History and Evolution of glass pipes

Historically clay and wood pipes were more popular because of the flavors they could add to the experience. As agriculture improved so did the natural flavors of tobacco, flavored tobacco that were smoked around the world. Once it became more reasonable to pick the flavor you want by picking the type of tobacco that had the flavor you wanted it became less necessary to pick a pipe that would influence the flavor. Gass is not porous and will not burn meaning it will not affect the flavor of the smoke. It also proved to be convenient that glass would also have a longer life as a pipe due to the same factors that keep it from changing the flavor fo the smoke.

Early glass pipes were all colored in some way. Silica sand used to make clear glass today was not yet understood. The discovery of glass was likely a result of volcanic activity or lightning strikes on sand. As a result, early glass was made from volcanic glass or whatever sand happened to be laying around, literally. Since this meant all glass available would have a color the only way to not have a color you didn’t want was to change the entire color of the piece. While it was possible, and likely to have a multi-colored piece it was not possible to have a piece without color.

In addition to the lack of transparent options, early glass pipes suffered from simplicity. Early glass working could only be made by carving from a single piece, or made from an extremely simple mold. Glass working was more difficult than blacksmithing with a small imperfection in a piece ruining the piece and the materials as well. While a smith could always melt down his metal and try again glass did not always have that option. As a result, early glass work always had small relatively simple pieces at quite high costs.

Over time as Glass Crafting gave way to Glass Blowing it opened up completely new options. No longer was a damaged glass item wasted, and glass was no longer limited to small items. With glassblowing, items could become larger and more elaborate because it now meant working with a flexible item that could have material added or taken away with greater ease. It also makes it more feasible to recycle broken glass items to make new items. The invention and expansion of ideas like blown glass also allow for greater options in coloring specific parts of the glass separate from other parts leading to more elaborate designs. With old glass crafting methods, it could be ambitious and risky to your piece to want an angled burn cup or a carburetor on your pipe. Not with modern glass blowing you can have a pipe as large as yourself and elaborate enough to get Rube Goldberg excited.