Chillums are straight tube-shaped pipes that were traditionally made of clay, stone, or wood. They were invented in India and used by Hindu Monks (sadhu) for hundreds of years. The Sadhus would smoke a blend of charas and tobacco. Traditional Indian Chillums are accompanied by a conical stone and a wet piece of cloth known as a saffi. These two items were used so that charas would not get into sadhus mouth. The Hindu god, Shiva, is considered to be the god of Charas. Shiva invokes the chillum smoking ceremony, and as Sadhus smoke, they yell out “box blended” or “Bom Shankar.” They believe the more charas they smoke, the closer to shiva they get.
Chillum Stones have been used in both India and Africa for filtering out the Charas when smoked. The chillum stone is a low-tech, tight-fitting conical shaped, flat top, and a small hole drilled through it with slits down the sides.
The traditional way to use a chillum is to make a fist shape and put the chillum in between your fingers and your mouth, sucking between the thumb and pointer finger. When smoking in a group, this helps not transfer germs from mouth to mouth because no one's mouth is touching the chillum.
The modern-day chillum, as we know it, has morphed from many different incarnations. Starting in India as a straight tube made of clay, and further being refined in Africa to be made of gourds and horns. Once it came to America in the 1960s, the most popular chillums were made of hand-carved bamboo.
For the people who want to use a one-hitter but don't want to break a glass piece, we carry metal-style cigarette bats typically used in din dugouts. They look like an actual cigarette but are made of metal and have a one-hitter style bowl in the end. They are so small they will literally fit anywhere. Being made of metal, they will never break, and you can get decades of smoke sesh from one.
A step above our metal cigarette bats is our smokeless bullet one-hitters. They are made of a metal chamber with a rubber mouthpiece on one end and a lid on the other end. You unscrew the lid and load the chamber, then screw the lid back on. The lid has a hole in the middle that you can use a lighter to heat your smokable herbs with. You can preload the pipe and not have to worry about spilling or carrying dry herbs with you. They will never break and are perfect for when you need a quick smoke when out and about.
Today's chillums are mostly made of hand-blown glass. The advancement of glass blowing techniques made sense for chillums to morph from bamboo to glass.
The largest portion of one-hitters sold today is made of pyrex glass. They are hand blown into many different shapes and designs, but the function remains the same. Like classic Indian chillums, our modern-day glass chillums are made in a straight tube shape with a slight divot on the end that is used as a bowl.
Modern-day glass chillums come in a vast array of designs. The more simple pyrex glass chillums are nothing more than a straight glass tube with a pinch in the end that acts as a bowl. They may be fumed with silver or gold that allows the one-hitter to change colors when used. Thicker inside out chillums are made using a thicker glass tube that is blown out, and intricate designs are created on the inside of the glass tube. The glass tube is then closed up and made into the final shape that will be the one-hitter.
There are numerous techniques and styles used in modern-day inside out chillums. Frit chillums are made when small pieces of glass are put into the blown-out glass tube and melted in. The fritted glass can be a solid color or multi-color designs mixed with other glass blowing techniques. Cane work is when you use colored sticks of glass called “cane” and “draw” designs inside the blown-out tube. Taking this technique one step further, latticinio is different colors of cane twisted into a new rod that is multi-colored and gives a more contrasted look to the process.
Dichroic glass is used in many pyrex chillums. Dichroic glass, or dichro for short, is a glass strip that appears in different colors when viewed at different angles. It can come in rainbow colors and adds almost a glittery, sparkly effect when sued in glass bats.
The invention of the glass blunt is one of the newest ideas in chillums. Glass blunts have become huge sellers in today's pipe market. A glass blunt is a straight tube with a mouthpiece on one end and another inner tube that slides in and out of it. You pull the glass tube with the mouthpiece almost all the way out of the other and load the empty tube-like packing a cigarette. Unlike a chillum, a glass blunt holds way more smoke-able herbs. As you smoke, you can push the glass tube out and empty the ash. Thus being able to smoke the entire thing like an actual blunt, but without using a blunt wrap.
There are many advantages to using a chillum. There are no complicated parts to deal with as it is just a single glass tube shape with a hole on one end and bowl shape on the other. Most chillums' size makes it very portable and a great choice for traveling, hiking, or camping. You can keep it in your pocket, and either has a bowl preloaded or pack the bowl while on the go.
Unlike glass pipes, a chillum can easily be stored or stashed just about anywhere. There are many models with lower price points that are great for people on a budget. For these reasons, glass one-hitters are popular with college students. Today chillums are widely used on college campuses for their ease of use, price point, and portability. Even if you can't smoke inside your dorm or building chillums, make it very easy to sneak outside for a quick smoke.
For concerts, festivals, and shows, chillums can't be beaten. They are easy to get into the venue due to their smaller size, and they can easily be passed around your circle of friends while enjoying a sesh during your favorite music.
Many modern-day glass blowing companies have started to add chillums to their product lines. Companies like Empire Glassworks, Mathematix, Gravlabs, and many more have begun to do elaborately themed chillums made of hand-carved glass emblazoned with characters themed to look like modern pop culture icons.
Chillums have one of the longest-running histories of modern-day pipes used today. With there many styles and designs and ease of portability, no wonder they are one of the top-selling glass pipes in today's market.