Thursday, July 30, 2009

window views 15 -- Eureka Springs

Thursday, already. Well that means it time for window views. The day we get to showcase all those great windows in our community.

This week I have a couple more windows from my trip to Eureka Springs last month. I do believe this is the last of them. First was an apartment building but I suspect that it had a different life before being reborn to housing.

These were part of a store front. Something tells me that they also have a building that has found a new life.

To join the fun or peek through everyone else's window views visit our host Mary t at Window Views.

Mid week Blues-- through the car window

Mid-week blues is a new meme hosted by Rebecca at Dusty Cellar. Lets all join in and help her in her effort to give blogdom a cool dose of blue.

This week I have an odd assortment of shots captured in passing from my car window. But, do not worry, I was not the driver. I had not found a way to use these before and noticed while hunting for other shots that they all contained a hint of blue.

I captured this first shot while driving around near Table Rock Lake while visiting my brother last month. I was going for the clothes drying on the canoe but, the blue trailer in the background was a bonus, just perfect for today.

While passing a small pond on a county road near my home, my timing was off, instead of the relaxing view of the pond, I ended up with this shot which just happens to be blue barrels supporting the dock.

On the same road as the above shot I noticed this lady weeding her flower bed. I snapped the shot because of the hair curlers. Surprised that anyone stilled use them, I wanted to show my grandchildren what us ladies use to go through. The bonus is she was wearing blue.

To join the fun or enjoy a healthy dose of blue visit Mid-Week Blue here. And tell Rebecca I sent you.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My World Tuesday --- Corncob Pipe Capital of the World

Tuesday is the day we all get to play tour guide and take each of you on a virtual tour of a piece of our real world.

A few weeks ago I wrote about having the good fortune to live in the heart of Missouri wine country. But, believe it or not, there is a "Corn Cob Pipe Capital of the World." and, it is right here in my hometown, thanks to the Missouri Meerschaum Company, that began the tradition that has made Washington, Missouri world famous as the "Corncob Pipe Capital of the World."
The Missouri Meerschaum Company is the world's oldest and largest manufacturer of cool, sweet-smelling corn cob smoking pipes. Missouri Meerschaum has been located in this picturesque riverfront town since 1869. Douglas MacArthur and George Lincoln Rockwell were perhaps the most famous smokers of this type of pipe, along with the cartoon characters Popeye, Mammy Yolkum and Frosty the Snowman.
Legend has it that a local farmer whittled a pipe out of a corn cob and liked it so much he asked a local woodworker to try turning some on his lathe. The farmer was pleased with his pipes and so was the woodworker, a Dutch immigrant named Henry Tibbe. Henry made a few extra and placed them for sale in his shop. They proved to be such a fast selling item that soon Henry was spending more time making pipes for his customers than working with wood. In 1869 Henry went into full time production of corn cob pipes and in 1907 Henry’s company became known as the Missouri Meerschaum Company.

The word Meerschaum is taken from a German word that means sea foam. It is a Turkish clay used in high grade pipes. Henry likened his light, porous pipes and their cool smoke to that of the more expensive meerschaum pipes and coined the name Missouri Meerschaum for his pipes. Henry and a chemist friend devised an innovative system of applying a plaster-based substance to the outside of the corn cob bowls to make a smoother, more presentable pipe, and was granted a US patent for this process in 1878.

Henry entered into an agreement with a St. Louis firm to distribute his pipes for sale worldwide. But, the firm soon decided they could make more money manufacturing and distributing their own pipes. So they came to Washington and purchased the land adjoining the Missouri Meerschaum Company for their factory. Soon other pipe firms developed and by 1925 there were as many as a dozen corn cob pipe companies in Franklin County, most of them in Washington, turning out thirty million pipes annually in over one hundred designs.

