A Smokin' Time
(Page 4 of 4)
The pipe stems are the next step, and they come from all over the world. Mostly, Missouri Meerschaum uses dowels, purchased from eastern vendors, who drill the different size dowels and ship them to the Missouri company. 'The dowel companies are based back East because a long time ago, when they used water power, the companies set up along the river banks there. Now, they've converted of course, but the companies stayed where they were,' Mike says. 'We also import some bamboo from the Philippines.' All the pipe stems are printed with ink so that they appear to be made of cob.
The last steps are fitting a molded mouthpiece (the ferrule) on the end of the pipe stem; patching any irregularities on the outside of the cob; and placing labels on the finished pipes.
At the end of the day, when all is said and done, the 132-plus-year-old company is still going strong. The battles with the 'progress' of corn have been overcome; the universal red tape battles have quieted for the moment. According to Ed Murphy, there's one reason for the success of Missouri Meerschaum.
'The key is the same-core business. Some companies branch out into different things, get spread out. We've stayed the same, and we're in our 132nd year.'
Ed Murphy can be contacted at the Missouri Meerschaum Pipe Company, 400 W. Front St., Washington, MO 63090; (800)-888-2109.
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