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From Concept to Craft: Making Today’s Water Pipes

You might look at your bong as a household appliance, in the same category as your coffee maker or toaster, but as useful as it is, the bong is the product of a lengthy art process known as glass blowing. Artisans produced the first rudimentary bongs in the time before Christ. Production has come along way since then though.

Crafting Glass

A lot of work goes into the glass you see when shopping ThickAssGlass – Water Pipes. Blowing glass involves three furnaces and the pipe used to form and blow the glass. First, the glassblower gathers melted clear glass onto the pipe from the furnace containing the crucible, a pot used to heat glass and metals at extremely high temperatures. The artisan rolls the clear glass into a cylinder-shape on a steel table. The work in progress then enters the second furnace, called the Glory Hole, to heat it to working temperature as the glassblower constantly turns the pipe. Now the artist adds colored glass, if desired, rolling the molten clear glass into bits of colored glass, then returning to the Glory Hole. The glass must remain at 1000 degrees Fahrenheit while the artist works it. At any cooler temperature, it begins to harden prematurely. The artist shapes the glass on a steel table, then begins to blow on the end of the pipe to form a bubble. After another trip to the Glory Hole, the glass pieces may be moved to a punty, a steel pipe, or subjected to additional shaping. On the punty, the artist forms the mouth of the vessel. The artist breaks the piece from the punty into a box full of fire blankets. Wearing Kevlar gloves, the artist transfers the piece to the annealing oven which slowly cools it, allowing it to firm and harden as it cools.

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Glass Production Heroes

You may not recognize all of the names of the heroes of modern glass production, but these inventors and one comedian worked hard to bring about the glass techniques and availability enjoyed today. Production plays a big part, but so does distribution.

Michael Owens

Thanks to inventor Michael Owens, the glass industry can mass produce its products. In 1903, Owens invented the automated bottle blowing machine. Its first application was in light bulb manufacturing. He not only helped light up our world in multiple ways, his invention put an end to use of cheap child labor in the glass making industry.

Bob Snodgrass

Music fan and Deadhead Bob Snodgrass became known as the godfather of modern glass blowing. As he followed the Grateful Dead on tour, he learned glass blowing and began creating his first works. Snodgrass created the first color changing pipes using a process called “fuming” which coats the interior of the pipe with vaporized silver. He was also the catalyst of the American glass making revival based in Oregon. In 1990, his friend Hugh Selkind suggested the vagabond winter in Eugene, Oregon. The two spent the winter crafting glass, with Selkind as the willing student. During their travels the following year, their pieces sold out, and new students appeared in Eugene that winter to learn from Snodgrass. Many of his students remained there, opening their own shops and contributing to the state’s thriving cannabis culture.

Tommy Chong

Tommy Chong became famous with his comedic partner Cheech Marin, poking fun at the cannabis culture they belonged to while raising cultural awareness. Chong introduced a line of pipes and bongs carrying his name and face. Lending his celebrity to the glass and cannabis industry helped it achieve wider acceptance.

It is a long way from concept to crafting to purchase. Today’s glassware has continued scientific and artistic development to thank, as well as heroes who have led the way to bringing a better smoking experience to everyone.

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