Our Heritage

Our Heritage

Insulated by design

Over 100 years ago we created the world’s first everyday use vacuum flask. Today, Thermos continue to develop the hottest and coolest products for people on the go.  Designed with the Thermos quality and performance you can rely on.

  • 1892
    Sir James Dewar circa 1910
    Creation of the Vacuum Flask

    In 1892, Scottish scientist Sir James Dewar invented the vacuum flask. Through his work in cryogenics, he identified a need to keep a chemical placed in a flask at a stable temperature. To do this, Dewar placed a glass bottle in another larger glass bottle, and evacuated the air between the two bottle walls. In doing so, Dewar created a partial vacuum to keep the temperature of the contents stable. Hiring a professional glass blower to make a sturdier flask led to the commercial manufacture of the “Dewar Flask” in 1898.

  • 1903
    Reinhold Burger circa 1900
    The domestic vacuum flask

    Reinhold Burger (Dewar’s glass blower) and his business partner Albert Aschenbrenner were manufacturers of scientific glass devices. While producing flasks for Dewar, they crafted a domestic vacuum flask with a protective metal casing and secured a patent for it.

  • 1904
    The Thermos Brand

    Burger and Aschenbrenner hosted a competition to name the vacuum bottle. A Munich resident submitted the word ‘Thermos’ derived from the Greek word Thérmē meaning ‘heat’ and Thermos GmbH was formed.

  • 1907
    First Thermos plant, Brooklyn, NY
    Thermos launches

    In 1907, Thermos GmbH sold the Thermos trademark rights to three independent companies: The American Thermos Bottle Company, US; Thermos Limited, UK; and Canadian Thermos Bottle Co. Ltd. Canada. The three Thermos companies operated independently of each other, yet developed the Thermos vacuum flask into a widely sought after product that was taken on many famous expeditions, including: Lt E.H. Schackelton's trip to the South Pole; Lt 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 Zepplin carried it up in his air balloon.

  • 1909
    The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition with a view of Mount Rainier
    Grand Prize Award

    Praised around the world for its revolutionary design, Thermos won the ‘Grand Prize Award’ at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition and went on to be honoured at seven more world expositions.

  • 1911
    World leader in glass vacuum technology

    Thermos Limited, located in England produced the first machine-made glass filler, a critical industrial breakthrough for speeding up production. In automating this glass blowing process, Thermos became a world leader in glass vacuum technology and manufacturing.

  • 1912
    American Thermos Bottle Company, Norwich, CT
    Demand exceeds production!

    The popularity of Thermos products grew tremendously – so much so that The American Thermos Bottle Company had to move to a new site in Norwich, CT to increase output.

  • 1925
    Icy – Hot Bottle Co

    Thermos Bottle Co. merged with the Icy-Hot Bottle Co. of Cincinnati Ohio, also a vacuum bottle company established in the early 1900s.

  • 1928
    In 1929, Thermos was manufacturing vacuum containers for the storage of frozen fish.
    Technology developments

    Advancements led to new uses for vacuum-insulated technology. Notable products were the insulated cabinets for ice cream and frozen fish, in demand until mechanical refrigeration became available in the 1930’s.

  • 1931
    Thermos Limited economic recovery

    Thermos Limited almost shut down because of the war, operating not as a manufacturer but as an assembler of imported products. Production restarted in 1931 and a metal canister factory was opened in Leyton in 1932.

  • 1939
    World War II

    When World War II broke out, virtually all of the capacity at Thermos Limited was changed over to requirements of the British military forces. Every time a thousand bombers went out on a raid 10,000 - 12,000 Thermos vacuum flasks went with them.

  • 1952
    The Plastene Corporation

    Thermos acquired the Plastene Corporation of Indiana, giving Thermos two injection moulding facilities in the US and greater expertise in this emerging technology.

  • 1953
    2,000,000 units

    Improving on their lunch kits, Thermos released the first fully lithographed steel lunch box with the image of Roy Rogers, which sold over 2,000,000 units in the first year.

  • 1957
    Diversification

    Thermos brand products, known almost universally now, had been used for plasma and insulin transit, as well as being utilised in various instruments measuring electric power, rate of climb in airplanes, detection of oil deposits and weather reporting.

  • 1960
    Merger with King-Steeley Corporation

    Thermos merged with the King-Seeley Corporation, thus entering the tent, camp stove, and lantern field.

  • 1966
    Stainless steel

    Thermos introduced the world to their first stainless steel vacuum bottle.

  • 1971
    The Queen’s Award

    The Queen’s Award to industry was presented to Thermos Limited, UK for exporting over 50% of their production to over 100 different companies.

  • 1985
    The Thermos Coffee Butler
    The Thermos Coffee Butler

    Successfully introduced onto the market was the Thermos Coffee Butler, a vacuum-insulated glass carafe, becoming one of the top household products in North America that year.

  • 1996
    New UK Offices

    In 1996 the UK Thermos plant moved from Brentwood to a new site in Thetford, adjacent to the glass plant.

  • 2002
    IsoTec
    IsoTec™

    The high-performance IceBound line of soft coolers is introduced. Made with exclusive IsoTec™ multi-layered insulation and a leak-proof interior lining.

  • 2004
    100 Years!

    Thermos celebrated 100 years of designing and developing vacuum insulated products.

    FUNtainer
    The FUNtainer®

    Thermos introduced the FUNtainer® line of kids insulated products.

  • 2014
    Thermos acquires Alfi

    Thermos Parent companies acquire alfi GmbH, 100-year old German company specialising in premium carafes.

  • 2017
    Thermos acquires Lifefactory

    Thermos LLC acquires Lifefactory Inc., leader in glass hydration and baby products featuring silicone sleeves