This article is presented in partnership with Missouri Meerschaum.

Congratulations are in order for the world’s oldest and largest manufacturer of corn cob pipes! Missouri Meerschaum turns 150 this year and wants everyone to celebrate the vintage industry together with food, drinks, music, and of course, the beloved handmade pipes. 

Washington, Missouri has long been known as the “Corn Cob Pipe Capital of the World,” and you can thank Missouri Meerschaum for that. It was the first and is the last manufacturer of the sweet-smoking corn cob pipes that tobacco smokers and collectors yearn for.

People like U.S. General Douglas MacArthur and Popeye helped make the corn cob pipe famous and add to the rich history surrounding it.

Founder Henry Tibbe, a Dutch immigrant and woodworker, began creating the pipes in the 1860s. What started out as a side job quickly turned full-time because of the high demand. In the late 1870s, he and his son Anton began the H. Tibbe & Son Co. In 1907, the company became the Missouri Meerschaum Company you know today. By 1925 there were about a dozen corn cob pipe companies in Franklin County with most of them in Washington. Although the company is credited with starting the corn cob pipe tradition, it did a lot more for the community than just that. 

Henry Tibbe, his younger brother Fritz, wife Johanna, stepdaughter Margareta, and young son Anton circa 1864-5

The corn cob pipe industry and specifically Missouri Meerschaum brought the first power and light district to Washington along with the first phone system. The manufacturer of the smooth corn cob pipes are celebrating their rich history on October 11 and 12, and everyone’s invited! 

On both days, free working plant tours are offered from 9 AM to 2:30 PM where you can get a glimpse inside the manufacturing process and explore the three-story, brick building that dates back to the 1880s. The Meerschaum Museum and Retail Shoppe will also be open.

On Saturday, catch a set of live music from the local Texas Giants, grab a drink from
Pinckney Bend Distillery, and food from the Washington Lions Club. Plus, you’ll have plenty of chances to learn more about the history behind the industry all day long. 

If you’re feeling lucky and are a seasoned smoker, join the Fast Smoke Competition for a chance to win some prizes. But if you don’t feel experienced enough to join the competition, don’t worry there’s a spot for you, too. The Kansas City Pipe Club will be giving lessons on how to properly smoke a pipe and another demonstration will show a pipe tobacco blending process. 

The weekend will be full of historical context and fun ways to show your appreciation for the industry. It’s the perfect time to embrace the past with Missouri Meerschaum and learn why corn cob pipes are here to stay.