Dry Pipes vs Water Pipes: A History
Pipes have their place in history, being used frequently by nobility and commoners in ancient times. Their evolution to what we use today isn’t as drastic as you might think. Many techniques used back then are still used today. Classic dry pipes and water pipes have been revolutionized, with features being added and adapted to appeal to the modern smoker. From features for the health conscious, art fanatics, and even features for the lazy smokers, our modern day glass artists have found ways to blend classic styles of traditional smoking devices with the beautiful, functional glass pipes we use today.
History Dry Pipes
Dry pipes, in contrast to water pipes, have been around much longer, dating back to 2000 B.C. in Egypt. It’s commonly believed that the Egyptians started the trend, as we have found remnants of pipes inside tombs that predate most other discovered smoking devices.
Some argue that the use of pipes in native American culture could easily predate the Egyptian’s use of pipes, but to this date, we have not found any conclusive evidence to support that.
The more complex water pipe came later, and was popularized by China in the Ming dynasty around the 16th century along with tobacco. While nobility used metal, sometimes gold and jeweled water pipes, the commoners and villagers used bamboo and wood to construct their own pipes. However, it wasn’t until 2013 that we discovered an ancient bong that predates the Ming dynasty and is believed to be over 2400 years old. It would function similarly to a modern day hookah pipe.
History of Glass Pipes
You may be thinking, when did glass come into play? While we may not know when the first glass pipe was made due to the fact that glass is very fragile and most ancient pipes have probably broken, we do know the evolution of glass, and how it may have started. Starting in 3500 B.C. in Mesopotamia, glass was molded by the rich and wealthy nobles for vases and vessels and was very sought after. However, the art of glassmaking was a well kept secret.
In the 9th century, Egyptians found ways to add color to glass through the technique of using thin colored rods and blending them with the hot glass. They also found ways to make glass clearer than ever before, as well as glass blowing techniques that we still use today. Glass pipes date back to the Egyptian empire, but were not as popular as they are today.
The Romans popularized glass in architecture as windows and stained glass became common. The use of glass in architecture soon spread throughout the world through the Roman-Christian empire.
The 1960s and modern culture transformed glass to what we know it as today. Modern glass legends, like Bob Snodgrass, have helped this industry boom through his invention of color changing and fumed glass, as well as his dedication to travel the country selling his wares. Like Bob, other artists have adapted their own styles and aesthetics to appeal to the modern user, and the glass pipe making industry has never been more popular.
Dry Pipes vs Water Pipes
Dry pipes and water pipes are similar in construction but function differently. It is believed that nobility first used water pipes for health reasons. Filtration through water not only cools the smoke, but provides a filter for the ash as well as some of the tars and resins in whatever flower is being smoked.
Dry pipes are more simple devices that boast portability. Their smaller size makes them easy to fit in your pocket, and they’re usually cheaper due to the smaller amount of glass used in production. Dry pipes tend to provide a hotter smoke. However, some blowers have invented techniques to cool down the smoke. Grav Labs Helix Pipes are small enough to fit in your pocket and feature a turbine that spins your smoke and cools it before it reaches your lips.
Water Pipes are intricate and it can be hard to choose the perfect pipe. They have evolved from a simple single chamber design to complex, multiple chamber designs with percs. One classic design that has been updated with features like a downstem and a compressed ice pinch, is the Grav Labs 8-inch beaker water pipe. It is a quality and affordable water pipe for those who don’t need the extra chambers and features. Although dry pipes and water pipes weren’t originally made from glass, it’s the most commonly used material in pipe making today due to its inexpensive construction, ability to be cleaned, and in many cases, the appealing artistic nature of these beautifully crafted pieces.
Although their history will remain a mystery in some aspects, we know that throughout history we have been using pipes as tools; and it’s these tools that we smokers have come to appreciate and transform into the beautiful creations that we smoke out of today.