The first hookahs probably come from India which is also where the term “hookah” come from. The initial hookahs were very simple. They were usually of a coconut shell and a tube leading through one hole in the nut shell. Opium and hashish were primarily meant to be the filling for these hookahs. Later, hookah served for smoking of pure wet tobacco. Burning charcoals used to be put directly on the tobacco (no foil or metal grid were used).
Hookahs gained their contemporary shape about 500 ago in Turkey. A hose and a vase were added. Hookahs spread gradually to Lebanon and Syria where another famous term for it comes from – a narghile. Once it got on African continent (Egypt, Morocco), the last of the three most famous terms for smoking water pipe emerged – a shisha. Already 300 years ago hookahs were a favourite attraction in Turkish “coffee rooms”. In many Arabian countries, hookahs have been designated for men’s society only.Wider penetration of hookahs to American and European markets occurred considerably later, about 50 years ago. Present hookahs look like the Turkish models 500 years ago more or less. The range of fillings has been considerably widened though; thus a plenty of tobacco brands and flavours are available these days.
We can classify hookahs according several parameters. Probably the most common parameter is the height of the hookahs. Most of the web stores thus offer categories such as “small hookahs”, “medium hookahs”, “large hookahs”, and/or “extra large hookahs” (one complete range of hookahs according to this criterion can be found on www.hookahsworld.com). Logically, the higher the hookah is, the higher the price is. However, we always have to consider the materials used, quality of processing, originality of design etc. High quality and original hookah then may cost similar price like some ordinary pipe from XXL category. It’s an incorrect superstition that extra tall hookahs (over 100 cm) must be a lot more unstable than small ones during smoking. The contrary is truth in fact. Very big hookahs are usually more stable due to bigger weight and wider bottom of the glass base. For additional increase in stability, some manufacturers produce glass bases with extra wide bottom in order to prevent the hookah from toppling (you can discuss this issue in hookah forum). In fact, small hookahs topple more likely as they are usually very light and their hoses are generally short so the smoking from them must be more careful.
We can also classify hookahs according to the country of their origin. Variety of products makes every market more interesting. Each country with proper hookah tradition produces slightly different types of hookahs nowadays. Experienced smokers, tea lounge owners or business men can immediately tell whether a hookah come from Egypt, Turkey, India, Syria, or China etc. In Europe the Egyptian hookahs are probably the most popular type. On the contrary, for example Chinese hookahs are very rare here.
Tags: hookah, hookah smoking, shisha