Percolators are a type of filter used to cool and clean smoke in bongs and water pipes. There are many varieties within the cannabis consumption world and while researching the many types and histories we found ourselves going down Alice's rabbit hole to Wonderland.
Our journey started in Berkeley California with a guy named Christopher Carsterns who from what we know started PHX. PHX was from Berkeley California when his parents at the time went on a hike and came across a kid smoking pot. Caught by surprise the unknown kid left his pipe and weed which PHX's parents collected and brought home. Now supposedly PHX's parents had suspected PHX of being a stoner for a long time so they planned to plant the bubbler and weed in his room. The next day they confronted him about how they had stashed in his room. Chris denied that any of the paraphernalia was his, but he did take it and bring it to his stoner friend who worked in Berkeley college's science lab. His friend mused at the idea of placing one of the lab's percolators inside the bubbler.
That is supposed to be the story of the birth of the world's first percolator and it would probably be better if it ended here but it does not as most good things have deep stories.
PHX was smart enough to claim a patent on his design. After all nobody had ever implemented anything like this into a tube before. PHX wasn't too sure how to introduce his product into the industry so he went to Roor Dementia's shop in California which was nearby to show them his product.
From my understanding, the meeting was attended by; Richard Molino ( I have been unable to verify spelling ) a lover of glass, but not a blower, Dementia Mike who from what I gathered was the shop manager and Paul, Roor Dementia's head lathe worker. Phx introduced them to his dome perc design and they showed how it functioned to which they replied they didn't like it stating their concerns about it having too much drag or splashing.
The meeting concluded with what I imagine was a very disappointed PHX leaving, planning his next move to promote his design. What he didn't know was that Roor dementia was already trying to circumvent his patent. Their plan was to work off the patents that Roor already owned which was the glass on glass also known as a GONG setup and the diffused downstem. This essentially meant they just needed to recreate his design but replace the dome top of PHX's perc with a single down stem angled so that it could dip into a second well of water creating the world's first tree perc. From here the tree perc grew more arms and the holes popped for percolation became saw cut slits.
PHX went on to found PHX Glass a production company that featured his custom perc design later selling the business to a Canadian company and now defunct. PHX was such a success during its golden years that it had three companies; Purp, Pure, and Purr all trying to imitate him.
Roor Dementia really started to grow in popularity forcing them to outsource some parts work to Chinese manufacturers. Now Roor was originally a German company that gave a license to a shop in California known as Dementia in order to get around a drug paraphernalia import ban that happened in the 80’s called operation pipe dreams. When Roor Dementia started getting popular, they also started under-reporting sales. Roor Germany wasn't pleased to see the drop in quality coming from China imports or the under-reported sales and to add to the frustration Roor Dementia was also not sharing any of the profits from its tree perc design either.
All this led to Roor Germany terminating their contract with Dementia and to this day Roor Germany is extremely conservative when it comes to products of percs only making them upon custom order. Dementia, on the other hand, went on to form many glass companies such as Sheldon Black, Molecule, 5150, and Lux.
My source says these companies and individuals value their patents and designs highly. Phx is known to have the patent number for their dome perc on every box and Roor is well known for being the creator of the GONG system used by almost every artist in the industry today. What my Source stats concern him is the day legalization gains enough footing for PHX or ROOR to start enforcing their patents on other production businesses and individual artists who use their designs.
See our collection of percs we have in our glass terms and techniques page