The drunken history of theatrical fog effects

I'm guessing very few of you will have even heard of the vintage sal ammoniac haze pots.  They weren't all heater cones with exposed elements - there were "safe" fully enclosed ones too. One fog effect I missed from the list was the oil burning foggers.  That was deliberate.  They tend to be used on outdoor film sets, but are not suitable for indoor use.


With reference to glycol hazing of hospitals, you can still get a "glycolized air sanitizer" called Ozium which lists its ingredients as 4.4% triethylene glycol, 4.4% propylene glycol, 3.5% essential oils, 44.3% isopropyl alcohol and 43.4% inert ingredients - possibly the propellant?  My brother uses it in morgues.  It ain't cheap.

I properly hazed my house with the ammonium chloride.  It didn't actually take much to do it.  But the haze is literally tiny crystals of the chemical and does cause the sort of eye and nose effects you'd get from breathing dust. I doubt it would be allowed these days, but it does produce a surprisingly good effect that used to be common in night clubs before the glycol fog machines became popular. 

Oil hazers are considered a specialist piece of equipment and are only suited to some venues.  They produce a very fine haze of oil in the air, and as such might not be considered the healthiest haze generating device.  Especially for continuous exposure in a themed environment. 

Glycol fog machines and hazers tend to use fluids based on combinations of glycols or glycerin and water.  The higher the concentration of glycol the denser the fog up to a point.  Typically fog fluid is in the region of 30% glycol in distilled water.  (Pure water reduces the risk of precipitate build up that can clog the heater tube.) 
Glycol haze and fog goes back many decades with the only known hazards being irritation of the mucous membranes caused by the very hygroscopic (moisture absorbing)nature of the fog when overused.


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