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Vaporization and Its History – 5th Century B.C.

As you probably already know, human beings have been consuming cannabis both recreationally and medicinally for thousands of years. You probably also know that smoking and eating cannabis have been the most popular methods of ingestion, with vaporization seemingly just gaining mass fame within the last decade or so. What you might not know is how far vaporization of various substances, not just cannabis, dates back in time. Join us as we take an interesting journey back in time to explore some of the very first people to ever decide to toke on plants by heating them up past the point of combustion.

Ancient Vaporization Methods

Believe it or not, people were reportedly vaporizing some form of cannabis all the way back in ancient Egypt. Herodotus, who lived in the 5th century B.C., is considered by some to be the “Father of History.” In his book, “The History of Herodotus” (1928, Dial Press, Inc., p.226, Book IV) wrote about the Scythians vaporizing hemp seeds.

“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.”

Scythia History of Vaporization

Naturally, any history of the modern day vaporizer would be incomplete without mentioning the hookah. Even though historical accounts indicate that mostly tobacco was smoked out of hookahs, it is still widely regarded as the first vaporizer device. In the 15th century, the British East India Company started exporting glass to the entire country. A lucrative glass production industry arose in India at that time, resulting in the invention of the glass base of the hookah known as a Shisha. The use of hookahs spread throughout various parts of the Middle East. Using one was considered a status symbol and a sign of being high class. Royalty and aristocrats would use a hookah after a meal. The tobacco that was smoked out of these glass pieces at the time had no flavor and was very harsh.

Roots of the Portable Vaporizer – 1920-1960

Much debate has been made over who invented the first modern day vaporizer. Like so many other things throughout the course of human history, vaporizer designs were copied and improved upon until we eventually get the products we know, love and use today. According to Wikipedia, a man named Joseph Robinson filed a patient for the first electronic cigarette back in 1927. The United States Patent Office quietly published his patent for the nicotine vaporizer. This invention is not exactly well known, because it never took off or gained widespread use.

Decades later, in 1960, a man by the name of Herbert A. Gilbert developed the blueprint for the type of vaporizers we use today. It is unclear as to whether Gilbert developed the vaporizers all on his own, or simply improved upon the idea that was pioneered by Robinson in the 1920’s. At any rate, many vaporizer manufactures cite Gilbert as being the inventor of the modern day vaporizer. Gilbert eventually sold the rights to his vaporizer invention to Emperor E-Cigarettes.

Old Vaporization Device


Amsterdam in the 1990’s

When most people think of the first official cannabis vaporizer, they’re probably thinking about Frank William Wood, also known as Eagle Bill Amato. When Amato first had the idea to create the cannabis vaporizer, he envisioned a device that would offer similar immediate effects of smoking, without the harsh throat burn and potential harmful effects. He got this idea after hearing about west coast growers in the U.S. using heating guns to ingest marijuana. The growers claimed that the heating guns brought out more of the THC than smoking, without all the need for rolling papers or pipes.

Remember Herodotus and the Scythians? Eagle Bill combined their idea of using hot stones to vaporize plant materials with the use of heating guns to create what he first called the ‘shake and vape’. Once it started gaining popularity, many in the marijuana industry called it “Eagle Bill’s peace pipe of the future.”

After that, Amato took his first official vape to the 7th Annual Cannabis Cup, and the revolution was officially born. After the cup, Amato was honored by the local cannabis culture in Amsterdam and by the Hash Museum alike, as they gave him his own exhibit and credited him with the invention. Eventually the word spread worldwide of Eagle Bill’s vaporizer. Hugely popular Amsterdam cannabis breeders Sensi Seed Bank run the Hash Museum.

The Modern Day Vape Takes Shape

As the pattern of improving on existing inventions continues, BC Vaporizer enters the vaporizer story of history in 1994. The Canadian company makes the claim that they were the first ever to make a vaporizer that was charged with electricity. Naturally, the company credits Eagle Bill as their inspiration. Two things are known facts when it comes to BC Vaporizer: they manufactured the first vaporizers that could be charged by using solar power, and they are still operating as a company to this day.
As we’ve discussed previously in the review of the Volcano desktop vaporizer, Storz and Bickel deservedly get a lot of the credit for ushering in the kind of high-tech vaporizers that everyone knows nowadays. The German manufacturers first released the Classic Volcano all the way back in 2000. Eighteen years later, some of the same units are surprisingly still standing from way back when, and the Volcano is still one of the best desktop vaporizers that money can buy!

Let us know what you think! Who was the first to officially invent the modern day vaporizer? Is it someone we mentioned in this article, or someone completely different?

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