Smoking Pipes | What Every Puffer Should Know

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Misconceptions loom about the origins of smoking pipes and when they came into existence. Equally, convinced people believe the Russians created them 2,400 years ago. Still, others say the United States started them in the 1930s. But the truth is, smoking pipes date back over five thousand years.

With that, if you know nothing about pipes except you can use them to consume tobacco or cannabis, your knowledge leads to Africa.

Archaeological Importance of Smoking Pipes

Usually, pottery or stone smoking pipes make up archaeological artifacts of past civilizations. That is to say; the materials last a long time in the ground. Moreover, if a dating process can classify style, smoking pipes are an indication of their creation.

What Archaeological Smoking Pipes Tell Us

We see that archaeologists have classified sites into two groups. Based on the type of pipes the groups used, they have organized the Afroasiatic’s and the Nilotic’s.

On the one hand, the Afroasiatic group used an elbow-bend style characterized by a long stem from the stone, clay, or wood base. Associated with this style of smoking pipe is tobacco.

The Nilotic, on the other hand, used a barrel-style smoking pipe. These are small clay pots found in Africa’s Eastern, Southern and Central areas. Attached to the chamber, is the barrel. Hence the name. Associated with this style of smoking pipe is often cannabis.

Unlike the Afroasiatic and Nilotic groups, it is unknown if preserved earth pipes from southern Africa exist.

Earth smoking pipes from southern Africa.

The Evolution of Smoking Pipes

Accordingly, smoking pipes have come a long way. Glass and metal now replace pottery, despite it was the one-time material of choice. In turn, people started getting creative with their designs to add an artistic touch.

Related Article: Here’s What No One Tells You About Online Dispensaries

Three Types of Pipes:

Hand Pipes

Hand pipes are easy and portable, certainly making them one of the best ways to smoke on the go.


Bubblers are smoking pipes that use a flame to heat the smoke before reaching the mouthpiece. One type of bubbler has a removable bowl while the other is one piece. Similarly, both are portable and easy to clean.


The water cools off the smoke with a bong. Five pieces make up this smoking pipe:

  1. Water fills the base or bottom.
  2. Then, a tube fits into the bottom.
  3. The carb is a hole in the bottom of the pipe for clean airflow.
  4. Pack the bowl with the good-good.
  5. The percolator creates bubbles.


In conclusion, smoking pipes are an identifying symbol for Africans and a culture-marker for African Americans due to the group’s history with hemp plantations.

You can find different types of pipes on the market as a result of their evolution. The tradition is so widespread that many artists use pipes as their subject matter. Wooden, metal, and glass smoking pipes today come in different shapes and sizes. Some come with decorations such as beads, carvings, or patterns adorning them.

With that said, there is indeed a pipe for every smoker. That is to say; it’s not just the act of smoking that brings people together, but also the way they smoke together.

Do you think ancient smokers named their pipes like we do today? Let us know by dropping a picture below of your favorite smoking pipe. Don’t forget to let us know what you call it.


Master. “Top 10 Marijuana Pipes and Smoking Options.” USA Collective Supply, 20 May 2020,

“JSTOR: Access Check.” JSTOR.Org, Accessed 15 Aug. 2021.

Duvall, Chris. “Cannabis and Tobacco in Precolonial and Colonial Africa.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History, 29 Mar. 2017,,pipes%2C%20associated%20primarily%20with%20tobacco.

DUVALL, CHRIS S. The African Roots of Marijuana. Duke University Press, 2019. JSTOR, Accessed 15 Aug. 2021.

Philips, John Edward. “African Smoking and Pipes.” JSTOR, Cambridge University Press, 1983,


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