A hookah is an ancient Indian or Persian device sometimes known as a water pipe. Used for smoking tobacco, the hookah is a traditional feature in many Middle Eastern countries.How does this pipe work?
Many centuries ago, the hookah was invented in India or Persia and is sometimes called an argila or shisha. The hookah is a water pipe that draws tobacco smoke through water, which acts as a partial filter and cooling agent. There are several key parts of the water pipe and its operation.
- Vase: The vase of the shisha is a glass container which is filled with water. The water should cover the long metal stem through the center of the vase called a down pipe.
- Down Pipe: The down pipe conveys the heated tobacco smoke from a small bowl at the top of the pipe to the bottom of the water in the vase, where it is cooled.
- Bowl: Smoking tobacco is heated in a clay or ceramic container at the top of the down pipe. The user draws the smoke from the bowl through the down pipe. The tobacco smoke then passes through the water, which both cools and filters it.
- Hose: As the tobacco smoke rises through the water, it reaches the opening of one or more hoses attached to the sides of the shisha. From there, the smoke passes through the hose and into the mouth of the user.
The hookah hose conveys smoke to the mouth of the user. Although hose hookahs traditionally come with one hose for smoking, they may feature multiple hoses for a shared experience. Throughout the Middle East and India, the hose hookah is associated with welcoming guests and providing entertainment.What other kinds of pipes are there?
In addition to being distinguished by the number of outlets they have, shishas come in different styles often based on their country of origin or the major materials of which they are made.
- Egyptian: Often handcrafted, Egyptian shishas are considered fairly traditional in their design. With long, flowerlike stems, Egyptian pipes are often made of steel, brass, or copper, or a mixture of these metals.
- Syrian: Similar in general style to the Egyptian model, the Syrian style is also long and slender, but its hose ports attach at a distinctively sharp angle to the body of the pipe.
- Nontraditional: These hose hookahs are often made of lighter stainless steel and feature a check valve system that allows for more efficient operation of unused hoses while smoking. The decorative elements may be more futuristic or novel than the traditional designs.