The Bong

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Since the 1970s, Snodgrass-style glasswork has been a central theme of weed culture in the United States. Virtually every smoke shop in every American town features blown glass pipes that change color, and the glass bong has been a smoking fixture in the decades ever since.

The posts during this series explore the history, legends, and lore of interesting events, devices, people, and stories in weed culture.

The pipe

Everyone has their preferred method for ingesting their favourite style of weed, but the bong has held a special place within the human psyche for generations. last made popular during the revolution of the 1960s within u. s., the bong actually contains a for much longer history that stretches across continents, people, groups, and substances. Here’s everything you never knew you needed to grasp about these dope contraptions.

What We speak about after we speak about Bongs

Bong derives from the Thai word buang, which refers to a cylindrical wooden tube or container cut from bamboo. Today, once we say the word bong, we mean a pipe that uses water to filter smoke before it reaches the user’s mouth. it's air- and water-tight, and uses a carburetor to intake fresh air into the bong. But the history of the bong goes back plenty farther than the psychedelic revolution of the 1960s – even farther back than the name itself.

The Bong in Antiquity

The oldest bong ever discovered was found in Russia by a team of archeologists and dates to approximately 2,400 years ago. manufactured from solid gold, this ornately decorated bong was utilized by Scythian tribal chieftains and was accustomed to smoke weed and opium. The Scythians were known in history as ruthless, warlike people, who ruled vast areas of Eurasia for over 1000 years. and a few historians have suggested that they smoked this weed combination to change their state of mind either before or after battle. The Greek historian Herodotus once wrote, “Scythian used a plant to supply smoke that no Grecian vapour-bath can surpass which made them shout aloud.”

Gold bong

Before the Scythian bongs were discovered, the earliest examples found by archeologists were in Ethiopia and dated to between 1100 and 1400 BCE. These 11 bongs were found in a very cave and used ducts and bottles made from animal horns or pottery. Many of them extended underground to function a primitive cooling system.

The earliest record of a bong comes from 16th Century Central Asia, during the Ming and was primarily used for smoking tobacco, as weed wasn't widely known or available. By the dynasty, the hookah had traveled through Persia via the trade route. Commoners generally used homemade pipes made up of bamboo, while wealthier smokers like merchants or nobles used metal pipes fabricated from bronze or brass and ornately decorated. Over the following few centuries, tobacco’s popularity as a crop grew, and Europeans simultaneously developed a taste for glassware. I’m sure you'll see where this can be going.

The Glass Bong in American Culture

The bong as we all know it today was most famously pioneered by Bob Snodgrass, a glassworker who developed his unique craft within the 1970s and 80s while touring with the Grateful Dead (because of course!). referred to as the Godfather of Glass, Snodgrass says that while he didn’t invent the glass pipe, he did accidentally invent a process called “fuming,” which consists of using flecks of gold and silver within the glassmaking to create the pipe change colors as smoke and resin accumulate inside. He also invented the side carburetor and bubbler – features that several smokers today consider essential.

Since the 1970s, Snodgrass-style glasswork has been a central theme of weed culture within us. Virtually every smoke shop in every American town features blown glass pipes that change color, and also the glass bong has been a smoking fixture within the decades ever since.

Bong Benefits

Research has shown that water-based pipes and bongs filter tiny particles from the smoke, reducing the number of toxic substances that pass into the lungs by the maximum amount as 50 percent. Further studies show that reducing these particles actually results in healthier lung tissue, making it easier to repulse infection. and therefore the better part is, all of this is often accomplished with little or no reduction in THC consumption!

From Chieftains to Chiefin’

Looking at history, it’s clear that humans are using bongs for cleaner hits for hundreds of years – even millennia. We don’t need to travel back in time to go to ancient warchiefs in Iran or Russia to search out prime examples. The history is traced across Eurasia, along the trade route, into the homes of social class Europeans, all the way through Grateful Dead tours, and into the homes of gen X and Millennial smokers in America. With such a fashionable history and benefits of filtration, the bong is, doubtless, a mainstay of 420 culture.