Recently I placed and online order with Missouri Meerschaum (MM from here on) Company in Washington MO. for a grab bag of their smokable seconds, ten pipes for 33.99 plus shipping. Once you add on shipping at $13.00 and exchange at $0.35/dollar, (I’m in Canada) the total comes to $63.44 CAD. This is a great deal, you get ten pipes for $6.34 each. Cobs are one of the cheapest pipes to buy in Canada and they cost around $10 each plus taxes,(for the least expensive ones) so right off the bat you can see that I made out well saving $49.56 in retail costs.
I received pipes that come from four different MM lines, Legend, Missouri Pride, MacArthur Classic and finally the Dagner Poker. I have gone through the pipes and have inspected them closely, and frankly with the exception of five of these pipes, I don’t see why they were sold as seconds. Since I received seven of Legends, I will start with these. I received at least one example of each bowl shape available for this line.
Here’s the list:
- Flat x 1 straight
- 5th Avenue x 2 straight
- 5th Avenue x 1 bent
- Rob Roy x 2 straight
- Rob Roy x 1 bent
For these pipes, the only defects I noticed were on one of the straight 5th Avenue, and one straight Rob Roy. On both of these pipes I can see where the plaster of Paris, (that MM uses to fill the outside of the cob where the corn used to be) was not applied properly. This leads to a rougher feeling pipe, but likely not any less functional.
Next we are going to talk about the Missouri Pride. Near as I can tell there is a small dent on the front of this pipe that classified it as a second, every thing else on this natural cob is flawless. This is the first natural corn cob pipe that I have had, the others I already one plus the other nine in this bag are polished smooth. The unprocessed cob gives the pipe a rough feel, one that I don’t particularly care for, so it will likely sit until I have smoke through all for the cobs I am keeping and already own. One possibly saving grace for this pipe, is that because it isn’t a polished pipe it may be cooler in the hand due to the extra air in between your hand and the tobacco chamber, but it will be a while before I test that theory out.
Now on to my second favourite pipe in this lot, the MacArthur Classic Corn Cob. I figure I know what made this bad boy a second. This is the polished, bent MacArthur. It had two flaws, one not so obvious and one glaring. The glaring flaw on this pipe was it’s stem. The MacArthur line from MM all have the same trade mark long stem that the pipe that was partially designed by Gen. MacArthur had, but this one has one of the standard MM non filtered stems, thus taking away from the classic design and rendering it a second. The other flaw was in the stem itself not being drilled properly. I tested the draw on each pipe, just to make sure they were indeed smokable. When it came to this pipe, I found no draw at all. With a little investigation, I was able to determine the problem and with some minor work on my part, fix the pipe so it can be smoked. It may not have the long stem of the true MacArthur Line, but it still looks good.
Time for the grand finally of this ten pipe grab bag, one Dagner Poker. This is a sitting pipe that looks elegant and has a good draw. While I don’t know if it’s a great smoker yet, the looks on this pipe makes it number one in my mind. If you take the time to go to the MM website you can see what the retail product looks like, you will notice that this unfiltered pipe has a small black stem and bit, which is accented by a nickle band where the tenon is fitted into the shank. This pipe is marketed as a pocket pipe with a full size bowl, but the one I received has a regular sized MM stem and bit. That makes this a full sized pipe, which makes no difference to me, but may be one of the things that made this a second. One this that would definitely put this poker in the seconds category is the nickle ring, the one that came on my pipe is visibly scratched. The play in the ring allowed me to turn it so the scratches are facing down and not readily visible to the eye. The third and final issue that made this a second, the tobacco chamber is not bored straight. There seems to have been a speed wobble on the drill used, because while the hole in the chamber is dead centre, the hard wood plug, (which is standard in all MM premium pipes), is off. All in all a good looking pipe, even if it is a second.
All in all, if your a pipe smoker and want to build a rotation quickly, spend the money on the smokable seconds grab bag from MM. You will get a ten pipe rotation for a very cheap price, and truth be told, as long as you care for a cob properly they can last. My very first pipe was a cob. I bought it four years ago and it is still in use today with plenty of life left to it.