3.1 Manufacturers

American companies quickly jumped at the opportunity to refine the bulky, complicated Mitey Mite and sell thermal foggers to the military and domestic police departments. As early as 1969, The International Association of Chiefs of Police included a detailed section on thermal fogging and available models in their Chemical Agents Manual (Crockett 1969), providing prime trade-focused marketing. Indeed, both Federal Laboratories and General Ordnance Equipment Corporation models were included.

3.1.1 Sears Roebuck

The original Mighty Mite that established the fogger as a method of chemical dispersal was manufactured by Sears, Roebuck, and Co. for insecticide application (Applegate 1969).

Yellowed black and white photo of a stationary Mighty Mite thermal fogger. It's a backpack fogger, so there's a giant hose that's like a vacuum hose wrapped around in the middle and then another one coming off of the actual backpack, which is upright in the middle back right. there is a metal frame and a large reservoir tank sitting on top of the engine and other aspects of the machinery. There is a tube running out to the end of the hose nose from the back pack. On the right side of the image is a scale bar that makes it seem like the backpack is 24 inches tall.

FIGURE 3.1: M-106 Mity Mite Thermal Fogger, as promoted to law enforcement in Applegate (1969).

The bulkiness of the Mity Mite backpack proved to be a hindrance in mobile application, however, and while chemical weapons corporations began their fogger lines with hand-held models using 2-cycle engines, there was a push to produce a more streamlined and specialized tool for fogging chemical weapons at civilians (Applegate 1969, 1970).

Black and white technical drawing of a hand-held 2-cycle thermal fogger. The drawing is pretty minimal, but shows enough detail, in particular around the engine and fan, to get a sense of how it operates. There are also a few labels pointing out via arrows what the Recould Rope Starter, Fuel Tank, Carrying Handle, Creifugal Blower Assemble, and Air/Agent Exit Ports are, and to the where the Vaporized Agent is injected into the air stream.

FIGURE 3.2: Hand-held two-cycle thermal fogger (Crockett 1969).

Sears does not appear to have entered The Mity Mite into the law enforcement market, perhaps due to the company’s existing legacy branding, and the model never established itself in the domestic market.

3.1.2 Federal Laboratories

Federal Laboratories, one of the major US manufacturers of chemical weapons starting after World War I, developed a hand-held 2-cycle thermal fogger that did not need a backpack or hoses:

Black and white photo of a thermal fogger that is basically a 2-cycle weed-wacker engine on top of a chemical agent metal drum with a nozzle sticking out to the right that is about a yard long, it's dark and has some hardware on it. The drum says Federal Fogger and then other things that are illegible. The drum is a dark color and the main engine is light, with a dark handle and strap.

FIGURE 3.3: The Federal Laboratories “Federal Fogger 298” (Federal Laboratories 1980).

Black and white photo of police officer in a gas mask and riot helmet with the shield flipped up and full uniform, but not riot gear. The officer is holding a hand-held fogger that has a white top on the part, some shiny metal in the middle and then dark on the bottom with a dark nozzle that is spewing some fog. The officer is standing in a field in front of a forest.

FIGURE 3.4: Officer demonstrating the Federal Laboratories 298 (Applegate 1992).

3.1.3 General Ordnance Equipment Corporation

The General Ordnance Equipment Corporation (GOEC), who invented and trademarked Chemical Mace earlier in the decade, had been bought-out by Smith and Wesson by the late 1960s when the fogger market opened up (Gross 2014).

Alan Litman, the brains behind GOEC, retained leadership of chemical weapons development after the buy-out, however (Gross 2014), and he must have seen an opportunity, as GOEC began selling hand-held thermal foggers in July 1968 (Applegate 1969).

They named their units “Pepper Fog” generators, a nod to their apparent ability to “pepper” the recipient with more concentrated bursts of fog if desired, compared to the steady stream output from the Mity Mite (Applegate 1969), and applied for a trademark on the phrase in October of the same year (USTPO 2018). By the end of August 1969, GOEC (and thus Smith and Wesson) had received the trademark on “Pepper Fog”, which they (and subsequent owners) retained until it expired in 1991 (USTPO 2018).

While GOEC did develop and sell a stationary 2-cycle model for vehicle mounting, it was their hand-held pulse-jet model that took the market by storm (Crockett 1969).

Yellowed black and white photo of a stationary pepper fog thermal fogger pointed to the left sitting by itself. The main body is a square box that's dark with a tag in the middle that's lighter and has dark writing on it that says pepper fog g o e c. The nozzle points to the left and is a longer thinner tube about twice as long as the main body. It is also dark and has a metal cage around it that is sparse and shiny. There's also a handle and some knobs on the top of the item and something that's a little bit difficult to make out off the back of the main body.

FIGURE 3.5: General Ordnance Equipment Corporation thermal fogger (General Ordnance Equipment Corporation 1969a), as shown in Applegate (1969).

They immediately began a heavy marketing campaign for their new invention, taking out full-page ads in police magazines (General Ordnance Equipment Corporation 1969b, 1969c, 1970):

Photocopied, blurried black and white magazine spread advertisement for General Ordnance Equipment Company (GOEC). The ad shows both their chemical mace and their fogger, although the fogger takes up 3/4 of the page. The left side has two main panels, one for each weapon, the top is a mace one showing an officer spraying mace into someone's face and the bottom part is the picture of the person fogging the railroad. The right side is an explainer on the pepper fogger that has three photos (including a repeat of the railroad one) at the top, the item image in the middle, and then a whole bunch of specs that are too blury to read

FIGURE 3.6: GOEC advertisement (General Ordnance Equipment Corporation 1969b).

They also leveraged the connection between local law enforcement and the press to generate free marketing with an international reach.

It is perhaps no surprise then that virtually all of the foggers photographed being used in the US prior to 2020 are GOEC models.

3.1.4 Defense Technology

The corporate descendent of both GOEC and Federal Labs and current owner of the legacy branding (Safariland subsidiary Defense Technology) continues to sell items under a “Pepper Fog” line, including a “pepper fog generator” that utilizes the same pulse-jet generation technique (Safariland, LLC 2020a):

Yellow-gold box shape tool with a handle on top, an image of an eagle in flight on the side, and some gauges on top.The back of the box tapers and appears to have switches and controls. Coming out of the front is a long tube that narrows at the end. The tube has a wire cage surrounding it.

FIGURE 3.7: Product image for thermal fogger (Safariland, LLC 2020b).

This has supplanted the models produced by the corporate ancestors to Defense Technology, which were bulkier and considerably heavier (Samuels et al. 1969).