Meerschaum pipes fascinate me. The relatively soft solid meerschaum (magnesium silicate) lends itself well to interesting carvings and artistry. Meerschaum (“sea-foam” in German) is a misnomer, innocently originated by German scientists observing the lightweight material floating on the water. Structurally meerschaum is the fossilized remains of crustaceans compressed under the sea for centuries and then mined from the earth where the sea retreated. The best quality is found in a very small area— approximately four square miles—in Eskisehir, Turkey.
Mr. Erdil Sever of Turkey and I were in business to manufacture meerschaum pipes with the local artists and market them in the U.S. and Europe. Inspired in part by my engineering background that seeks to improve upon things, through the artists we made better both the quality of the carvings and the functionality of the pipes. That is why CAO Meerschaum became a well-known name in the field.