Thermos innovation has lead to the hottest, coolest and freshest products since 1904. Constant technological advancement and new product development has made Thermos the industry leader for nearly a century. Read on to explore Thermos' technology and rich history.
Invented in 1892 by Sir James Dewar, a scientist at Oxford University, the "vacuum flask" was first manufactured for commercial use in 1904, when two German glass blowers formed Thermos GmbH. They held a contest to name the "vacuum flask" and a resident of Munich submitted "Thermos", which came from the Greek word "Therme" meaning "heat".
In 1907, Thermos GmbH sold the Thermos trademark rights to three independent companies: The American Thermos Bottle Company of Brooklyn, NY; Thermos Limited of Tottenham, England; Canadian Thermos Bottle Co. Ltd. of Montreal, Canada, who developed the Thermos vacuum flask into a widely sought after product that was taken on many famous expeditions, including: Lieut. E.H. Shackleton's trip to the South Pole; Lieut. Robert E. Peary's trip to the Arctic; Colonel Roosevelt's expedition to Mombassa and into the heart of the African Congo with Richard Harding Davis. It even became airborne when the Wright Brothers took it up in their airplane and Count Zeppelin carried it up in his air balloon.
Thermos was hailed around the world for its revolutionary design. In 1909 Thermos won the "Grand Prize Award" at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition and went on to be honored at seven other world expositions.
The Thermos vacuum flask made a technological breakthrough in 1911 by producing the first machine-made glass filler. Today Thermos continues to be the world leader in glass vacuum technology.
With the production of machine-made glass fillers, the popularity of Thermos products grew tremendously. And by 1923, Thermos had introduced the No. 24 pint sized "Blue Bottle" and a new gallon-sized insulated food jar known as the Thermos Jumbo Jug.
A new type of vacuum-insulated double-walled Pyrex® glass vessel was engineered in 1928, some as large as 28 gallons.
These became extremely popular in 1928 and 1929 for ice cream cabinets and frozen fish cabinets, just prior to the advent of commercial refrigeration.
When World War II broke out in Europe in 1939, virtually all of the capacity of Thermos Limited in England was changed over to wartime requirements of the British military forces. Every time a thousand bombers went out on a raid, 10,000 to 12,000 Thermos vacuum flasks went with them. Meanwhile in the U.S., The American Thermos Bottle Company played an important role in the war. More than 98% of its output was for military usage and atomic energy laboratories.
When the war ended in 1945, Thermos products were more popular than ever.
In 1953, Thermos introduces the first fully lithographed steel lunch box and Thermos vacuum bottle with the image of western star Roy Rogers. The lunch kit sells over 2,000,000 units in the first year.
In 1955 Thermos broadened its assortment by acquiring the manufacturers of the "Little Brown Jug" and other insulated jugs and chests as well as Duncan Hines outdoor grills.
By 1957 the Thermos brand vacuum bottle was known almost universally for use with food and beverages. But by this time, Thermos products had also proved useful in science, medicine and industry. They had been used in various instruments measuring electric power, rate of climb in airplanes, detection of oil deposits and weather recording. And had also been used to transport rare tropical fish and to preserve and transport blood plasma, serums, bones, tissues and insulin.
In 1966 Thermos introduced the world's first stainless steel vacuum bottle. This product would go on to revolutionize hot and cold beverage storage around the world.
By 1971, Thermos products were being exported to over 100 different countries. The company was presented with the Queen of England's Award to Industry for these export achievements.
1985 was yet another successful year for Thermos with the introduction of the coffee carafe "The Coffee Butler". This vacuum insulated glass carafe hit the market with instant success, becoming one of the top houseware products in North America.
In 1989, Thermos introduces the Thermos Nissan brand.
In 2002 Thermos introduced its IceBoundT line of soft coolers. Beautiful and full of high-performance features, IceBoundT features exclusive IsoTechT multi-layered insulation and leak-proof linings.
Today, Thermos celebrates its 100-year anniversary and continues its tradition of innovation by creating unique products fueled by hotter, cooler and fresher thinking.