The Beginning of Game-Changing Consumer Technology

Turn it on … anywhere, anytime, cord-free … that was the promise!

How did Schawbel make that promise a reality? This is the story of Bill Schawbel and the consumer product revolution that he delivered.

In the 1970s, Bill was a senior executive in a large consumer products company, Gillette. Bill was an entrepreneur at heart who had a passion for his work and a willingness to take risks. In 1981, Bill took a leap and acquired a portion of the Gillette company that produced appliances and personal care devices.

That was the beginning.

No More Power Cord: True Portability

Bill Schawbel’s company imagined a heat source that would set people free to use devices wherever and whenever they wanted.

In the era before lithium-ion batteries, most consumer appliances needed a power cord. The solution was a portable, heat-based energy source. This innovation became the Thermacell Fuel Cartridge, utilizing butane to power a range of new cordless products.

From hair curlers to glue guns, soldering irons to baby bottle warmers, Bill’s team brought countless Fuel Powered cordless devices to market.

Today, Schawbel has the 2nd generation of butane technology – Smart Cell.

How it Works

Smart Cell technology generates precise heat through a patented combination of a microprocessor, motion sensors, and a regulator that controls, meters, and vaporizes the gas mixture. It’s automatic ignition emits a precise mixture of air to gas – for odorless combustion in a flame-arrested chamber – allowing for:

  • Cordless, portable energy
  • No open flame
  • 250°F in 90 seconds – reach and maintain over 400°F
  • Uses an enhanced fuel cell (cartridge) made of a recycled plastic housing with a blended gas mixture and proprietary connector
  • Various sizes of cartridges available
  • Significantly reduces product development, since the single-engine platform design can be patented into many product types

Technology engine platform and cartridge

Smart Cell Cartridge with Schawbel Patented Technology

Generic appliance generates precise heat through a combination of a microprocessor, regulator, and automatic ignition system in a flame-arrested chamber.

Smart Cell

Disposable butane gas fuel cell with an unlimited shelf life – exclusively manufactured by the world’s largest lighter company – provides the heat source. Made of recyclable plastic with a patented bayonet connector that makes it easy to use.

Lifestyle Benefits

Smart Cell harnesses heat – enhancing consumers’ way of life

Living in the outdoors

Healthier lifestyles encourage individuals & families to spend more time outdoors

  • Portable flameless cooking appliances
  • Appliances to keep food warm for mealtimes, entertaining, or potluck gatherings
  • On-the-go beverage and canned food warmers
  • Devices to warm cushions and pillows for camping or spectator sports
  • Devices to warm and dry boots/shoes at home or while camping

Medical conditions and diseases

Increased focus on over-the-counter comfort remedies

  • Handheld nebulizers or neti pot with heat
  • Appliances that heat a chemical pad to create aromatherapy for nasal breathing conditions or sleep enhancements
  • Handheld, temperature-controlled appliances to provide relief of aches and pains with a heat-activated chemical
  • Appliance to cauterize wounds in emergency situations
  • Appliances with heat to sterilize items such as contact lens, dentures, CPAP devices, etc.

Personal Care

Emphasis on functionality and minimizing time spent on related personal care

  • Hair curlers
  • Hair straighteners
  • Handheld appliances that can warm antioxidant-rich creams and lotions – heat enhances their results for dry, cracked, or aging skin
  • Handheld appliances to massage scalp and activate natural scalp oils to promote and aid healthy hair growth, texture, and over-processed hair
  • Handheld appliances that warm and open facial skin pores in preparation for facemask treatments
  • Shaving cream warmers
  • Heated beard brushes


Product innovation that provides convenience and added performance

  • Quick defrosters for proteins, sauces, fruits, and vegetables
  • Bread proofers for warming cookie dough, butter, or shortening
  • Kitchen sanitizers for wooden cutting boards or kitchen sinks
  • Cleaning devices for treated and nontreated pots, pans, or appliances
  • Handheld appliances with heat for paint and/or wallpaper remover
  • Portable heated sleeves that can warm a tube of caulking, a can of paint, etc.
  • Handheld heated wrappers for defrosting frozen pipes

Pet Wellness

Providing comfort and wellness care for pets in the home

  • Portable warming pads that provide heat for pets
  • Handheld heated grooming brushes to dry and fluff coat
  • Cordless massagers with heat for aging pets – relief from arthritic pain in stiff joints and increased range of motion
  • Portable canned pet food warmers
  • Cordless temperature-controlled heated pet food bowls/trays
  • Handheld devices to sanitize pet beds and sleeping mats

For additional information on Schawbel Smart Cell, contact us and learn more about:

Single structure versatility

Unique patented technology for various applications

Recurring revenue source – Butane
cartridge refills!