the mid ‘90s, the cigar industry was booming. Stan Oster, owner of a small high
manufacturing firm founded in 1976, became intrigued with
cigars when a client came to him and
asked him to create a desktop acrylic “V” cutter.
He developed the designs and made prototypes
for this customer. The sales for this novel cigar cutter were
Man on a Mission
Stan’s interest was piqued,
so he decided to create a line of high quality acrylic humidors in which cigar
aficionados could show off their collections of fine cigars and store them in the
perfect environment. At
that time, the most common method for
humidification was floral foam contained (within a black plastic
box of some
sort). No one paid attention to its appearance because it was a necessary evil
and was not
seen inside an opaque wooden humidor, but inside his creation the
humidifying device was visible. It
was also very difficult and messy to use.
went on a quest to find a humidification system that would work inside his
clear humidor. He needed to create an attractive device which would function
properly. At the time the
primary method established for cigar humidification for fifty or more years had
been a solution of 50% propylene glycol and 50% Water (PG 50/50). A method to
control humidity was needed. It seemed obvious to use this time tested method
to control humidity.
also needed something to hold the liquid so that it wouldn’t drip on the cigars
and not be ‘ugly”. Stan found a relatively inexpensive plastic material that
absorbs liquid and holds onto it. He found a material being used to keep newly
planted trees hydrated during early phases of growth. He also found out that this class of material
was being used to capture liquids in baby diapers. These crystals absorb many
times their own weight in water and form a gel. He discovered that the crystals
also swell as they absorb water in proportion to the amount of
water they absorb (anyone who has played with a baby in a pool already knew that). As
an added benefit they were visually appealing.
Development and Design
felt he then needed a clear container to show off these crystals and hold them
in place. A clear
plastic tube was the obvious choice being very familiar with
acrylics. He would be able to drill tiny
in the sidewalls of an acrylic tube and cap them on the ends to prevent
leakage. These tiny holes in the
sidewalls would allow water vapor to pass thru
and the crystals would hold the liquid back. However, he
still wanted to find a less expensive alternative to an acrylic fabrication. In a twist of fate, He was
to a tubing manufacturer who told him that the tubes they
manufactured wouldn’t work for Stan’s application.
They were, in fact, ‘bobby pin
tubes’. When bobby pins go from a warm warehouse to an air conditioned
store, they ‘sweat’ and can therefore rust. Water
vapor passes through the walls of these tubes, so the
water contained inside
the tube would eventually evaporate. Oster asked ‘Do you mean water vapor
passes through the walls but the liquid does not?”. The answer was affirmative.
He had an epiphany;
here was a plastic tube that would allow humidification
though its wall, but not allow liquid to pass.
The Eureka Moment
a stroke of genius, he realized he had created a new concept for cigar
humidification. A crystal that expands and contracts would give feedback to the
user about how much liquid it contained- a tube that breathed though its walls
but didn’t leak liquid. He applied for and was granted a patent in less than 1
year. All of Stan’s prior 8 patents took
2 to 5 years and were much more difficult to obtain. He knew this product was truly unique.
thus, the DryMistat® humidification tube was born and an industry would be changed forever.
Almost 20 years and two million tubes later, the rest, as they say, is history.