One thing that surprises most folks who see several corn cob pipes side by side is how much the cobs naturally vary in color and texture. The accompanying photo shows several pipe shapes and finishes, but best of all it illustrates the wide range of cob coloring.
Pipe #1 is a Smooth Egg Shaped Great Dane. This pipe features a surface which is filled with plaster of Paris and then lacquered. This is our most popular finish and is the finish that was granted a US Patent in 1878 to the founder of Missouri Meerschaum.
Pipe # 2 is a Country Gentleman. The bowl is first filled, as outlined in #1, but then it was exposed to open flame and then burnished to a smooth and polished finish. Lastly it received a coat of lacquer.
Pipe #3 is a Free Hand, which is unique in that it is the only production corn cob pipe in the USA which is still completely hand turned. This pipe has undergone the same steps as the Country Gentleman, only these steps are all done by a skilled hand.
Pipe #4 is a Smooth General, which has the same finish as pipe #1. I guess I put it in the photo mostly because I like it!
Pipe # 5 and 6 is actually the same style and finish. I told you the cobs vary! These are both Natural MacArthur pipes, which have absolutely no finish at all. # 5 is about as white a cob as I have ever seen, and #6 is quite red. Folks who smoke the a Natural Bowl often claim that they smoke cooler, which makes sense seeing that the cobs surface is a bit like the fins on a radiator.
One last point about appearance; Missouri Meerschaum originally made their stems from corn cobs, but that didn’t last for long. Cobs turned down that small had no strength, so shortly thereafter they moved on to using river reeds. This is the type of stem that Mark Twain would have found on his Missouri Meerschaum pipe. Today, if you look carefully, you’ll see that pipes #1-4 all have a wooden stem with a “cob-like” imprint. Pipes # 5 and 6 also have a wooden stem but with a “burn” mark in the center, reminiscent of the joint found on reeds or bamboo. Regardless of the stem all of our pipes feature a smooth, splinter-free plastic bit (that’s what the mouth piece of a pipe is called.) Some accommodate a filter, some do not. See the individual pipe description for this detail. www.Aristocob.com