History of Bongs
Bongs like glass have a unique history of their own. A bong made of gold was found in a Russian excavation site dating back 2400 years. This is the earliest evidence of bong use. Previous to the Russian discovery the oldest bongs found were in a Ethiopian cave dating back to 1100 to 1400 CE. Throughout history bongs have been used by commoners as well as nobility, the materials used to make the water pipe being the only distinction between the classes. While some were made of gold, there were bongs made of other metals, as well as those made from bamboo, animal horn, and pottery.
In China, the bong was the preferred method to smoke tobacco and records show that Empress Dowager Cixi was buried with 3 of her water pipes. Others are on display in the Palace Museum. Water pipes of nobility were sometimes elaborately decorated using bands of silver and gold, some even being encrusted with jewels.
Water pipes made now can be made of many materials, simple or elaborate in design. Many people purchase these functional pieces of art to use, while just as many may be purchased to display. The 1960’s were a time of change to bongs and pipes. Bob Snodgrass began making blown glass pipes as he followed The Grateful Dead tour. These were small hand made works of art that still functioned as pipes. This started a change that would bring pipes and bongs to be the fantastic works of art we are used to seeing today.