There’s no doubt that technology moves our world forward, usually at a breakneck pace. With the release of new devices, the way we approach our day-to-day lives changes. Two decades ago no one would have thought everyone would have a cell phone in their hands – now, cell phones are more common worldwide than land-lines. Not many thought that personal computers would be as widely accepted as they are; now everyone has one or more. This isn’t ancient history: it’s only twenty years ago. And twenty years ago, there were no vaporizers. Thank goodness for technological advances!
No one is credited with the actual invention of the vaporizer, but there was one man famous for turning the world on to the power of vaporizers. In the early 90s, “Eagle” Bill Amato was living in Amsterdam and developing an early model of vaporizer. He understood the benefits of vaporizing
over smoking – extracting essential oils without releasing carbon or other carcinogens. His primitive vaporizer was constructed with a giant glass globe that had one stem leading into it, and one stem coming out of it. The stem coming in had a chamber where botanical was placed, and was heated with a heat gun (like you would use for removing paint).
The heat gun, directed towards the botanical chamber, would blast hot air through the botanical, filling the glass globe with vapor. This method of heating is similar to how convection ovens
work. The last step would be to take a draw on the stem leading out from the globe, consuming the vapour.
This basic concept revolutionized botanical consumption in Amsterdam. The home-vaporizer industry was born shortly thereafter, and smaller “Globe” style vaporizers were soon available in stores across Europe and North America. These vaporizers weren’t as effective as Eagle Bill’s. They relied on conduction heating – botanical sitting on top of a hot metal plate. These plates were supposed to vaporize the botanical, but the temperature control diodes were unreliable, and there were common reports of botanical combusting with these units. They still exist on the market, although they aren’t worth picking up unless you’re starting a vaporizer museum. They were quickly surpassed by superior units that hit the market shortly thereafter.
After the globes had their brief unopposed run in the market, the German made Volcano
landed on the scene. Its superior design and manufacturing quality put it in its rightful place as the best vaporizer in the industry. It hasn’t budged from that place since then, a true testament to the quality of the unit. The Volcano has seen many improvements since its release, but has maintained its basic approach. It’s a vaporizer with a large botanical chamber that uses a fan to fill up a bag with vapor. Despite its steep price, the Volcano is probably the vaporizer that you’ll see if you ever check out a store or vapor lounge.
Competitors tried to spring up and combat the Volcano’s stronghold on the market, but failed. The “Phantom” vaporizer was perhaps one of the most blatant knockoffs ever seen in any industry. It looks exactly like the Volcano, but was available for 1/5th of the price. The unit, instead of being assembled by skilled employees in Germany, was manufactured and assembled in China under a tight budget. The quality of the unit suffered, and because of poor performance the Phantom was unable to dismount the Volcano from the driver’s seat of the vaporizer industry. This is important to note because every time a new vaporizer hits the market, there are cheap Chinese knockoffs available usually within months. Vaporizers are high-performance electronic gadgets, and there is no substitute for a well-manufactured unit designed by a connoisseur.
The Volcano’s popularity over its first few years expanded the horizons of the vaporizer industry. New people joined the world of vaporizing, and this extra demand was quickly picked up by a number of manufacturers eager to offer something else to the industry.
This was the age of “Box Style” vaporizers. They were more reliable than the initial Globe Vaporizers in terms of temperature control, and much more affordable than the Volcano. Like Personal Computers, these were the first true “home” devices. Names like Vapor Brothers and Deluxe Daddy stepped up during this period and made a place for themselves.
Shortly thereafter, other vaporizers stepped in to provide additional features and better vapor quality. Arizer developed the Extreme Q
, a vaporizer that gives you the option of either a whip-style system or a bag system. It’s an amazing vaporizer, and is still one of our favourites. Not to mention Arizer is a Canadian manufacturer!
Vaporizers made by Vapir were popular in this era as well; the NO2 hit the market and made quite a splash (that unfortunately fizzled out over a short period of time).
Once the market for stationary vaporizers was saturated, manufacturers started to develop portable vaporizers. After all, if people preferred vaporizing at home, why wouldn’t they feel the same way about consuming their botanicals when out and about?
There were new engineering challenges to face when developing portable vaporizers, power source being a main hurdle to overcome. In 2008, Irish butane device manufacturer Iolite decided to work on a vaporizer. They came up with the ingenious solution of using purified butane to power a portable unit. Iolite enjoyed a celebrated status in the world of vaporizers for some time because of this brilliant development. They still own the patent on the catalytic converter used in these vaporizers.
As advances in lithium ion batteries were achieved and applied to the world of vaporizers, more portable vaporizers became available.
In 2010, the early form of the Magic Flight Launch Box was released. The Magic Flight has become another of our favourites here, the unit is super-compact (about the size of a matchbox), and they have developed a cult following online for their exemplary customer service. This is one company who knows how great their device is, and the MFLB has been making waves in the portable world since its release. A vaporizer doesn’t develop fan message boards unless it’s really well made, and this vaporizer has a number of fan sites dedicated to it.
Arizer released the Solo
in late 2011. It’s simply the best portable vaporizer available in terms of vapor quality right now, rivaling the vapor that many of the stationary units can produce. Since 2011, the Solo has been updated again and again. Like the manufacturers of the Volcano, Arizer cares very much about their vaporizers and listens closely to customer feedback. Not the kind of dedication and service that you get from a company dedicated to producing cheap knockoffs. After its many improvements, the Solo is a vaporizer that will be on the market for many years to come.
The vaporizer world is new, and it thrives on innovation. In a very short 20 years we’ve come from a theoretical delivery method, to primitive prototypes to a number of physical devices that have nearly household name recognition. An industry was born, and continues to grow. In the next twenty years who knows how far we take it?
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