The History and Origin of Glass Pipes

The History and Origin of Glass Pipes

Although the mass production and easy accessibility in terms of glass pipes for sale is quite normal in today's world, the pipe-making industry certainly was not always this way.

The History of Pipes & The Rise of Glass Making

Though there was a time when glass didn't exist, pipes for tobacco dates back a lot longer than one might actually think. When Christopher Columbus stumbled across American in 1492, he soon realized that smoking had been a very big part of the Native American culture. Native Americans would make tobacco pipes out of wood and any other materials that they could get their hands on. Though they themselves would commonly partake in tobacco smoking activities, they would also frequently manufacture and eventually trade these tobacco pipes with many European travelers and settlers following Columbus in hopes of gaining other commodities that may have piqued their interest.

In the year 1559, a French diplomat name Jean Nicot brought a tobacco pipe back to France with him. This eventually caused quite a local buzz, making the pipe a high-demand product all across France. In 1600, clay pipes were more commonly accepted and in demand within the English culture.

By the year 1800, wooden pipes became extremely popular in the tobacco industry and remained that way for quite some time. 

Glass Blowing and The Innovation of Glass Pipes

Dating back to 30 B.C., following the rise of glass production, glass making and glass blowing slowly started to become more of a revered practice as glass was seen as a precious commodity at the time. By the 16th century, glass was being more commonly used in the manufacturing of cups, goblets, and many other dishes across Europe and the Middle East. In the 17th century, an Italian priest named Antonio Neri released a book called "L'Art Vetraria", or, "The Art Of Glass", which revealed the secrets of glass-making across the world and made it less of a commodity than it was before.

Though glass was no longer deemed as a commodity in the later centuries as it was used for any and everything from household items to industrial and construction items, colorful glass rod and blow tube-making were still seen as a precious craft going into the 20th century. By the 1960s, glass pipes and bongs for tobacco and marijuana began to make an appearance in the market. Though they were on the market, glass pipes were usually only sold to and possessed by those who were on the wealthier side as they were quite rare at the time. 

Heady glass artist, Bob Snodgrass is undoubtedly one of the biggest contributors to the glass pipe movement. While following the tour of Grateful Dead, Snodgrass started to put his novice glassblowing skills to work, creating a myriad of magnificent glass art pieces, many including pipes. It was discovered around this time that the pipes that were made out of glass resulted in a better taste than regular joints and cigarettes. This discovery, in addition to Snodgrass's endless multitude of visually pleasing and unique colorful glass designs made glass pipes all the more intriguing to consumers. When the market for his colorful and creative pipes began to significantly pick up, Bob Snodgrass eventually found it best to move and open shop in Eugene, Oregon. There, he continued to sell his coveted products to the masses.

By the year 1977, the glass pipe had officially been patented. Up until the early 2000s, this notable point in time remained to be a "golden age" for glassblowers as the market was rapidly growing with the demand for pipe and bong-making at the time. 

The Revolution of Glass Pipes

While glass pipes began to grow in popularity, they weren't always and still are not always favorable to everyone due to the fact that they were drug paraphernalia and they weren't exactly legal to make, sell, or posses.

In 2003, the United States' George Bush Administration performed a nationwide sting called "Operation Pipe Dream". This sting infiltrated smoke shops and glass artists alike in order to reduce the production and distribution of drugs and drug paraphernalia across the nation.

By 2010, glass pipes became much more accessible to consumers, in addition to them sky-rocketing in production. This intricate glass art form turned high-in-demand industry was booming as pipes were creative and therefore highly enjoyable to marketers, as well as their consumers. 

The Glass Pipe Industry Today

These days, glass pipes are seen as a big part of the cannabis and tobacco industry. While most pipes are sold for $25 to $30, many pipes can go up to six digits in pricing depending on the artist and a pipe's model and design.

The history of pipes and pipe-making is extensive and filled with many twists and turns to get to where the industry is now. Today, the glass pipe-making industry is still as rich as ever with demand and endless, colorful glass-blowing creativity.
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