While Hon Lik is often credited with the invention of the electronic cigarette 2003, there were other incarnations of a “vapor producing” “cigarette-like devices much earlier than that.
1901 -Parisian pharmacist Henry Ferre invents a “tubular inhaler” that held 2 inner receptacles. One receptacle was to hold cotton that was to be saturated with weak hydrochloric acid, while the other receptacle was to hold “an aqueous solution of carbonate of ammonia to which polyatomic alcohol is added”. Upon inhalation, the 2 vapors would “combine to form ammonia hydroehloratc(?) in the form of a neutral and inoffensive white vapor, giving the illusion of smoke”. It’s intended use? A toy cigar for children.
1909 – Ignazio Bucceri comes up with an idea to produce an inexpensive inhaler made to look like a cigar which would contain chemicals that would create a vapor with the color of tobacco smoke and have “a very agreeable taste”, utilizing menthol or “some highly flavored fluid, such as extract of peppermint or any other extract which would give the desired flavor to the inhaled vapors”.
1951- Henry Pardeman invents an inhaler shaped like a cigarette that was “made to deceive the senses” so that a smokers “habitual craving for a burning cigarette is deceived into accepting my inhaler as a satisfactory substitute”.
1955 Otto Lobl created a tubular mouth inhaler simulating a smoking device to serve as a means helping smokers overcome or curb the cigarette smoking habit.
1956- Frank Bartolomeo invents a smoking device that requires no combustion that can be used in places where smoking was deemed hazardous or because “conditions forbid the showing of light as at night in time of war”. It was designed to hold a capsule that would hold all “the aroma and flavor volatiles of tobacco”.
1963- Herbert A Gilbert presents his invention for a “smokeless non tobacco cigarette” that provided a safe and harmless means for smoking by replacing the burning of paper wrapped tobacco with heated, moist, air that could be flavored with chemicals. The device, quite similar to the electronic cigarettes or personal vaporizers of today, ran off a battery that could be changed out when spent, had a heating element/coil, and held a removable flavor cartridge that could be changed out with different flavors.