In preparation of The Big Game, we’ve got bowls on the brain. Whether you’re into football or not, it seemed like an appropriate time to pay homage to the bowl we all know and love.
First off, some semantics.
When we say “bowl,” we’re referring to the bowl-shaped opening of a piece. The word bowl is often used to describe the entirety of a piece, namely, a hand pipe. But there are also water pipes and bongs, which utilize a bowl. In this case, it’s only the slide piece that’s called a bowl—not the piece as a whole. If it sounds confusing, it can be! Just remember, a bowl is the place you pack your flower.
For fun, here’s a look at one of the oldest bowls on record: a wooden brazier. This bowl would be filled with hot coals. The cannabis would then burn on top while the wafting smoke was inhaled from above.
According to Popular Science, 10 of these were found in Western China, with most containing evidence of THC. They date back as far as 500 BCE!
Today, we’ve come a long way from the brazier. Glass spoon pipes are arguably the most common form of bowl. Pocket-sized and low maintenance, they’re an easy go-to. They range from utterly basic, like this simple bowl from Dankstop.com…
…to beautifully intricate, like this Bee Hive bowl from grasscity.com…
…to literal SUPER bowls, like this 15” giant from MAV’s glass….
And just because we’re on the subject of size… let’s not leave out the world’s biggest bong. (If you’re planning to visit Vegas any time soon, you can see this work of art in person!) Those who use cannabis strictly for wellness might not gravitate towards this type of cannabis culture. Yet once you explore the ultimate glassblowing challenge behind it, it becomes a different story! There’s just something extra beautiful about the combination of plant medicine and the artistry of glass. No one understands that artistry better than our friend Jason Harris.
Glass Bowls, and the Piper Movement
Not only did Jason Harris play a big part in the making of the aforementioned biggest bong in the world, he also founded one of the most revered glass design companies in the market: Jerome Baker Designs. Jason began JBD in the early 90’s, when Jerry Garcia’s sudden death left him without a band to follow, or a venue to sell his work. He teamed up with several other glass artists he’d met during Dead Tour, and the rest is history. A LOT of history.
On the theme of bowls… we thought Jason may have juuuuust a few insights to offer! Here’s what he had to say on history on the glass bowl:
We call it the Piper Movement, and it all began with Bob Snodgrass.
To back up a bit, borosilicate glass—the glass we use for pipes and bongs—was developed in Germany for the scientific industry in the mid-to-late 1800’s. It’s what’s used for beakers and test tubes; it’s resistant to thermal shock. In other words, you could heat it to extreme temperatures, and it wouldn’t break. Perfect for a pipe.
In the early 90’s, right around the time the good Dutch cannabis was finding its way into the US, this ‘Bob Snodgrass’ character came out and did a certain style of bowl. It’s a bit technical… but basically, he made a special bowl that allowed you to smoke weed (and pass it around) without the glass heating up. You could wipe it clean with a rag and smoke again. When I began in 1991, there were about four to eight total colors. Fast forward 30 years, and we have over 1000 colors in the palette. The scene, as you know, has exploded. And it’s all because of the Piper Movement.
Because of Jason’s history with glass, we also asked him for any tips on purchasing a quality piece. Jason’s advice?
Start at your local smoke shop. If they are carrying a good variety, you’ll be able to tell. It’s like entering a Whole Foods versus a 7-11. Good smoke shops educate their people; they’ll have someone good behind the counter who can help you understand what the different levels of glass are. Even for me, I have simple things I use on the daily, as well as the nice piece at the house I’ll break out for special occasions. It’s definitely a learning experience; figuring out the glass. It’s kinda like a guitar. Go for a no-name guitar, and you get what you pay for. Go with a Gibson, or a handmade guitar from a top guitar maker? You get what you pay for. The same goes for glass.
We highly enjoyed talking with Jason of Jerome Baker Designs. He is just as passionate about glass education as he is about glass creation! If you’re in the market for a new piece, JBD has a range of bowls to fit every budget. (But wow, some of Jason’s high end works of art will make you drool!)
A word on price
Bowls (and the bongs that can accompany them) range in price from, well, free (if you carve your own), to more cash than most people see in their lifetime. Have fun scrolling through this awesome roundup of the most expensive bongs on the market!
If you already have a beloved piece… here’s a SUPER bowl pro-tip:
Before you pack it, clean it!
Long-time glass bowl owners: when was the last time you gave your piece a bath? Google the right way to clean a glass bowl, and you’ll get a hundred different how-to videos using a variety of products. We’ll just save you time and tell you the simplest way to scrub away built-up resin using an ingredient you likely already have: Salt!
Saltwater Bowl Cleanse
- Rinse your bowl under very hot water, strong water pressure helps if it’s available.
- Place your bowl in a zip-loc bag. Fill it full enough with that super-hot water until it’s fully submerged.
- Add roughly 1/3 cup salt to the water and close the bag. Coarse sea salt works best, but any salt will do.
- Ensure the pipe remains submerged. You can rest the bag inside a small box or container to help it stay upright. Wait at least one hour. The bag will turn murky as the residue detaches.
- Remove your pipe and rinse under hot water. For super stubborn residue, you may need a longer soak… feel free to leave it overnight! You can also try filling the bowl and its stem with coarse sea salt, then agitating it with your fingertip or a pipe cleaner before re-soaking.
- When the grime appears to have vacated your glass, give your piece a final rinse and enjoy its shiny new appearance.
LEFT: This ‘lil bowl is overdue for a cleanse.
RIGHT: One simple saltwater bath later… look at the difference!
Now back to the game…
Some of us love football. Others are just in it for the commercials and the half-time show. No matter which category you fall into, if you’re a cannabis fan, these medicated corn dog muffins are our top choice for a game-day treat.