A bong is a filtration device that is used for smoking herb, tobacco, or other substances. It consists of a bowl and a stem that guide the smoke through water before it is inhaled. Bongs are popular among smokers who want to enjoy a smoother and cooler smoking experience. But who invented the bong and how did it become so widespread?
The Origins of the Bong
The history of the bong is shrouded in mystery and controversy. There are different theories and claims about where and when the first bong was created. Some of the earliest evidence of bong use comes from archaeological excavations in various parts of the world.
- In 2013, Russian archaeologists discovered two gold bongs that date back to 2400 years ago in a Scythian burial mound. The Scythians were a nomadic people who ruled large areas of Eurasia from the 9th to the 1st century BC. They were known for their warrior culture and their use of herb and opium. The gold bongs were decorated with scenes of Scythian life and mythology. They are considered to be the oldest examples of bongs ever found.
- In Africa, several clay bongs have been unearthed that date back to around 1100 AD. These bongs were used by various tribes and cultures across the continent, such as the Bantu, the Bamum, and the Thonga. They were made from clay or wood and had intricate designs and patterns. Some of them had multiple bowls and stems for communal smoking.
- In Asia, there are records of bong use in China, India, Thailand, and Laos. The word “bong” itself comes from the Thai word “baung”, which means a cylindrical bamboo tube or pipe. Bamboo bongs were common among rural people who smoked tobacco or herb. In China, metal bongs were preferred by merchants, urbanites, and nobility. They were often made of bronze or silver and had elaborate motifs and inscriptions. In India, physician Hakim Abul Fath invented the water pipe in the 16th century during the reign of Emperor Akbar. He suggested that tobacco smoke should be passed through water to make it less harmful.
The Evolution of the Bong
The bong as we know it today was largely influenced by the hippie movement and the glass art scene in the 1960s and 1970s. During this time, herb became more popular and accessible in the West, especially in the United States. Smokers experimented with different ways of consuming herb, such as joints, pipes, vaporizers, and bongs.
One of the pioneers of modern bong making was Bob Snodgrass, an American glass artist who traveled with the Grateful Dead band as a vendor. He invented the glass bong by using a technique called fuming, which involves coating the inside of the glass with silver or gold to create color-changing effects. He also introduced features such as carburetors, ice catchers, percolators, and diffusers to enhance the functionality and aesthetics of bongs.
Since then, bong making has become a form of art and innovation, with many artists and brands creating unique and diverse designs and styles. Bongs can be made from various materials, such as glass, ceramic, metal, plastic, silicone, or even fruit. They can have different shapes, sizes, colors, patterns, themes, and accessories. Some examples of famous or notable bongs are:
- The Mothership Fab Egg – A high-end glass bong that resembles an egg with intricate holes and chambers. It was created by Mothership Glass, a renowned glass studio based in Washington state. It is known for its smooth airflow and filtration.
- The Tommy Chong Bong – A glass bong that was featured in the movie Up in Smoke (1978), starring Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin as two stoner comedians. It was shaped like a woman’s torso with breasts as bowls. It was confiscated by the DEA in 2003 during a raid on Chong’s home.
- The Knockout – A hybrid device that combines a beer bottle, a beer bong, and a gravity bong. It was invented by three Canadian friends who wanted to create a fun and efficient way to drink beer and smoke herb at the same time. It consists of a metal tube that fits into a beer bottle and has a bowl on top and a valve on the bottom.
The Future of the Bong
The bong is not only a device for smoking, but also a symbol of culture, history, and creativity. It has been used for centuries by different people and societies for various purposes and rituals. It has also evolved and adapted to the changing times and preferences of smokers. Today, bongs are widely available and accessible in online and offline shops, as well as in legal dispensaries and cafes in some countries.
As the herb industry grows and becomes more mainstream, bongs will likely continue to be a popular and preferred method of consumption for many smokers. They will also likely continue to be a source of inspiration and innovation for artists and entrepreneurs who want to create new and improved bongs. Whether you prefer a simple or sophisticated bong, a classic or modern bong, a cheap or expensive bong, there is a bong out there for you.