A Brief History of Eterra and the Flash Evaporator
The idea seemed straightforward: I would build a noncombustion tobacco inhaler, market it, and then retire on the big bucks. Instead, I learned about the frustrations of hands-on research and development and the wonders of business.
The first test model was made from laboratory glassware and used a 1,000-watt heating element from a toaster; it survived long enough to prove the idea, then it melted down. Two years later I had a 100-watt model, which was built from a light bulb and a brake-fluid can. My first patent, 4,141,369, was based on that model; it was referred to as the Health Pipe, a name which was simple but deceptive, given that health does not derive from inhaling anything other than pure air.
By the time the first patent was granted, I had learned that the Health Pipe worked well with things other than tobacco. I also realized that the wires had to be eliminated, because of the trip hazard they presented. The Flash Evaporator and the Eterra grew from that origin.