A percolator bong is a type of water pipe that filters the smoke before it is inhaled, often by a group of people. Big percolator bongs typically contain some form of percolate. The smoke goes up through the holes in the perc and passes over a spot where it will adhere to the inside of the glass chamber. This collects impurities and other substances out of the air before inhalation.
When percolator bongs were first created, it was unknown how to filter the smoke without a percolator. The first percolator bongs were made using a simple filter or even a glass tube, allowing the smoker to see through them and the smoke passing through from within.
The invention of the percolator began with the use of glass tubes and later on moved into using various filters to allow for greater control over the smoke’s quality.
For example, some early cigarettes would be combined with water and then applied as a wet paper filter that allowed for filtering without water. This method would allow for both continuous smoking and filtration. Other cigarette types, such as the American Spirit cigarettes, also contained a filter, which would filter out tar and nicotine so that the smoker could smoke smoother.
Other percolator designs include the double-perc bong, which is made of one large percolator and two smaller percolators stacked together to allow for more excellent filtering in the smoke. Another is the “dual-cone” design, which looks like a conventional bong with a bowl sized for use with tobacco or herb using one large cone and then another smaller hollow cone placed into it. The small cone is meant to catch passing gasses and allows for easier cleaning. The “hemp wick” design usually has no percolator and is meant to thin out the smoke with a mere hemp wick. The hemp wick may also be used for cleansing the smoke of unwanted chemicals.
Percolators were created to allow a smoother and more pure version of the smoke. The first percolators were made with glass tubes designed to resemble bones, hence why some still call them “Percs”. Multiple smaller percolators later replaced this method to create a better filtering system. One of the most significant problems with smoking is frequent tar that accumulates within a smoker’s lungs. Tobacco and marijuana smoke contains important tar, which can be fatal for a smoker. So many people attempted to ease the lungs’ impact of smoking by using percolators to filter out the tar.
In addition to the filters, percolators were also made and used to prepare the proper amount of smoke. It was common in earlier times for cigarettes to go past their prime and not be able to produce enough smoke per average smoking session. This would result in this person being unable to get enough smoke into their body as they inhale more slowly than usual.