When about 1870, a Missouri farmer made himself a pipe out of a hollowed-out corncob, he invented something which has brought a unique industry to Washington, Mo. Since then the Missouri Meerschaum Pipe Company, the world’s biggest corncob pipe maker has made millions of cob pipes for the men who insist that they give the sweetest smoke of all. The pipes are made from oversized white corn which grows well in the rich bottom land around Washington but heavily drains soil fertility. Farmers grow it because they get high prices for kernels and make extra money selling cobs. Today Missouri Meerschaum’s sales run about 10,000,000 pipes annually. Most sell for a dime or a quarter. Few last more than a couple of months.