Missouri Meerschaum Corn Cob Pipe Company - Washington, MO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 38° 33.715 W 091° 00.818
15S E 673066 N 4270034
Quick Description: This factory built in four sections, am listing as one building...listed as building "2"...no letter for this one.
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 8/1/2020 4:45:23 AM
Waymark Code: WM12XCZ
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member jhuoni
Views: 0

Long Description:

County of building: Franklin County
Location of building: W. Front St. & Cedar St., SW corner, Washington
Built: 1886, 1890, 1905 & 1920
Architectural Style: Victorian Commercial - Italianate
Classified: 2
Current Occupant: Missouri Meerschaum Company
District Map

This huge factory is in fact 4 buildings built connected to each other. As the business grew, more space was needed, and this plant needed power, so the owners built electric power plants to fulfill the needs.
Today, the factory is still in full production, and on the back side (up Cedar St.) it now houses a museum.


"On original section and four attached additions comprise this three story/masonry industrial complex. The original section of the building, dated 1883, has three bays fronting Front St. by a depth of thirteen bays running parallel with Cedar St. The third story is circa 1890 addition to this building. An early photo of the original building in the Mo. Meerschaum office shows this to be a 2! story federal style building with tin pyramidal hipped roof. The original entry is now reduced by frame infill however the original opening is discernible. Windows are 2/2, double hung, sash is curved at the top. Arched brickwork appears above the doors and windows. Some Victorian style carved wooden moldings are in place above windows on the first floor facade and here sash is flat topped. Third floor windows on east elevation are flat topped sash. These window treatments are circa 1890. An additional door was added circa 1920 which accessed Cedar st. This door has a soldier's course brick lintel. A circa 1890 addition contains five bays fronting on Front st. On the interior this addition has decorative, slender cast iron posts, supporting wooden beams. This system runs the length of the addition. These supports match supports in the original section of the building. There is an entry accessing Front St. in this addition. Windows are 2/2, double hung with curved upper sash. Brick arches appear above openings. The words "Missouri Meerschaum Corn Cob Pipes" and "Missouri Meerschaum Mfg.Co. Estd. 1872" span the facade of these two buildings. This addition contains a three story maple staircase.

"A second addition, circa 1895, exists at the rear of the first addition. First addition exterior window sills face into the second addition. Interior supports consist of wooden piers on stone pads supporting wooden joists.

"A third addition, circa 1910, has nineteen bays fronting Front St. A double leaved central door with multi-paned transom above provides access to Front st. Windows are 9/9 on the first floor facade, 6/6 on the second, and 3/3 on the third floor. All are double hung with stone sills and flat tops. Soldier's course brickwork forms lintels.

"A fourth addition, circa 1920 has five bays fronting Front St. Door and window treatment are similiar [sic] to that of the third addition. A metal pipe originally entered this building from the west elevation, carrying steam from an exterior source throughout the building. This addition alone has a concrete foundation.

"Henry Tibbe worked making furniture and spinning wheels in Enschede, Holland. After a fire destroyed home and business he immigrated to the United States. In Washington, Mo. he opened a woodcraft shop circa 1868. He produced a lathe turned corn cob pipe in 1872 at 209 W. Second st. (demolished). He added plaster of Paris to increase bowl durability and smoothness and patented the process in 1878. That year he moved to a building at Jefferson and Front (demolished). In 1883 Tibbe began the first section of what is now known as the Missouri Meerschaum Pipe factory. The name Mo. Meerschaum derives from the fact that the Tibbe pipes had the same porous quality as the white, claylike mineral called meerschaum used in expensive carved pipes of that name. Tibbe incorporated under that name in 1872. Under Henry Tibbe and his son, Anton, after his death in 1896, the corn cob pipe became an international business commodity. Henry Tibbe was born 1819. he entered this country 1867 coming to Washington. MO, in 1870"
~ DNR Historic Survey   PDF page 49



"Industrial, circa 1865-1935, Coded 2 (Photos # 4, 5, 21 through 30).
The articulation of the twelve industrial buildings generally follows materials, forms and detailing of commercial/residential properties dating to the same period of construction. They are usually devoid of stylistic ornament but occasionally exhibit generic corbeled brick cornices. ... Typically, industrial buildings have brick masonry walls resting on stone foundations, and have regular fenestration of segmental arches until after the turn-of the century when soldier course brick lintels are more often employed. The additions to the Missouri Meerschaum Company factory at 400-20 W. Front (Photo #27 and Survey Map) clearly illustrate this change in window form." ~ NRHP Nomination Form


" ... The largest industrial plant, the Missouri Meerschaum Company, introduced a unique product, the corn cob pipe, which gained national recognition and distribution: the company was a major employer in town. ... '

" ... Although at the end of the 19th century a diverse assortment of Revival styles began to appear in Washington's architecture, the majority of buildings were little affected. The conservative bias towards unembellished planar brick facades articulated with familiar forms was as much in evidence in commercial and domestic buildings as it was in industrial designs such as the Missouri Meerschaum Company plant ..."

"Washington's unique industry, the manufacture of corn cob pipes, earned the city a national reputation as the world's entire supplier of commercially made cob pipes while producing a commodity which gave employment to many local men, women and even children. In 1878, Henry Tibbe, a native of Holland who came to Washington in 1870 as a wood craftsman, secured a patent for a lathe turned corncob pipe finished with plaster of paris. When first marketed the product met with great success, and in 1886, the firm was incorporated as H. Tibbe & Co., known also as the Missouri Meerschaum Company. The first section of the large complex still manufacturing today at 400-20 W. Front Street (Photo 827) was erected in 1886, and as production demanded, additions were made in 1890, 1905 and 1920. In 1895, it was reported that 85 men were employed, and 25,000 pipes were manufactured daily. At about the time Tibbe's patent expired, other pipe firms entered the industry. One of these, Hirschl and Bendheim, had been St. Louis jobbers for Missouri Meerschaum, and had established their own factory in St. Louis." ~ NRHP Nomination Form, PDF pages 7, 16, & 21

Public/Private: Private

Tours Available?: Yes

Year Built: 1886, 1890, 1905, 1920

Web Address: [Web Link]

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