There is a difference between rationalization and fact.There are mysteries in life that cannot be explained, but not many.
I think I’ve solved this mystery, of why a pipe obviously colored by the oils of burning tobacco would, if cut apart, have only a thin layer of coloring on the outside and the inside, and none in the middle.
If the pipe was meerschaum, the reason is that the beeswax stops the closing from being taken through the pipe, then wiped off by cleaning.
This has been known since at least 1885, and probably much longer, as boiling meerschaum pipes in beeswax was old news, then.
California Digital Newspaper Collectioncdnc.ucr.edu
I’ve known that oils from my face will shine up a pipe since I’d see Harry Hosterman run his Grabow against his nose, going on sixty years ago.
If Harry had a meerschaum, those oils would have been a substitute for beeswax.
lost wax casting of metals and glass, as a polish for wood and leather, for making candles, as an ingredient in cosmetics and as an artistic medium in encaustic painting.
Beeswax is edible, having similarly negligible toxicity to plant waxes, and is approved for food use in most countries and in the European Union under the E number E901.
Why, that a cut apart pipe will deceive reasonable people enough to have them deny their own eyes, that it’s been discolored by long use of burning tobacco, is quite simple to explain.
The man who smoked all three of my oil soaked pipes, loved them dearly.
He kept them oiled, perhaps waxed.
Occasionally he’d smoke one so many times the wood swelled up from trapped moisture and the shank on one even cracked.
But eventually the tobacco oils that beeswax stop in a meerschaum were stopped by the oils from his hands or face, on briar.
It takes much longer for tobacco oils to color briar than meerschaum, but the process and explanation, is the same.