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The History And Culture Of The Bong


bong bongs history culture marijuana cannabisThe common bong or water pipe as we know them today have come along way since their initial invention. In this modern era of smoking culture it’s hard to find someone who at least doesn’t know the purpose of a bong. Used by tobacco and herb smokers worldwide, they are instantly recognizable by any avid user. A typical bong is usually made of acrylic or glass, although they come in a range of other materials as well. They are notable for their large open pipe which often leads to a water chamber with an extra inlet where the smoke can be drawn in.

The actual procedure of the bong is fairly straight forward. Tobacco or herb is packed into a down pipe which is a small pipe with a bowl at it’s head, where the herb is placed. This pipe is situated near the base of the bong and is drawn into the main structure of the pipe where the water sits. The purpose of this pipe is to submerge one end of the down pipe in the water, forcing any smoke to filter through the water before reaching the lungs. You can ask any smoker why they choose to use a bong and many will have different reasons, however the main overall purpose is to achieve a smoother smoke. They achieve this in various ways depending on the type of water pipe or bong you’re using. The smoke is drawn through the water, which not only helps in filtering those unwanted carcinogens and ash, it also helps in cooling the smoke. These two benefits combined ensure the smoke is much purer than the smoke of a typical smoking pipe or cigarette and is the reason more and more people are turning to these alternative smoking methods.

As well as the practical benefits of using water pipes and bongs you will also notice the vast variety of designs, colors, sizes and shapes they come in. In the market today it’s actually quite astonishing how many different kinds you can get hold of. Probably the most common type is glass. Glass can be blown and shaped into all kinds of shapes and also be colored in such ways to make them stand out more than any other type of bong. With the growth of glass water pipes we have seen new designs incorporated into them as they gradually reach a wider audience. You can now find with many glass pieces, small ice notches. These are quite basic yet add a certain something to a bong that many regular uses wouldn’t go without. They simply allow you to place ice cubes inside your device to help even further in cooling the smoke, remember a cool smoke is a smooth smoke.

But it doesn’t stop there, it’s apparent that all these features to help provide a smooth smoke still aren’t enough. There is a growing number of percolator bongs showing up on the market. These again, assist in filtering and cooling the smoke by adding extra compartments for the smoke to rush through before entering your lungs. It has become clear that finding the best way to enjoy herbs and tobacco is an ongoing process and people are always looking to intuitive new bong designs to make the most of the situation.

It’s not just modern culture that has embraced the growth of water pipe use across the world. Bongs and water pipes in some form or another have been used for centuries. It is clearly an innate desire to enjoy smoking. The actual origin of the bong is debatable. Many believe it emerged from Asia as it closely resembles the well known “hookah” pipe. The word “bong” also comes from Asia as it is translated from the Thai word “baung” which is another smoking pipe type device.

While Asia is attributed with wide spread and common use of water in smoking devices during the Ming Dynasty of the 16th Century, some protest that it was in fact Africa where the first type of water smoking pipe was used. Discovered in some remote parts of Africa there is heavy evidence to suggest they were using ‘earth pipes’ long before anyone else. These earth pipes use the same principles as any other smoking device but they are built into the ground. Evidence of these earth pipes therefore heavily favors the fact that bongs originate from Africa, although it’s not really fair to give them 100% of the credit. Smoking devices in one form or another have been around for centuries and it would be too unfair to credit only one culture with the invention. It is highly possible there are ways of smoking long forgotten in history used by old tribes and civilizations.

This article has been written courtesy of the online head shop Herbtools. They specialize in bongs and also stock a great range of other smoking paraphernalia from herb grinders, lighters, smoking pipes, rolling papers and much more. Herbtools provides information and articles like this so customers can learn a little about what they buying. They also wish to provide people with the best experience possible when looking to buy a new bong or pipe and feel it’s necessary to show they care by providing such articles for fans of the culture to read. They also ensure they are providing only the best quality products on the market. So if you are looking to buy a bong either in the UK or anywhere else in the world, you should be sure to check out the Herbtools website.


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Johnny Green


  1. obviously like your web-site but you need to tedt the spelling
    on quite a few off your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finjding itt very troublesome too inform thee reality however
    I will certainly come backk again.

  2. When buying a bong you should check out the wall thickness, if you get something with a minimum wall thickness of 7mm then it will withstand a little more punishment than a cheaper think one. Check out http://www.herbtools.co.uk/ as they have some nice thick glassed bongs.

  3. There are many different manufacturers out there that vary greatly on cost and quality. If your looking for one that will last more than a couple of weeks, get one that is kind of heavy, with thick glass, that sits level and one that isn’t too top heavy. I usually stick to bongs that are about 2’ tall. Here in California I usually find good ones for $50-$80. Most shops will haggle a little bit too. One feature I love to have is an ice catcher, it allows you to but ice down the neck, so you can breath in ice cold smoke….Snow works too! :-) Roor is the best brand but you’ll be paying for it. Go to http://www.everyonedoesit.com

  4. Bongs are illegal in Florida. Thanks to a crack smoking State Rep that introduced a bill calling them “Instruments of Evil”. He openly admits that he is a former crack user (if there is such a thing). So he gets his bill passed by a wide vote and signed into law by “Tricky Dicky Scotty”. In the mean time the MMJ bill never made it to committee. That why we have a legislative amendment in the works.

    May I add that this same up coming star State Rep had to resign and is facing jail time for,,,, are you ready,,,,,
    Tax evasion,,never payed the IRS for years.

    Also here in the Sunshine State, another Fl. Congressmen that voted to keep MMJ away from the people. Has been arrested for possession of cocaine and paraphernalia charged with a misdemeanor (cocaine is Sch 2, MMJ is Sch 1),, All he has to do is go into a out patient Rehab program .Now you tell me whats wrong with this picture. He was busted in D.C not Fl. so the laws are somewhat rehabilitative as opposed to the Fl. criminality mentality

    New State Tourism motto,,,,,,Come to Florida on Vacation and leave on Probation

  5. Since the human race originated in Africa, I think it’s Africa. Why do you think it’s Asia?

  6. Anyone want to recommend a well designed and DURABLE glass bong? I bought an expensive glass bong like 15 years ago and it lasted less than a week before it broke, Turned me off of glass ever since. Thanks in advance! :-)

  7. Thanks for the informative article. As far as history is concerned, it is obvious that this smoking method originated in Africa. That’s one vote for Africa, any votes for Asia?

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