Not long ago, cannabis consumption was something to keep behind closed doors. Glass shops were sparse, smoking options were limited, and any “respectable” person would keep his hobby to himself for fear of judgment.
Today, fortunately, cannabis is undergoing a radical change. As it has come out of the shadows and legalized in state after state, new products have made marijuana and its accessories something to be proud of and show off rather than hide when it comes to the company.
This is the story of the gravity bong, and how it went from a home aesthetic mess to a sophisticated and eye-catching piece of glass art.
What is Gravity Bong?
Although they sound high-tech, gravity bongs are actually some of the simplest smoking contraptions. They take advantage of gravity and create a vacuum that slowly pushes large clouds of smoke into your lungs.
These simple devices require two independent parts—a large vessel such as a bucket or deep bowl, and a smaller container, usually bottle-shaped, with an open bottom and a mouthpiece. In this small section there will also be a bowl for dry hay.
The bucket is partially filled with water, and the smaller vessel is placed inside. When the user lights his flower, he will begin to fill the small container with smoke. As the cannabis burns, the user can partially lift the smaller container to create a larger void inside, thus filling it with more smoke. When they are ready to inhale, they will remove the bowl and lower the small container into the water. By reducing its internal volume, the smoke has nowhere to go, except in the smoker’s lungs.
a smoky history
The first intrepid attempts at a gravity bong are unfortunately lost to history. but it’s not like that Ancient history. This smoking method influenced the scene in the 1990s, perhaps as a reaction to and rejection of the decade’s ubiquitous “war on drugs” and anti-marijuana propaganda.
What better way than to cling to man, finding a way to be higher than that?
The first gravity bongs were homemade, and many still are. These contraptions were often called bucket bongs, as they were made of nothing more than a bucket, a 2-liter plastic bottle with a cut-off at the bottom, and an aluminum foil-wrapped bottle cap.
While these homemade bongs were functional, they weren’t the type of home decor you want to have lying around. Plus, the hot smoke in a plastic bottle can release dangerous chemicals that users then inhale. Although the effects of this exposure are unclear, smoking with plastic is probably not the best health option.
A better gravity bong was in order.
Enter the Gravitron.
a new way to smoke
At a kitchen table in Austin, Texas in 2004, Dave Daly was working on enhancing his version of the gravity bong. He started making them in college, and after a few soul-sucking years at a subprime home mortgage, he decided to turn his invention into a true business venture.
It was called the Gravitron. Made entirely of glass, it was a cleaner, more “big” alternative to the homemade gravity bong—even though technically, it was Homemade at that time too. This was a brand new smoking device that you wouldn’t be ashamed to have on the kitchen counter. It was stripped down to a glass bottle, a vase to hold water and a glass bowl for cannabis.
His new company was called GRAV Labs (now simply Gravy) Gravitron was a flagship product of what would become a catalog of over 300 products—mostly glass-based pipes, bongs, and bubblers with a clean, modern aesthetic.
Gravitron’s Sweet Seventeen
this year, Gravitron Got a new look on the occasion of his 17th birthday. While the appearance remains sleek, these upgrades make for a more pleasant smoking experience.
The GRAV team began by increasing the thickness of the borosilicate glass by five times. It is now heavier and less fragile – a good thing, as this type of water bong is popular at parties. The bottle also has an updated platinum cure silicone grommet. It’s silky smooth and forms a nice tight seal at the bottom of the vase.
A flange on the top of the bottle makes the glass mouthpiece more comfortable to breathe in, and provides a lip for grip when you take the bottle out of the water. With a 14mm female ground joint on the medium size and a 19mm joint on the large, these are compatible with any 14mm or 19mm male bowl. (But if you don’t have one, don’t worry—it also comes with one.)
it was already First Glass gravity bong. now it’s Best Gravity Bong, too.
As cannabis use becomes more and more widespread, innovations in this area will only continue. It will be exciting to see what GRAV and other glass pipe makers come up with next.