What Is A Vaporizer

Vape – International Word of the Year

It was only a few years ago that folks were asking “just what is a vape?” Then, in November of 2014, Oxford Dictionaries announced their international “Word of the Year” was vape. According to their research, the use of the word vape more than doubled in 2014 compared to the prior year.

The word vape, which is both a verb and a noun, can mean basically two things. In regards to its usage as a verb, it means to inhale and exhale vapor produced by a vaporizer. In this sense, one might say something along the lines of, “I just vaped some old school Bo flower and it tasted great.”

As a noun, vape is used as a reference to vapor producing devices called vaporizers. Vaporizers are devices designed to produce inhale-able vapor from various forms of feedstock. In this article we focus on devices that use dry herb and related materials as the vapor producing blend.

Vapes use conduction, convection, or some combination of the two to heat up the feedstock blend to the point where it emits vapor. Most vapes are used as smoking alternatives while others find use in a variety of areas such as aromatherapy and mineral diffusion.

History of Vaping

The earliest known account of vaping was around 500 BC when Herodotus wrote of the Scythian tradition of “bathing” the body in vapors produced from hemp laid on hot stones. Centuries later in Northwestern India rudimentary hookahs using coconut shells were introduced. Hookahs are not vaping per se, but they do vaporize a portion of the dry herb prior to partial or complete combustion.

In the 1970s something called the Tilt was created, claiming 79% less tar than conventional smoking. The Tilt was banned in 1991 due to paraphernalia laws.

Eagel Bill Shake and Vape

In 1993 a glass pipe-like vaporizer called the Shake and Vape was created by Eagle Bill Amato. Born in 1942 as Frank William Wood, Amato was a Cherokee medicine man who has been labeled the “Father of Vapor.” The Shake and Vape was a simple conduction design using a glass bowl and stem. Herb was placed in the bowl and heated from below so that it would vaporize rather than burn.

This device catalyzed the invention of the BC Vaporizer which appeared in Canada in 1994. The BC was the first widely known electronically heated vaporizer.

Vapes come in many different styles. For instance, Vicks makes a medical vaporizer designed to vaporize Vicks-infused steam for medicinal purposes. Companies like Grenco Science make pen vapes like the G Pen Elite. While some pens work with dried blends, most of them are designed for use with liquid, wax, and oils.

Then there are the desktop balloon vaporizers popularized by Storz & Bickel with their now famous Volcano vaporizers. These forced air convection vapes fill bags, also known as balloons, with vapor and then allow you to inhale at your leisure. A valve attached to the bag allows you release the vapor as you please. Storz & Bickel’s models are particularly nice in that the valve is integrated into the mouthpiece so you don’t have to fiddle with knobs – you just press it against your mouth and the valve opens. This makes for an incredibly convenient and natural vaporization process.

One defining characteristic among the various vapes pertains to portability or lack thereof. Some are highly portable, compact and cordless while heavier desktop models require an electrical outlet. The Extreme Q by Canadian vaporizer manufacturer Arizer is an example of a plugin desktop style vape.

If you’re interested in learning more about vaporizers, we suggest you take a look at our vaporizer reviews. At VapeGuide.com we consider ourselves vaping aficionados, and do our best to keep our readers apprised of the ever changing vaping landscape. Feel free to browse our site in order to learn more about vape culture, the gear and what it’s all about.