but this is done to avoid having the first few smokes taste like burning wax. I also agree with you about the wax not being the coloring agent for the Block, but instead, it serves to wick the by-products of the smoke along it’s migration routes. The point that has me stumped, is the quick color shown by waxing Pipes that have not been rewaxed, but have been smoked. This suggests that some part (or all) of the nicotine, tars & moisture are already in the Block from smoking, but do not display this coloring as fast, if left without rewaxing. Even if the wax’s role is to wick and protect, how does it contribute to the Pipe’s color. Your idea of the wax serving to seal the Block from loss of these smoke by-products may be a demonstration of this idea. It is an interesting puzzle.

I’ve been turning this bit of a puzzle over in my mind, as it seems that it will not let me rest. Perhaps the wax, the heat and the burning tobaccos also interact chemically. This would explain how rewaxing a Pipe, that has been smoked for a long period of time, will produce coloring with a rapid permanence more dramatically than a Pipe that has been smoked less that has been rewaxed. It is also quite possible that the Meerschaum itself plays a part in this chemical interaction. I suspect that this has all been thought of before, and tested by Carvers. Such knowledge would enable a Carver’s work to stand apart from the competition, and not likely to be widely known, as with anything in the Meerschaum trades. So much is lost to us in the guarded history of the Carver’s art. 😉

Reflections on Turkish Block Acquisition


Blog by Fred Bass

The following was an article that Fred Bass sent me to hold in my files for him. The idea was that he was going to use it some time in the near future for a book he was working on Meerschaum pipes. Sadly that book was not completed to my understanding. It is an interesting short article that also became the base of a discussion on Smoker’s Forum All thing meerschaum group. RIP Fred, you are missed. Give the article a read!

February 1, 2009

This is about general considerations that have served me in decisions about purchases. It’s not an exhaustive guide, but more a line of thought brought by Buyer’s experience in the Meerschaum trades. I buy Pipes to smoke, so I don’t buy antiques.

I’ll start with new Turkish Block Pipes. Going from the starting point of looking at the works of favored Carvers, I’ll look at Pipes until one calls me. The best Carvers use the best block, which is the most important point of judging a Pipe’s quality. High grade Turkish Meerschaum is light in weight, is very porous, has no inclusions or deficits and has a pearl like translucent quality. It does not look like chalk. High grade Block will provide a cool and dry smoke, in addition to coloring well. Lesser grades will produce smoking experiences of less quality…, which is not to say that this is bad since a cheapie Meer will provide a better smoke than many other materials.

You are more likely to encounter Pressed Meerschaum (a composite of Meerschaum chips & epoxy) with No Name Meers and products of disreputable Carvers & Name Brands. High Grade Carver specific Pipes cost more, but you will have a Pipe that the Carver will take care of, should anything go wrong. This is an important consideration since Meerschaum is a product of nature and can possess flaws that become noticed only after the Pipe is smoked. These are Pipes that mean less to the Carver than the importance of his reputation, so you get a Pipe that is the best the Carver can produce. Bad news travels fast and reputation is everything in this cottage industry.

Other considerations, such as size, artistic merit and how well the Pipe fits into your world are worth consideration. The established Carvers will want premium price for their work, but there is never a question of quality. It’s a good idea to confirm that the picture you see is that of the Pipe that you want and whether a Case exists or is yet to be made. If the Pipe & Case are yet to be made, then determine how long it will take to be shipped to you. These same issues are best understood by both Buyer & Seller on commissioned Pipes as well. You can establish the quality of the Block and the color & material of the bit prior to payment.

