Thank You, Ming Dynasty: The History of Bongs

It was in the 16th century in China, and a new method of smoking tobacco and other plants was invented, and it’s one that is still around today, and probably isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

It was during the late Ming Dynasty that the first bongs were used to smoke tobacco and other substances. The Chinese were obviously pretty innovative when it came to smoking, understanding that filtering the smoke through water allowed for a very pleasurable smoking experience. I’m a huge fan, of course, so I find the history of this particular subject fascinating.

Many of the original water pipes were made out of bamboo, and these were the ones typically used by the common people. However, it wasn’t only the commoners who used this method of smoking, and the more elite and wealthy wanted a more elegant way of smoking through a water pipe. Because of this, they crafted their smoking accessories out of metal, which gave them a class distinction from those who were smoking out of the bamboo pieces.

Today, of course, these same smoking systems have advanced quite a bit. The cheaper of them is typically made of plastic with a metal stem, while the best, and more expensive, versions are usually made out of some form of glass with a glass stem. Glass, of course, provides a much tastier smoking experience where you get the full flavor of the tobacco, or other plant, when you place the flame on the bowl.

Next time you sit down with friends to have a good smoke with your favorite bong, maybe you should thank the Chinese for their ingenuity in the 1500s. After all, without those brilliant Chinese people, you wouldn’t have this wonderful invention to smoke out of.