Today, Missouri Meerschaum stands alone as the first and last surviving piece of this living history. Corncob pipes remain popular today because they are inexpensive and require no difficult break-in period like briar pipes. For these two reasons, corncob pipes are often recommended as a beginner's pipe, but, their enjoyment is by no means limited to beginners. Corncob pipes are equally valued by both learners, and experienced smokers who simply desire a cool, clean smoke. Pipesmokers who wish to sample a wide variety of different tobaccos and blends also might keep a stock of corncobs on hand to permit them to try new flavors without carryover from an already-used pipe. Pipe smoking in general is often chosen as a great weaning tool for folks who are looking to quite smoking cigarettes, and corncob pipes are excellent for this type of stop smoking technique. These gentle pipes are smoked and loved all over the world, well as being used as souvenirs, often imprinted with the name of the city, business or event.

The block long, three story brick building that houses the factory dates to the 1880's and is located on the corner of Front and Cedar streets overlooking the Missouri River. A corn cob pipe museum is located next to the ofice, accessible from Cedar Street.

Today about 50 employees work Monday through Friday year round to make the nearly 5000 pipes per day that are shipped to every U.S. state and several foreign countries.

A corn cob pipe can't be made without first growing the corn. When the company began production in the 1860's the by-product of any field corn was usable raw material for the making of corn cob pipes. However, over the years through hybridization, the corn has been modified to produce smaller cobs. It was up to the corn cob pipe industry to develop a corn that produced a bigger cob. This job was given to the University of Missouri, who perfected the corn seed that is used today. Missouri Meerschaum owns about 150 acres that is used for growing corn. Sometimes additional acreage is contracted with local farmers.

After the corn is harvested, it is stored in outdoor bins until it can be shelled. The corn shelling is done with a vintage sheller, as the new equipment is designed to break up the cobs. The cobs are stored in the third floor of the factory for two years. Aging makes the cobs harder and dryer.

Production begins when the cobs are loaded into the chutes that carry them to the lowest level of the factory where they are sawed into pipe lengths and sorted by size. The size determines which type of pipe it will become. After being turned, the tobacco hole is bored in the bowl. Some of the better pipes are bored all the way through and a wood plug is inserted into the bottom of the bowl. Then the cobs go to one of several turning machines. Each machine produces a different shape. A few of the better pipes such as the Macs and the Wanghee are hand turned on a lathe. This requires some craftmanship skills. The next step is "filling" which is the applying of plaster of Paris to the surface of the bowl. The bowls are allowed to dry for a day before the next process, which is "white scouring" or sanding of the bowl to make it smooth. Bowls that will be used for the less expensive pipes are varnished in a concrete mixer and spread out on wire racks to dry. The better pipe bowls are placed on spindles that rotate through a spray booth where they are coated with lacquer. After the bowls dry, the assembly begins. The wood stems are printed with ink so they appear to be cob. A metal ferrule is hammered onto the stem. The stem is glued and tapped into the bowl. The bowls are patched around the stem and any small irregularities in the cob are patched. Then the pipes are ready for packaging and shipping to all parts of the world.

Mark Twain told The Idler magazine in 1892. "I never smoke a new corn-cob pipe. A new pipe irritates the throat. No corn-cob pipe is fit for anything until it has been used at least a fortnight."

He claimed he would hire someone else to break in a pipe, and then would put in a new stem and use it as long as it held together.

This particular corn-cob pipe, which belonged to Twain, outlived him.

The following photos were taken from a LIFE magazine article on Missouri Meerschaum printed in 1945.

To visit the other My World entries are to join the fun visit here

For more interesting reading on Corn cob pipes or Washington, Missouri visit these sites.

River Hills Traveler (this is a hoot and he said it better then I ever could)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mellow Yellow and Blue Monday come together

I have an extremely heavy schedule this week and my computer time will be very limited so I am going to do a two-fer for today.
I have a photo that will be perfect for both Mellow Yellow and Blue Monday.

