The Men Who Reinvented the Glass Bong

It’s easy to pick up your sturdy old glass bong and forget just how much of collective human innovation was required for you to have to power to simply purchase that hunk of fused glass and enjoy it with ease every day in your garage or whatever. Bongs are super ancient and have been used in different ways across Africa and Asia for a good two thousand years, if not more. The common designs we see today in headshops though can be credited to a couple names, mainly Bob Snodgrass and Cameron Tower. Bob really propelled the movement of colorful, glass pipes after abandoning his lampworking career to follow the Grateful Dead tours all over America throughout the 1970’s and 80’s. Obviously he chose a perfect demographic among the Deadheads, because his new original designs of little glass pipes really took off in popularity.

By 1993 Snodgrass had already decided to settle down in Eugene, Oregon to enjoy some serenity. Cameron Tower, however, was on his way to learn a thing or two from Snodgrass. By the time Tower did arrive, Snodgrass was hard at work trying to perfect a primitive water pipe, but was as of yet unsatisfied with the shape of it in one’s hand. Tower made a bold move of fusing the apparatus into one piece of glass and the finished product resembled a hammer which could fit and be smoked out of in your hand. It wasn’t for another whole year that Tower along with the help of other artists gave birth to the universal and classic appearance of a bong: the long tube extending out of a large bubble base, with a stem and bowl, all fused together.

From there with, Tower’s contributions, Bob Snodgrass eventually came to discover some interesting ways of fusing color into the glass by using gold and silver, and the creativity in the market never stopped growing from there. As with many human activities, people feel a need to constantly improve their skills and push the boundaries, so today you can find ridiculously huge and intricate pieces of glass artwork which you could even smoke out if you wanted.