When I’m evaluating a Pipe from an upcoming Carver, an estate Pipe or from a Retailer that I’ve not dealt with before, I first try to establish dialogue. No dialogue, no deal. If the estate Pipe Seller has little knowledge about his/her Pipe, I’ll still try and get information on the Pipe’s condition, type of connector joint and dimensions. The estate Seller should discuss the Pipe in the pre-sale encounter or I don’t bid. Sometimes, I discover that the Seller doesn’t know that the Pipe is a fraud, which is frequently the case with ‘Andreas Bauer’ and ‘Paul Fischer’ Pipes, in my experience. If you watch the Meerschaum markets, you will find promising Carvers who have yet to become well known. These Carvers will discuss their art with you and the prices can be very reasonable, as many will have just severed ties with Retailers and have started selling direct to Buyers. If there is something that you don’t see, then ask questions. Since I buy Meerschaums from the internet,

I ask a lot of questions. If the photos are poor quality and/or the Seller’s not answering your questions, then don’t put the coin down. I’ve touched on some of the major considerations involved in my own experiences, which are not offered as expert information. Instead, I’ve started this dialogue for all to share and participate in. I know little about the Antique market and just a bit about the African Block Pipes.

Another aspect of purchasing new Meerschaum Pipes, where some real bargains can be found, is the upcoming source of new Carvers. These are artisans that have been selling to Retailers and have established a degree of excellence, that promises to continue improving with time. At some point, they decide to break out on their own and start selling direct. They are trying to create a name for themselves and will use top quality Block as they attempt to establish a reputation with their art. The Pipes that are posted for sale will be the best effort that the Carver can produce and the prices will be lower, as there is no middleman to pay. Customer satisfaction will be the primary concern for these Carvers as they attempt to increase their market. This is a good time to get in on the action, since in time, as their work becomes more widely acknowledged for it’s superior quality, the prices will increase. This market is apparent to those who follow the Meerschaum trades. For the inexperienced, it is best to seek direction from more seasoned Pipesters and those that have access to the current markets. If you know what to look for, you can find some outstanding quality Pipes that appeal to your individual tastes, at very reasonable prices.

The Estate Meerschaum market is related to this in many ways, but there are differences. The first consideration that should be taken into account is the Pipe’s condition, and how much $$ it will cost to bring it into a smokable condition. This is not about Antiques, as they are more for Collectors than they are for those who buy Pipes to smoke. You should consider the cost of repair as the hidden total cost of the Pipe. If repairs have already been done on the Pipe, are they professional quality (?) and are they effective (?) are questions you should find out prior to purchase. Does the Seller know the Pipe’s legacy. Is the Pipe indeed what the brand designation on the case claims it to be, or is it a mediocre Pipe that has been put in a case of known reputation, in order to sell it for a higher price? If your plan is to continue to develop the Pipe’s Patina, does it look like the Pipe has been taken care of or did Uncle Charley use a blow torch to light it? Abused Meerschaums can be brought back to part of their former glory, but this takes time and the Patina is the most difficult to preserve and/or restore.

These are the basics, but by no means are they the whole story of either the Estate market or the newly initiated Carver direct seller. It is a good start on these issues and leaves room for the contributions of others, which is welcome.

Drawn To the Fire


By Fred Bass

In chatting with  a fellow who knew Fred and love the meerschaum pipe as much as Fred I learned that he is no longer living. I have missed the conversations and phone calls that we had in the past. I have not been able to get in touch with him by phone or email so I had figured he was gone but today I learned that what I figured was true. I have a few articles that Fred wrote over the years and will be posting them in the days ahead. Rest in Peace my friend…Steve

Yes, these Meerschaum Pipes have smoking qualities that set them apart from the other choices available to the Pipe smoker. Yes, they present differently in appearance and often in shape than their counterparts of Briar. Beyond the obvious, what is it that leads us to choose Meerschaums to smoke? Is there something about a Meerschaum Pipe smoker that is different from those of the more common smoker of Briar? What is it that brings us to kindle a fire time after time in these stone Pipes?

In the same easy rolling manner as Chuck Berry’s Blues slide guitar on Run Around, this old Paul Fischer OomPaul Meerschaum of mine delivers satisfaction and a deepening desire for more experience with its charms. From before the days of the Meerschaum Pipe smoking Zaporozhian Cossacks, these Pipes have held favor with those fortunate enough to acquire and smoke them… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reply_of_the_Zaporozhian_Cossacks
Dug from the clay depths of the earth, they draw us to that moment of union of fire and tobacco where words fail. There is a sense of deep contentment that I still have yet to fully understand after these years of smoking blends in these White Pipes. I don’t understand it, but I’m attracted to them.

