American vs. Chinese Made Bongs and Other Glass
American made bongs or Chinese made counterparts? This is a common questions that a lot of customers, both new and old ask. The main reason people as this questions is pricing, imported Chinese or Indian made glass bongs tend to be much cheaper that the American made glass pipes. The tradeoff that you typically see is a much lower level of quality within Chinese made glass water pipes. You can find many arguments on the Internet discussing the difference between American made and Chinese made glass.
As mentioned above, pricing is the easiest to notice difference in the pieces and this difference comes down to two things: the quality of the glass creation and the quality of the glass itself. Quite the opposite to an American made glass blowing studio, Chinese glassblowing studios focus on producing glass products in the cheapest manner possible. This is typically achieved with the lowest quality supplies available, thinly blown glass, and minimal consideration to structure and durability.
A Chinese glass pipe and an American pipe can sometimes look exactly the same, as Chinese manufacturers do not usually focus on their own original designs. However, the connection points, internal chamber, and the percolators are usually much more fragile on a Chinese glass pipe. This results in frequent breaks.
As mentioned above, American glass usually comes at a higher price tag than imported glass. The two main reasons for this: 1) American glassblowers typically use higher quality materials and blow glass at a higher average thickness; and 2) the cost of American labor is much higher than the cost of Labor in China. When buying American glass, you are typically paying a premium for the glassblowers talent & skill.
In addition to paying for the higher quality and the glassblowers skills, you are also paying to keep jobs here in America. There are no machines that can produce a glass water pipe. As such, all intricate and functional glass is produced by hand, by a human. Your support helps keep this people employed and all helps to continue the amazing art of glassblowing here in America.
The Art of Glassblowing
Glassblowing is a time consuming art form that takes an incredible amount of care and attention to detail. Additionally, nobody can just wake up one day and start doing it, it takes years just to become a decent glassblower, and ten times as long to become a master. The actual process of melting glass, blowing glass, and annealing it to the kiln also takes a startling amount of time. This time compounds as you add in the intricate design and processes associated with making percolators.
In China, glassblowing is not an art, it is a manufacturing job. Workers there do not desire to produce art or contribute to the long history, it is simply a means to get a paycheck. Customers here in America consider glass blowing to be an art and glassblowers here in America take price in their creations and honing their skills. Chinese factories do not focus on creating or innovation, they typically steal existing designs from images online or samples sent to them by companies. By buying American glass, you are contributing to the continuing efforts of American glassblowers and helping to keep this amazing art form along for years to come.