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The humble rise of the bong

Bongs have been used over a long period in different cultures in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. It is hard to know exactly where bongs originated since there are many variations of bongs and they have been used for a long period for medicinal, recreational and ceremonial reasons. Archaeological excavation in Africa has found pipes made from earthenware, gourds, bamboo, and horns that date from the 13th century.  Earthenware pipes are often found in central Asia. In the 16th century, Persian cultures started to use hookahs but popular bongs spread from Thailand and reached to China.  In the noble people, Thai Baung were made using bronze and they were often adorned with jewels and inscriptions. As many people travelled around the world, the trade of bongs branched out to different countries including Europe and America.  Water pipes from the Victorian era were made using ceramic techniques and they were decorated in very elaborate ways.

The first modern bongs to be patented were in the 1970s and the sculptors of bongs became entrepreneurs as there was an increase in the demand of their product.  Now many bongs are made by using hand-blown glass and they are available in many different colours.  Translucent, wooden tubes and acrylic ceramic bongs are variations found easily in the market. Bongs are devices that use water to filter smoke so that you can enjoy a cleaner, cooler and smoother smoke.  It filters the smoke from the dried herbs and when the smoke passes through the water, the heavy particles stay in it as residue.  The water dissolving molecules that would have entered the smoker’s system remain into the water. Even if there are many different features of bongs, they are known to have three standard features, regardless of the size, style and shape. The water chamber is on the bottom of the bong and it is the chamber which holds the water.

It is designed to cool and filter the smoke so that it is nice and cool to the lungs and throat while it is inhaled. The tube is where the smoke passes from the water chamber. It is aimed upwards and it is essentially a long necked vertical tube which reaches from the chamber to the mouthpiece.  Even if the tubes are mostly straight, the artist may create a shaped chamber which filters smoke and also provides an artistic beauty to bongs. It is used to draw the smoke and the air from the water in the bongs as a user inhales the smoke and causes the water to bubble.  The down-stem is the diagonal stem which protrudes away from the chamber. Bongs look the same as hookahs in terms of the construction and the function, which uses the water filtration, however they are small and they do not come with a hose.  Anything that is water tight and can let air in can be turned into bongs, however the common bongs are made using ceramic, wood, glass and acrylic.

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