Micah resolved the problem by stacking several smaller globes in a vertical array, slowing the water’s descent and eliminating the recoil. He refined this design to eventually resemble a continuous tube with a series of thick restrictions. Micah named his creation the ladder perc, because water climbs through each bubbler chamber during use. When Micah shared an early prototype with Dave Daily, Dave knew right away what an elemental structure Micah had built. The simple elegance of the pipe’s mechanics impressed and fascinated Dave, and his positive feedback encouraged Micah to move forward with the design. Together they conceived the Upline, a clean and reproducible version of the ladder perc, and it has been a centerpiece in GRAV’s catalog ever since.
Micah is now a senior designer on GRAV’s Product Development team and has grown the Upline into an entire family of products. Each hand pipe, water pipe, and bubbler features the same distinctive restrictions that ripple light and capture color. The extra-thick tubing and ergonomic mouthpieces give each design superior hand-feel and weight. The line has been hugely successful, reflecting GRAV’s pursuit of affordable luxury, and lessons learned from the Upline’s development will drive and inform GRAV’s projects in the future.
The essence of each Helix design is a Venturi chamber with three air-intake holes pushed into the widest point of the curve. These holes pull air into the chamber to cool and spin the smoke, making hits smoother, bowls last longer, and the iconic smoke pattern that fans worldwide associate with Helix. Dave saw the potential to reapply the Helix design across every glass category, and GRAV has grown the line from a single pipe to a family of products, featuring a one-hitter, bubbler, steamrollers, water pipes, and modular hand pipe set. Along the way, Helix has driven GRAV to find new means to source glass, build partnerships, and think purposefully about our catalog and audience.
In 2016, Stephan Peirce, Director of Product Development at GRAV, led a redesign of the Helix family. We launched three new water pipes with a focus on performance, along with a trio of hand pipes that bring Helix function to new and more affordable formats. In an industry of imitators, we are doing more to defend our proprietary technology and designs, because the future of Helix belongs to GRAV.
Dave spent the better part of 2004 cutting glass, assembling Gravitrons, and selling them to local head shops. As he became more confident working with glass and more familiar with the American pipe industry, Dave began to hire glass artists and head shop veterans to assist him. They named their fledgling company Grav Labs.
It was difficult to make the business profitable off the back of only one product, so Dave was eager to diversify the Grav Labs catalog. First came the taster, a fun and simple chillum that was inexpensive to make and could sell in any shop. Next was a line of simple tubes, adding more glass workers and full-sized lathes to our hot shop. But it was only with the creation of the Helix hand pipe that GRAV’s branding and aesthetic came into focus. Dave redefined his vision for the business and began to position GRAV as a comprehensive scientific glass company for a more modern and inclusive audience.
GRAV has since become a mainstay in the pipe industry and a champion for legitimizing and servicing the global community of smokers. Our iconic brands and prolific designs appeal to consumers of every age, sex, budget, and walk of life. We have built partnerships with artists and companies all over the world, and we work each day to make our field more professional and imaginative. Dave’s dream of creating a household name is within reach, and we are dedicated to crafting the perfect piece for every member of the GRAV family.