The cold weather is here and nothing is quite as nice as having a thermos filled with a hot drink to accompany you as you stroll through the beautiful winter scenery of New England. Take a thermos along on a journey, has a long tradition to it. A thermos can keep a beverage piping hot or icy cold for over 12 hours making it an incredibly valuable piece of equipment for any explorer – especially during the early 20th century. Many early explorers took a thermos along on their legendary expeditions. Robert E. Peary took one to the Artic. Shackleton took one to the South Pole. Roosevelt brought it to Africa and the Wright Brothers even took one to the skies!
In 1892, Sir James Dewar a scientist at Oxford University was preforming experiments while doing research in the field of Cryogenics. This is the scientific study of materials at extreme low temperatures. While working with the rare metal palladium, he needed a container. He formed a copper chamber and enclosed a smaller chamber inside connected at the neck. He partially evacuating the air and created a vacuum. This provided insulation and prevented the cold from transferring. Thus, he created the Vacuum Flask. The Vacuum Flask became an important tool used by scientists to keep materials at a specific temperature for chemical experiments. Also known as the Dewar Flask or Dewar Bottle; though Dewar did not patent his device.
In 1904, two German glass blowers realized the potential of Dewar’s invention for the benefits of keeping beverages cold or hot for long periods of time. They renamed the new product “Thermos”, then sold their trademark and rights to it in 1907 to three separate independent companies. Located in New York, Canada, and England these companies went on to make the Thermos popular worldwide. Further improvements using glass and aluminum were made over the years. In 1910, the invention of the glass filler increased product demand significantly. In 1912, The American Thermos Company of Brooklyn, New York moved to a larger facility in Norwich, Connecticut where it remained until closing its doors in 1988.
The thermos, now a generic name for all vacuum flask beverage containers, continues to be a favorite household convenience. From school lunch boxes, to office boardrooms, to life-threatening expeditions, the thermos continues to be used across the world. The PAST Antiques Marketplace at Nature’s Art Village has a wide variety of retro and vintage thermoses available. Visit The PAST Antiques Marketplace at Nature’s Art Village in Montville, Connecticut to see our full selection of antiques and vintage collectibles.