ALTINAY Meerschaum Pipes
What is Meerschaum
The Earliest Reference to Meerschaum
The earliest reference to meerschaum in written sources is found in a travel book, written in the XII century. When Eskisehir was a frontier ‘principality’ and a trade centre under the domination of the Turks, ‘Al-Haravi’ an Arabic traveller, visited the city in 1173, and wrote about Eskisehir in his travel book. He mentions the healing thermal waters and meerschaum; however, he does not give any information about who used meerschaum or for what purpose.
This stone’s original Turkish name, ‘Deniz Köpüğü’, was translated into different languages with the same meaning, such as ‘Halos Hachne’ in Greek, ‘Spuma Maris’ in Latin, ‘Schiuma di Mare’ in Italian and ‘Echume de Mer’ in French. The most common translation, ‘Meerschaum’ however, was prefered and widely used, Another description of the material, ‘Die Weisse Göttin’ (The White Goddess-Aphrodite),is a clear sign of the value placed on meerschaum.
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Professional meerschaum pipe manufacture was started after the founding of the Republic. Ali Osman Denizköpüğü(1897-1961) opened a workshop in the city centre and had meerschaum mentioned, together with Eskisehir, at both domestic and international fairs. Besides this, he trained many young meerschaum pipe craftsmen.
Meerschaum is the most perfect pipe material in the world, and the most unique and original art and decoration material. It is the only material of value to replace ‘ivory processing’ which is based on hunting and prohibited throughout the world. Having large, and as yet undiscovered, meerschaum reserves underground, Eskişehir is preparing to carry this elegant stone to new heights, as a material for art and culture, in keeping with its character. Now is the time of meerschaum.
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