I’ve been drawn to Meerschaums and have been, for as long I can remember. There are many reasons, some of them I know, but many of them remain a mystery, even to me. The first of these is of a philosophical nature. It is the concept of change. Meerschaums change patterns and hues as we smoke them … just as we evolve as people. So, as we grow and our lives cycle through the good times and the blues, our Meerschaums mark the times with their own evolution in a snapshot of a time and place. Our lives are never static, and our Meerschaums do not stay the same…, like us. As I give them lessons of fire and tobacco, they continue to take me to school, and reward my efforts with sublime experience. Across time and place in the world, I enjoy an esoteric connection with people I will never meet, who’ve shared this same experience in the privacy of the soul. This is the nature of small fires of sacrifice to The White Goddess. She waits for me by the rocking chair on the shores of a sea of life’s complexity. It’s a quiet moment of peace & contentment that I know others have found throughout the centuries of people who smoke these White Pipes. Like the coy maiden, she shares the emergent bloom of her being with a familiarity that time brings. Joaquin Verdanguer expressed it as the “Pipe smoking the Pipe Smoker” in The Art of Pipe Smoking,which is an amusing collection of short essays and thoughts that were likely originally written on the back of a wine list. As history demonstrates, the current generation finds the Meerschaum Pipeman abstract and non-viable. The students who follow after us will learn of the resource we’ve found. Public interest is a capricious event that can skip a generation. There are no traffic jams on the road to knowledge. It’s our fate to be left to accept that we have provided a path for those who will share the fire…, most of whom will seek our counsel after we have turned to dust. Still, I’m happy with the moment when fire kindles tobacco in my Meerschaum. It is sanctuary.

There is the sense of time long past in Meerschaum. It takes ages, measured in geologic time for the Block to be created in the depths of the earth. In the deeper mines, it is the high grade Sepiolite that the miner seeks, using basic tools in the search for these treasures in the clay. These methods are the daily gamble used to find the best Block. Luck plays a big part in these long hours of difficult work under primitive conditions. This is where these Pipes find their beginning. This is the difficult harvest that men have been toiling over for centuries to bring this gift of the earth to the Carvers who create beautiful Meerschaums. I have a deep sense of gratitude for being one of those fortunate enough to enjoy this functional art. It is the inspiration of the Carver that transforms these lumps of raw Block into the array of sizes and shapes of Pipes that make up the Meerschaum world. When I can connect to the passion of the Carver’s craft, I’m drawn to the Pipe. Once this happens it’s only a matter of time before I cave in to the desire that only acquisition can satisfy, with a few reservations for the quality of Block used and the craftsmanship in finish and performance. Because of the paucity of my budget, I buy Meerschaums to smoke and must be content to view the larger works as an admirer instead of a patron. If my budget was larger, then my modest collection would include some of these magnificent display Pipes.

It is a curious thing to me, to find these Pipes of such allure and peaceful charm that emerge from the strife and conflict of that part of the world where opposition is the accepted order. Can it be the message from the earth that peace and harmony is a better way? It is food for thought. These Pipes take the heat of the fire and use it to deliver cool and dry smoking pleasures to me, just as I take what life brings to me and make the best I can of it. There’s a sense of synchronicity to this. A good Meerschaum should and often will have more than one owner in its life of service. Some of the Meerschaums in my collection are over 100 years old and continue to provide functional and visual pleasures. I don’t know the names of the people who smoked these estate Pipes before I acquired them, but I do know the pleasures they enjoyed. These pipes are time travelers that link generations of Pipe smokers and admirers. I enjoy being a part of this. Unsmoked estates are prized, but I have no intention of depriving myself of the pleasure that comes from smoking these Meerschaums, so I smoke all of my Pipes. Just as an unsmoked Meerschaum has no stories to tell, I can only guess at those who deny themselves this pleasure. Why not join me in the pleasures of the White Goddess and have a smoke!