The Slider System series of paper-less cigarette’s hand-blown glass tubes presents by far the most modern and functional re-design of a known smoking product. Placing Second for Best Glass at the 2010 High Times Medical Cannabis Cup in San Francisco, each piece is individually crafted by the artists at the Home Blown Glass company, suiting all tastes and levels of consumption. Gone are the days of hacking and choking over a bowl of well-grown ganja, as the Slider delivers a smooth, efficient and effective hit with each and every toke.
Paper-less blunts and cigarettes have been on the market for decades but they never really caught on; that is, until Fred of Home Blown Glass decided to put countless hours into comparing old designs and brainstorming ways to improve upon them. Eventually he delivered the perfect alternative to paper-rolled joints for even those who perhaps aren't usually into glass. Easy to use and even easier to clean, the Slider is one of those cool gadgets that every smoker should have. Fred shared his story, and that of the genesis of my now-favorite piece of glass, with Soft Secrets USA.
The Cannabis world rarely experiences revolutionary products. When they do arrive, it’s usually to some fanfare, considering how information spreads in underground communities. With the Slider, however, success has come with less of a bang and more of a, well, puff of smoke.
Fred, founder of Home Blown Glass and the creative mind behind the Slider, has had a long personal history with Cannabis and its beneficial effects. “After going to school for holistic health and working with patients who had written off allopathic [traditional, Western] medicine, I became aware of how well Cannabis helped people gain relief from a variety of conditions. I met Jack Herer in 1989 and he blew me away with The Emperor Wears No Clothes, as it was validation for what I had seen and believed.
“Shortly after our meeting a friend introduced me to Neville’s original strains, which I faithfully grew and passed on to as many people as I could. By 1997 I was caretaker for over 50 people with every thing from AIDS, cancer, chronic pain, MS, depression, alcoholism, glaucoma, etc. Considering the destitute state in which many of these people were, prices [ranged] from free to half the black market value.”
However, the dream of helping people with affordable, natural medicine turned into a nightmare when Fred was busted for cultivation. He recalls, “Even though I obtained a Cannabis dealer's license from [my home] state, I was unable to use it in my defense after a commercial supplier turned me in to stay out of jail. I [had been sitting] on my couch reading a book on contemporary glassblowing when the officers… broke through my front door, nearly shooting my dogs in the process.”
Luckily, the strong survive, and a combination of Fred’s passion for both glassblowing and helping patients led to the creation of his company. “Within two months I had turned my hobby into Home Blown Glass. We were lucky in our state that paraphernalia is [considered] multi-use items and not… illegal unless used with illegal substances.”
Freedom was not wasted on Fred, as he went straight to work researching the glass market and ]trying to figure out exactly what was missing. “After several years [of] manufacturing bowls and traditional pipes, the inexpensive foreign products began flooding the market,” he remembers. Cheap imports lower the overall quality of the market, are often easily broken and sometimes even rely upon sweatshops or child labor for production. The benefits of supporting local glassblowers extend, therefore, beyond simple differences in quality or being able to choose your favorite color.
“This worry was a catalyst in us rethinking a 1970’s design, marketed under several names over a few decades, [including] the Paperless Cigarette, EZ Slide and Slider. This product had seen a resurgence on the market as a Glass Blunt, but fundamentally there was little difference with its design in over 30 years. So, with the insistence and constant badgering of my friend Glaucoma Jim, we redesigned this old product.”
So what is it exactly that upgrades users from the duplicate products of the past? Fred elaborates: “We eliminated the vinyl sleeve, shrink wrap, rubber grommet, the plastic piece used to hold the tubes together – that makes you choke when you get to the juicy bits. We replaced it with a stainless steel clip that acts as a spring, screen and carb. This change is revolutionary as now you can back-load your herbs and never have to put fresh
The Slider family consists of three main types: Sliders, Blunt Sliders and Magnum Sliders. All are hand-blown, with three fused marbles for easier handling. The marbles aren't just functional – the aesthetic details of each piece are complemented by a wide range of available colors, from fumed to colorless to amethyst or emerald, as well as carefully-crafted critters ranging from penguins to frogs to dinosaurs. Pieces may even be special ordered to perfectly match your personality.
Sliders can be purchased online (contact Chuck at Slidershop.com) or even from various retailers in Amsterdam, if you're looking for gifts and souvenirs while on vacation. Due to their compact size (2.5˝ or 3.5˝), ease of use and portability, the Slider family appeals to all consumers from light medical users to heavy recreational smokers. However, the Cannabis community isn't the only one to enjoy and benefit from this little glass tube.
These days many people are researching tobacco alternatives, or even ways to stop using tobacco altogether by means of smoking or vaporizing a combination of herbs. Fred is highly enthusiastic about the positive implications of the Slider with regards to lung- and upper airway health, whether for medical patients or simply long-term smokers and tokers who want to cut back. “[I]t's concentrate friendly for a mix of solids, pollens and oils,” he points out.
“My favorite video, 'Slider Layer Cake,' shows 60 herbs used by Native Americans to treat physical and mental problems. The Slider is a multifunctional smoking tool. People tell me how they smoke coltsfoot to treat their asthma and how they kicked cigarettes with a lobelia ['asthma weed'] and mullein mix. Doctors in California have told me, if you are going to smoke there is not a better tool to use, because of the natural filter. There is even a large following of people who enjoy vaporizing with a Slider.”
The Slider appeals to the full range of smoking customers. Rarely can a glass product cross so comfortably through most, if not all of the subcultures of the Cannabis community. Joint smokers, glass purists; even those trying to quit long-standing tobacco habits will all enjoy its compact size, sleek design and modern improvement upon an old idea. Besides, it's easier to carry, and conceal, than your favorite three-foot party bong.