The History of Vaping
The history of vaping is nearly as old as smoking itself. Throughout history, humans have used heat to create smokable vapors to enjoy. Yet it wasn’t until the 20th century that patents were developed to produce what we know today as electronic vaporizers. Portable vaporizers emerged in the early 21st century, and provided for a much more efficient means to vaporize popular herbs.
Vaping in the Ancient World
It is believed that as early as 5000 BC, after the spread of marijuana cultivation from Eurasia, the Egyptians utilized a vaping technique that involved the use of hot stones and coals to vaporize herbs.
According to the ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, “The Scythians take some of this hemp-seed and throw it upon the red-hot stones; immediately it vaporizes and gives out such a vapor as no Grecian vapor-bath can exceed; the Scythians, delighted, shout for joy.”
Sergei Ivanovich Rudenko, a Russian anthropologist, excavated sites in central Asia and found evidence that mixtures of cannabis seeds and coriander seeds were vaporized on the hot rocks to create a thick fragrant, if not psychoactive, smoke for ritual bathing. (source: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/05/150522-scythians-marijuana-bastard-wars-kurgan-archaeology/).
While the techniques the ancients used were quite different from our modern atomizers, it seems man has been heating up herbs to create pleasant vapors for thousands of years. Even more interesting is the fact that humans have utilized cannabis compounds for just as long!
Developing an Electronic Vaporizer
Our modern vaporizer owes its origins to a man named Joseph Robinson, who in 1930 was granted a patent(source: https://patents.google.com/patent/US1775947A/en) for an electrically heated vaporizing device. He stated, “My invention relates to vaporizing devices for holding medicinal compounds which are electrically heated to produce vapors for inhalation.”
Here’s a picture from his patent application. It’s pretty interesting to see the design, though no physical devices were ever produced.
Stating in 1965 that he “had to find a way to replace burning [herbs] and paper with heated, moist, flavored air,” Herbert Gilbert filed a patent(source: https://patents.google.com/patent/US3200819A/en?assignee=Herbert+Gilbert&oq=Herbert+Gilbert) for an electronic vaporizer device in 1963.
Familiar elements like the heating apparatus and cartridge can be seen. If anyone reading this happens to have a physical prototype of one of these early vaporizers, we’d love to see photos of it!
Commercialization of Vapes
Many in the vaping industry would agree that Hon Lik (source link: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/kb7gey/we-asked-the-inventor-of-the-e-cigarette-what-he-thinks-about-vape-regulations-5886b747f672c2456363054c), a pharmacist from Shenyang in north-east China, is the godfather of the world’s modern vaporizers. In 2003, his vape reached the commercial market, but it was all thanks to a dream.
After trying desperately to kick his nicotine habit, Hon Lik fell asleep wearing his nicotine patch. In the dream, he was drowning at sea. Then, the water turned into vapor, which allowed him to breathe more easily.
The dream proved inspirational. Later that year he designed a vaporizer and submitted a patent. His device consisted of an atomizer, battery, and a cartridge built into a plastic container. The system allowed the user to inhale a vapor from a liquid solution which activated an atomizer.
Other cannabis vapes were entering the market around this time too. Most well-known from the time period is the Volcano Vaporizer, by Storz & Bickel.
Using a heat gun in his basement, Storz designed the first iteration of the classic Volcano vaporizer. For those interested in recreating this experience, you can pick up one of these from the Swiss company here. (link: http://www.steinel.net/Professional-Heat-Guns). Be warned though, it’s not meant for vaping. As Stolz found out the process is unsatisfactory due to residue build up. In any case, this was a necessary first step in the development of an air pump used in the modern Volcano Vaporizer.
Over the next six years cannabis vaporization moved forward through subsequent innovations. The community got the Volcano Medic in 2010 – the world’s first medical cannabis inhaler). Their first battery powered devices, the Plenty and Mighty Medic, were launched in 2011 and 2014 respectively (source: https://www.leafly.com/news/strains-products/volcano-brief-history-worlds-iconic-vaporizer)
For many of us, the Mighty Medic and Volcano were the first herbal vaporizers we used! Now, nearly 20 years later, people around the world are enjoying the smokeless benefits of vaping.
Vaping for the 21st Century
SkyBlue likes to stay ahead of the curve. That’s why we’re always designing the best-in-class portable vaporizers for our customers. Our low temp vapes are virtually smell proof and backed by a Lifetime Warranty. Our continued specialization in low temperature technology means our vapes help preserve the flavor profiles of the concentrates you’re using, as well as conserving vaping materials. We’re building vapes for the 21st century. You can shop our entire lineup of modern day vapes right here : https://skybluecannabis.com/shop/vapes