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Children sometimes use bubble pipes in order to imitate the perceived look of adults. The toy is controversial because it is believed by some to encourage children to smoke later in life, similar to the controversy around candy cigarettes.
An 18th-century painting by Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin shows a young boy blowing a bubble out of what seems to be a pipe.
In 1918, John L. Gilchrist filed a patent for a style of bubble pipes that can be produced quickly and easily. Bubble pipes were one of the first and original mass productions of bubble blowers that became popular so that kids could imitate an adult smoker. In the 1940s, the packaging of the bubble pipes were known to be colorful and decorated in a bright style.