Vaporizer History: Pioneer Eagle Bill
The modern era of herbal vaporizing owes its existence in large part to the tireless efforts of one Frank William Wood – better known as Eagle Bill.
Bill not only invented several forms of vaporizers (including the 10 gallon jar model he displayed at fairs, cups and shows for dramatic effect), with his championing of the technique he single-handedly put this “safe and effective alternative to smoking” on the map in the years before his death in 2005.
Marijuana Turned his Life Around
Born in the US state of Georgia of Cherokee Nation ancestry, Bill dedicated his life to the normalisation of the recreational and medicinal use of marihuana, which he credited with turning his own life around.
In his autobiography, 10% THC, A Cannabis Tale, Bill describes how a friend turned him on to marijuana and how it changed his perspective on life.
The Green Giant
He started growing in the late 60′s when a single discarded seed sprouted next to his driveway. According to Bill, the plant was nine feet tall before he noticed it and reached 17 feet by harvest. The next year he planted 18 plants, and from then on his ambitions grew as fast as his weed.
Inevitably, he was busted and sent to prison. On his release Bill continued to grow for himself and became an expert in home grown quality sensimilla. During this time he became a passionate advocate of Native American rights and their philosophy, as well as the emancipation of the cannabis plant. So was born Eagle Bill.
Crude but Essential
A friend had introduced Bill to the idea of vaporizing, using a hot air paint stripper as the heat source and a variety of jars and other glass containers as the vapor trap. It was crude, but the essential idea was all there.
On a visit to Amsterdam, Bill made friends with Ben Dronkers and his family, proprietors of the Sensi Seed Company. When he returned to the city shortly before the 1994 Cannabis Cup, Sensi Seeds gave Bill some space to demonstrate his new technology.
Amsterdam Seed Blossoms
His vaporizer remained the most popular exhibit at the Cannabis Cup for 10 years, earning Bill and Sensi Seeds numerous first place cups. Soon he set up shop on a daily basis in Amsterdam’s Hash Marihuana Hemp Museum and used that platform to turn the world on to vaporization and the medicinal applications of cannabis.
His Dutch friend Evert was inspired to improve on Bill’s leaky jar-based vaporizer technique and created the Verdamper, the world’s first purpose-built vape.
Official Acceptance for Vaporizers
Bill himself devised the ultra-simple one-piece glass “shake and bake” pipe that was adopted by the Dutch government as part of its medical marijuana program and is now available at most pharmacies in Holland.
During his 12-year residency in Amsterdam, through his work and by sharing his knowledge, Eagle Bill made an irreversible contribution to the growing acceptance of cannabis.
Mediweed Users’ Debt of Thanks
Bill was instrumental in setting up the Bureau Medicinale Cannabis, and it was thanks partly to his ceaseless efforts that in 2005 cannabis became available in the Netherlands with a doctor’s prescription from regular chemists.
Bill returned to his native Georgia for the months before his death in 2005, when he worked on an updated edition of his autobiography. The passing away of this inspirational pioneer was mourned on two continents.
Video of Eagle Bill Smoking with Paris Hilton