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It all started in 1957 when Dan Gullbongs, cycling up the Swiss Alps, encountered monks who specialized in forging titanium.

With his interest piqued, Dan spent months learning how to forge titanium in the Swiss monastery. When he returned to California, he had perfected making unbreakable water pipes. Dangle Supply, a company that makes titanium pipes and bongs, was born.

Well, at least that’s the story three Bozeman guys will tell you about how their company started.

The real story is a bit less mystical, but perhaps truer to the ethos of their budding company.

In 2017, Adam Sklar was joking around with his friend, Colin Frazer, about how hikers love to dangle items on their backpacks.

Anything from mugs, water bottles to pairs of boots hooked on with carabiners.

“So, we’re like, what’s the funniest thing you could hang off of your backpack? It would be funny if it was a bong,” Frazer said. “Adam had wanted to learn how to weld titanium.”

Sklar builds custom bikes out of a store front in north Bozeman and liked the challenge of welding an indestructible bong to dangle triumphantly off a backpack.

But then others caught wind.

“It turned out people actually wanted them,” Sklar said.

And so the company creating titanium pipes and water pipes specifically for outdoor and backcountry enthusiasts, which started as a joke, took off.

The bongs and pipes are manufactured in China, and the company has grown to include a variety of “cannabis-adjacent” products, clothing, titanium mugs, stickers and some limited outdoor gear.

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A hat and titanium bong designed by Dangle Supply sit inside the shop on Monday, July 19, 2021.

“We realized that we were at this nexus of weed and outdoor culture, and nobody seemed to be in that space,” Frazer said. “It became obvious that there was a real niche for business.”

Overall, there’s been shift in the attitude toward cannabis, and its paraphernalia, especially since many states in the U.S., including Montana, have legalized marijuana, Frazer said.

With cannabis use becoming more mainstream, so did the demand for quality, well-made products, Sklar said.

“Most grownups like nice things,” he said.

Since 2017, and many hand-welded prototypes later, the company has hit a groove. Co-founders Sklar, 28, and Frazer, 40, have one other employee, Taylor Wallace, 29.

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From left, Taylor Wallace, Adam Sklar, and Colin Frazer sit Monday, July 19, 2021, inside the space where their shop, Dangle Supply, will open soon.

Last week, the company of three moved into a warehouse — or the Dangle Den — on 902 N. Wallace, which they hope to convert into a showroom and events space for Bozeman.

As the company grows, the three want to focus on being environmentally sustainable, including ensuring any prospective Bozeman employees are paid a livable wage.

The company’s non-pipe products are all manufactured in the U.S., with some of the items being made in Bozeman.

Sklar and Frazer weren’t expecting the success, or to be the only manufacturer of titanium pipes in the U.S. Despite the company starting as a joke, the jocular and lighthearted pair now take the business very seriously.

“We’re still surprised everyday. It’s crazy,” Sklar said.

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Juliana Sukut can be reached at 582-2630 or jsukut@dailychronicle.com

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