The Story of Illadelph Glass: Part One

Illadelph glass bong beside close-up view of bong's base

Illadelph Glass has been around since 2002. In the years since their founding they have made a name for themselves through their many innovations and their unrelenting commitment to producing what they call “high end… functional borosilicate glass art”. Their innovations include the introduction of coil condensers, disc perc technology, multi-hole bowl designs, pyramid percs, up stem ash catchers and more which have made their bongs some of the most highly sought after on the US market. In this post the team at the 710 Pipes headshop in Denver take a close look at maybe the most important bong manufacturer in the US.

Innovating the Bong Industry

From the start the people behind Illadelph Glass have been committed to not only creating the highest quality glass bongs, but to advancing the glass blowing industry as a whole and by just about all accounts they have succeeded. They deliberately established themselves in Philadelphia’s historic Old City which has a long affiliation with fine and contemporary art. Their very name (“Illadelph” as in Ph-”iladelph”-ia) reinforces the company’s relationship with the city’s arts center and they hold exhibits of their latest creations, alongside the work of other glass artists, in the company gallery on the first Friday of each month.

Illadelph is known for two things: applying new technologies and aesthetic ideas to the design and production of glass pipes, and for being so expensive that they are as close to being “exclusive” as any piece of cannabis paraphernalia has ever been. The company justifies the cost of their creations by noting the amount of time, research and talent that goes into the production of their pipes, along with the undeniable quality of their finished product, and they certainly have a valid arguments there.

The bottom line is that if you want an Illadelph glass bong you are going to have to fork over some real money for it. That is, if you can find one. Because Illadelph does not retail their creations through just any old online smoke shop. Instead, they are as picky about the retailers they work with as they are about quality control. Which is why they choose to partner with 710 Pipes.

The Fusion of Science & Art

The team at Illadelph approaches the design and engineering of their heady glass from as much a scientific perspective as an aesthetic one. While they are certainly cognizant of the need to create visually appealing glass pipes that will reflect well on both the company and the customers who invest in them, they are also dedicated to enhancing and advancing the glass blowing industry as a whole. The result of this dual focus is a line of pipes that express in clean, clear forms the power of fusing art with science.

American-Made Through and Through

Besides the stunning quality of their glass pipes, another reason for their high-end price tag is that they are designed and made entirely in the US and the company owners wouldn’t have it any other way. In their opinion the best glass blowers, the ones who are pushing the art form forward, are right here in the United States. Even the company’s distinctive custom die-cut packaging and clips are made in America, right outside Philly.

How to Know You’re Buying Real Illadelph Heady Glass

We live in a time when virtually every single product and brand logo is being pirated and distributed as the real thing in countless online retail shops, not to mention brick and mortar stores the world over. Which raises the question: Just how do you know that you bought a real Illadelph pipe and not a fake? There are actually several things you can look for.

Start with the packaging: Real Illadelph pipes come in very handsome one-of-a-kind boxes with the company’s name and logo emblazoned on them. If your pipe arrives in a plain, cheap-looking box or any of the wording on the box is misspelled you’ve likely got a fake.

Packing part II: A real Illadelph glass bong comes with foam inserts inside that very expensive box that hold the pipe snugly in place to prevent it from being damaged during shipping. If the box your pipe came in does not have these precisely cut foam inserts it’s not an Illadelph.

The sticker: Every Illadelph pipe has a tamper proof holographic sticker attached to it. No one producing cheap knockoffs is going to spend the time and money to create something like this. If your pipe does not have a tamper proof sticker on it, it’s likely a fake.

QR codes: Not long ago Illadelph was forced to ramp up their game in order to protect the integrity of their brand against knock-offs from China that have found their way onto the market. That includes adding a QR code to every pipe shipped. The buyer can then scan this QR code with their phone and it will take them to the Illadelph website where they’ll be informed which Illadelph retailer the pipe was assigned to. If the store does not match the store you bought the pipe from it’s likely a fake.

Finally, decals: Illadelph adds decals to every one of their pipes. These decals are very detailed, free of errors and carefully affixed to the pipe. If the decal on your pipe is simplistic, not perfectly placed or includes imperfections the pipe is most likely a fake.

You’re going to pay a headshop a premium price for your Illadelph bong, make sure you get the real thing.

Looking Ahead

In Part 2 of our look at pipe makers Illadelph we’ll explore the cultural impact of these exceptional bongs, what makes them so expensive and yet so in-demand and provide some more tips on how to avoid falling for one of the growing number of counterfeit Illadelph pipes currently popping up at online smoke shops.

Of course the easiest way to ensure you are getting a genuine, handcrafted, world-class Illadelph glass bong is to buy it from an authorized retailer like 710 Pipes here in Denver.

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