The picture below is of my eighty-three year old Mother. The photo was taken at Silver Dollar City in Branson Missouri. My sister insisted that Mom pose in this costume because Mom's maiden name is Griffin.

And, yes I know that the emblem is a rampant lion. But, I learned years ago that many people confuse it with a griffin. Apparently, my sister is one of them.

MY mother still rides a bicycle to church (7 miles round trip) and won 14 gold medals in the last senior Olympics. She is now in training for the upcome senior events. Mom wants to beat her last years record time of 2 min: 21 sec in the 100 meter swim.

Just so you will understand just how remarkable this lady is I have added a picture taken on her eightieth birthday with her thirteen children. When you add the spouses and children you have a total of 75 family members.

To join in the fun visit Drowsey Monkey and the Mellow Yellow shots here

If it is Smiling Sally and Blue Monday you are seeking they can be found here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Color Carnival --- bright chairs

Color Carnival time is here again. This week I would like to share some shots I took recently in the waiting area of our local computer repair shop. I was told that the owners wife painted these chairs for their waiting room.

I thought they would be perfect for Color Carnival. Hope you think so too.

To join the fun or to check out all the colorful entries of other players, visit Martha and her friends at

Pink Saturday------saga of the pink ball

Saturday has arrived. The day when we add some pink energy to our week.

This week I have a true life tale for you. "The saga of the Pink Ball"

There is an old lady I know who loves to bowl. She bowls so often and so well that she racks up a large number of free games. Therefore she is always inviting people to bowl with her to use up those free games.

This past Friday afternoon the Old Salt and I were members of a group of nine invited to join this queen of the senior league to an afternoon of bowling. The rest of the group included two forty-something women and their children. A total of five kids aged from seven to fifteen.

Since none of the members of this group are regular bowlers each had to hunt for a ball they liked from the alley's supply. As luck would have it, the three youngest (all girls and sisters) picked the same ball. Not because it had the right finger holes, or the right weight, but, because it was shocking pink in color.

This is seven year old Mary Rose with the hot pink ball

Three games of bowling were played and after the first few frames the pink ball became the sole property of Mary Rose. She did give other balls a try, and despite the fact that the pink ball was as big as she is, she liked it best.

At the end of three games the scores were tallied and the person with the highest game score was crowned the winner. And, the winner turned out to be-------- why the person who struck with the hot pink ball of course.

Yes, the youngest person in the group, the person who could barely lift her ball, had the highest game score of ---------- you ready for this------ her score was 112.

Yep, the Old Salt and I got beat by a seven year old with a hot pink ball.

07-27-09 I am adding a couple more shots of that infamous pink ball.

To join the fun or visit the other participates click here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Window views 14 -- stained glass

Thursday is the day that we get to peek through other peoples windows. But, politely of course. This week I have a very special window for you. It is one that comes very close to my family.

The Old Salt's Mother was a very creative artist. Among other things she studied painting with her uncle the world renowned dust bowl regionalist Alexandre Hogue. But her passion was for making stained glass windows, and she has many installed in churches all over the country.

The state of Arkansas named my MIL as the recipient of their first "Living Treasures Award" in 2002.

Besides designing and crafting beautiful stained glass windows Bea also taught the craft to others and one of her best students Tess Cowie (who also became her best friend and assistant) has carried on the work of making beautiful stained glass windows.

Following is a picture of Tess with the first window she made. It was meant to be a gift for her husband. Regrettably, he only lived long enough to see the middle of it completed. Tess finished her husbands window and has moved it with her several times over the ensuing years.

To join the fun or peek through everyone else's window panes visit our host Mary t at
Window Views.

Theme Thursday -- Shoe

As soon as I saw that this week’s theme for Theme Thursday was “Shoe” I instantly knew what I wanted to post. Wanting to be assured I had the most accurate information to pass along, I took a trip to our local historical society. There I met a little white haired lady in her mid-eighties named Izzy.

