Corncob Pipe and a Button Nose
If you’ve ever wondered where Frosty the Snowman might have got his corncob pipe, fear not: IT has the answer.
The Missouri Meerschaum Company is the world’s largest and oldest manufacturer of corncob pipes. Meerschaum has been making Frosty’s famous pipes in Washington, Missouri, since 1869. The company was founded by Dutch immigrant Henry Tibbe. According to legend,
a local farmer whittled a pipe of of corncob and liked it so much he asked Henry Tibbe to try turning some on his lathe. The farmer was well-pleased with his pipes so Henry made a few more and put them for sale in his shop. They proved to be such a fast-selling item that soon Tibbe spent more time making pipes for his customers than working with wood.
By 1925, there were a handful of other corncob pipe manufacturers in Franklin County, but Meerschaum is the only factory that still exists today. The three-story factory is located on the Missouri River on the corner of Front and Cedar Streets, one block from the Amtrak station in downtown Washington. Take a train from St. Louis, or drive 45 minutes west of the city. Check out the museum (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) and buy a pipe of your own.
Photo: Missouri Meerschaum Company
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