iPhoneOgraphy – 23 Sep 2016 (Day 267/366)
A bug zapper, more formally called an electrical discharge insect control system, electric insect killer or (insect) electrocutor trap, is a device that attracts and kills flying insects that are attracted by light. A light source attracts insects to an electrical grid, where they are electrocuted by touching two wires with a high voltage between them. The name comes from the characteristic onomatopoeic zap sound produced when an insect is electrocuted.
In its October 1911 issue, popular Mechanics magazine had a piece showing a model “fly trap” that used all the elements of a modern bug zapper, including electric light and electrified grid. The design was implemented by two unnamed Denver men and was conceded to be too expensive to be of practical use. The device was 10 by 15 inches (25 by 38 cm), contained 5 incandescent light bulbs, and the grid was 1/16-inch (1.59 mm) wires spaced 1/8-inch (3.17 mm) apart with a voltage of 450 volts. Users were supposed to bait the interior with meat.
According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, the first bug zapper was patented in 1932 by William M. Frost; the patent was filed Jan 14 1928, and the devices were first sold in 1928.
Separately, Dr. William Brodbeck Herms (1876–1949), a professor of parasitology at the University of California, had been working on large commercial insect traps for over 20 years for protection of California’s important fruit industry. In 1934 he introduced the electronic insect killer that became the model for all future bug zappers.