Izzy worked for the largest shoe factory in town, International Shoe Company, from 1947 -1949 and filled me in on the history of shoe making in my town. Izzy’s father and his three brothers all worked at the International Shoe Factory here in town. Each rose through the ranks to become an office manager. The three brothers each moved to a different factory in other small towns in Missouri. Izzy’s family, like so many others, depended on the shoe industry for their living. Children followed parents to work in the factories. When the factories closed to move overseas it often left entire families out of work across several generations.

I tried to give you the condensed version but my narrative is still lengthy. If you don’t have time to read it, you may want to jump to where I placed my pictures. There is a slide show of the vacant International Shoe Factory and a collage of the old Deb Shoe Factory that was recently made into a modern apartment building for those over fifty-five. Now here is my shoe tale.

1950 photo taken in the Brown Shoe Store, Washington Mo.

I live in a small Missouri riverfront town that started as a cluster of cabins around the only natural landing, in the area, suitable for use by ferryboats. The increasing need for trade goods, and craftsmen allowed the small hamlet to boom into a good size town that, in1869, became the city of Washington.

Looking for a stable economic base, the city fathers enticed the Roberts, Johnson & Rand Shoe Company of St. Louis to build a factory here on land provided by the city. That first factory opened in 1907 and Washington entered a new economic era as a shoe factory town. A second shoemaker located here in 1925 and for several generations the town's fortunes were tied to the shoe industry.

The town’s population had doubled to 5,900 by the 1920’s and by l934 over l900 Washingtonians were making their living at the shoe factories. Besides the two large factories, the town also supported a number of smaller factories and cobbler shops. These specialized in hand crafted custom orders for department stores in St. Louis.

1920 era men's work boots

The Roberts, Johnson, and Rand Shoe Company and the Peters Shoe Company merged in 1911 forming the International Shoe Company. International Shoe Company became the largest shoe manufacturing company in the United States. Their factory here manufactured men’s boots and was expanded several times over the years. During WWll our plant produced army boots. At its peak, the Washington International plant was manufacturing two million pairs of shoe a year. International operated here from 1907 until 1960 when most of the shoe industry in the US was moved overseas.

Vintage army boots

Since International closed its doors in 1960, the factory, encompassing two square blocks, sat empty until recently when small sections were rented to a metalsmith and someone who rebuilds electric motors. A local auctioneer has been using one of the out buildings as a staging area and the gravel parking area to hold estate auctions. Regardless, they are only using a small fraction of the space available.

But, the building I captured with my camera is still a relic with a chimney that is falling apart. Despite the tall chain link fence and the barbed wire, it is apparent that someone has been trespassing. But, when I took these photo’s I noticed that much of the graffiti is gone and many of the broken windows have been replaced. So perhaps this old building that once provided a living to so many will someday find the same rebirth as the old Deb Shoe Factory and become something new and modern once again.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: SHOE FACTORY
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Ladies 1930's Babydoll Pump

The Fore Shoe Company’s factory opened here in 1925 and went through several name changes, among them the KDK (Kain, Duncan and Krauss) and finally the Deb Shoe Company. Deb only made ladies dress shoes and ceased operation in the mid 1970’s, moving its manufacturing plant to Australia. The Deb Shoe Factory building looked very much like the International building above. It set empty from the mid 1970's until 2007 when restoration began. The building now houses a modern apartment building geared to those over fifty-five.

To see more shoe related posts or to join the fun visit Theme Thursday

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mid week Blues-- walls and sidewalks

Mid-week blues is a new meme hosted by Rebecca at Dusty Cellar. Lets all join in and help her give hump day a cool dose of blue.

I found this blue mural on a wall in a neighboring town.

Please click to enlarge.

These blue flowers line the sidewalk in front of the florist downtown.

To join the fun or enjoy a healthy dose of blue visit Mid-Week Blue here. And tell Rebecca I sent you.