We are proud to announce that Old Dominion corn cob and clay pipes are now part of the Missouri Meerschaum family!
Old Dominion Pipe Company, LLC was founded in 2013 by brothers Bob and Bill Savage on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
Old Dominion Pipe Company’s Story is Twofold
The first critical part of the Old Dominion Pipe Company story centers around the preservation of an heirloom Indian corn that had been grown on the Eastern Shore of the United States for over 140 years. Bill Savage discovered this heirloom Indian corn variety that was on the verge of extinction and worked to preserve this piece of American agricultural history that dates back to the 1840s.
The Virginia Planter
As part of the harvesting process, one byproduct that began to accumulate in large piles was rather thick and colorful corn cobs. Bob, an avid pipe smoker, found that he could make very simple but functional corn cob pipes from the cobs that smoked extremely well with a variety of tobacco blends and were light and easy to clench. From his own experience smoking the cobs, he began to pursue the idea of manufacturing Indian corn cob pipes with traditional bamboo stems.
Manufacturing pipes from the heirloom Indian corn cobs continued until 2016, when the decision was made to switch to the industry standard heirloom white pipe corn, developed by the Missouri pipe-making industry.
The Story’s Second Half Surrounds a Fascinating Archaeological Discovery
While metal detecting in a recently plowed field in April 2013, Bob unearthed a forged iron band that proved to be the remnants of a wooden barrel.
The Williamsburg Clay Pipe
This rather unassuming iron relic proved to be the key to unlocking a Virginia colonial plantation site with a variety of mid- to late-18th-century artifacts, including a large quantity of clay pipe bowls and stem fragments as well as the charred remnants of actual corn cobs from the 1700s.
Further excavations have revealed that this site dates back to the mid-1600s. The pipes uncovered ranged from European manufactured white clay pipes to domestically produced 17th century terra cotta (Colono) clay pipes.
With the discovery of colonial clay pipes, the Savage brothers became even more committed to their idea of not only commercially producing corn cob pipes but establishing a company that would revive traditional smoking pipes from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. Old Dominion Pipe Company is the realization of their commitment towards this goal.
Missouri Meerschaum is honored to continue the Old Dominion tradition of manufacturing quality and historically accurate pipes. We think they’ll make an excellent addition to your collection!