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Guide to Smoking Pipes: Ancient Clay to the Art we see Today

We all know that feeling we get when we receive a new pipe, and whether you subscribe to a smoking subscription box or bought one at a store, we all cannot WAIT to smoke out of it! Often the pipes we purchase today have beautiful designs and creative concepts, but that has not always been the case (obviously). Today we have a massive number of artists pouring their creative talents into various forms of marijuana pipes, because for the most part, marijuana use is much more accepted across the globe than it ever has been. I started thinking about this pretty in depth after hitting my elephant bowl (shout out Sensi-Box) the other night. Cannabis has been around pretty much forever, so what did stoners smoke out of back, BACK in the day? How did humans go from smoking out of whatever they did then, to the elephant bowl (that could double as an expensive looking shelf decoration) that I’m smoking out of now? Well I went down a rabbit hole for much of that night, and I am here to share that journey with you:

The Wood Brazier, 500 BCE

So, the history goes back pretty far as I’m sure many of you are aware. What I didn’t know, is it goes all the way back to 500 BCE! Recent evidence documented here by ABC Science, strongly suggests that cannabis residue was found in ancient wooden braziers. These “braziers” were essentially a wooden bowl that held hot coals, and then our stoner ancestors would put their nugs on top of the coals and inhale. I know, talk about wasting weed (the mouthpiece was not introduced until later on). Still impressive none the less, as these ancient people put the blazer in trailblazers.


The Native American Clay Tobacco Pipe


As much as most of us greatly prefer cannabis over tobacco due to the health related issues associated with tobacco, we have to acknowledge that throughout history tobacco did pave the way for smoking pipes in general, because it made them accessible to the public. According the Pipedia.org , English sea captain Sir Walter Raleigh was the first European to bring tobacco and tobacco pipes from the New World to England. This was done in the late 16th century, after the new settlers had came across Native American tribes smoking tobacco Virginia. These were made out of clay, and look a lot like the cobb style tobacco pipes we see in stores today. I think it's safe to say everyone did not JUST smoke tobacco out of these (Native Americans included).


The Chillum

The chillum is a cone shaped pipe that came about in East Asia around the 18th century. It contained a small stone on the inside that did not completely block the pipe, but essentially served as a screen to stop you from sucking the bud into your mouth as you inhale. According to Cannaconnection, the chillum caught fire with American and European tourist in the 1960’s when they began visiting East Asia. It was perfect timing and the hippies of the 60’s fell in love with the pipe design. This lead to all the glass and ceramic chillums we have today. The “glass blunt” that many of us are familiar with today, is essentially a modern chillum.







Glass Pipes

Glass pipes have been around since the 18th century and like the chillum, they really became popular during the hippie era in the 1960’s. According the Smokeynews, there was a big glassblowing arts movement in the late 1970’s, and with that came the first patent for a glass pipe. As glass became more and more popular every year, many more artist started joining in the fun. This movement, that still gains momentum every year, lead us to the beautiful glass pipes we see today!

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