People often ask me what's the big deal with glass pipes and bongs. Taste and ease of cleaning comes immediately to mind.
Glass seems to carry less aftertaste when smoking. As a youth I remember constructing brass pieces from hardware stores to make my pipes. Lovely flavour, if you enjoy licking ashtrays! Glass produces the "cleanest" taste, particularly if the tool is kept clean.
With glass, you are easily able to see what resin build up occurs. This means that you are able to clean it before it gets too sticky to clear. Using a wee bit of grain alcohol and a traditional pipe cleaner, it all comes out with minimal effort.
Before hand-blown glass bongs emerged, glass was primarily used for really bad stuff... I once had an ignorant, racist (same thing, eh?) cop pull me over and search my car. He found a glass bubbler, and immediately assumed I was Pookie from "New Jack City".
Even though I told him rest assured, "I do not smoke the coke, I only smoke the sinsemilla!" I was still written a citation (haha, I don't live here!) for paraphenalia possession and the cop placed my Oregon hand blown volcanic ash bong in his bag.... For what? To use as a flower vase?
The glass piece shown above is clearly not one thats an easy clean, nevertheless shows how amazing glass can be! Image courtesy of RooR.