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Posted on Nov 30, 2015 by in Random Subjects | 11 comments

I have a not-so-secret obsession. Vaporizers. Specifically, the Hankscraft model 240 cool mist kind. This is a longstanding addiction – lasting well over 40 years. I have a multitude of childhood memories of studying, reading, laughing, drawing, sleeping, eating, and even socializing, within a five foot radius of one of these beauties. Ask any of the people I have dated or lived with about this, and they will likely shake their head and laugh a little. As I said, it’s not really a secret.


The vaporizer is great as a sleep aid, but it’s not just the noise that I crave. It’s the cool mist, too. I like how it hangs in the air… and I like how it feels on my face. When I was little I was fascinated by how the tiny droplets of water would attach to every hair on my arm like frost on the trees.


The 240 is also an instant anxiety reducer for me. I think it goes back to when I was little and I would make “ditches” on the floor whenever I was stressed out or sad. I would take all of the pillows and cushions that I could find lying around the house, and pile them up in a big ring on the floor. I’d pull books and food and stuffed friends into the ditch with me, and I’d set up the vaporizer at the outside edge, pointing toward the center. I could sit there happily for HOURS, listening to the steady background hum of the machine.


There’s a saying that all good things must end… unfortunately, this includes vaporizers. The Hankscraft company started in Wisconsin, was purchased by Gerber, and later purchased by another company… and then divided… and renamed. Part of the original company continued to make vaporizers for a while, but eventually the model 240 was discontinued. This was devastating for me. I couldn’t go to Walgreens and pick up a new machine whenever the old one wore out.


About 10 years ago I discovered my beloved model 240 on eBay, and I’ve bid on a few. My husband jokes that he can tell when I’ve won another vaporizer because there is a certain sized box on the doorstep. I’ve got several in the basement now… in reserve. It’s comforting to know that I have a little bit of inventory handy.


For better or for worse, I’ve imparted my love of this machine onto my daughter. If it’s running, she’ll sit next to it with me, and we’ll laugh, tell stories, read, write… I hope that I’ll have enough inventory for her when she gets older and moves out. I’m not sure, though… maybe I need to get back on eBay?


Message of the Day: Childhood items can impart memories the instant you see/hear/smell/touch them. If your memories are good ones, it might be wise to keep one or two of these items on hand in case you ever need comfort. If your memories are bad ones… stay away from eBay.


  1. I have the same exact obsession. When I was a kid I loved the sound of the vaporizer and the feel of the mist on my face. None of the new vaporizers sound or feel like the Hankscraft 240. Why oh why did they stop making those.

    • I know… why oh why did they stop?? Sometimes I imagine acquiring the patent so that I could start making them again… but that’s only a dream. I recently bought a 241 from ebay — a smaller version of the 240. Same sound, but cuter. 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting!!

  2. I just bought one on eBay. I’m excited to see what memories it will stir up when I use it. I remember staying home from school and making a bed on the couch with the vaporizer pointing towards me and the blankets getting cool and damp. Loved it!! When I started looking for one a few months ago I found a youtube video of the sound of the Hankscraft on a 2 hour loop. I listen to it when I can’t sleep. I can’t wait for it ti be delivered. I’m totally calling in sick to work to break it in!!

    • Oooh! I’ll have to look for that You Tube video! I’ve thought about recording the sound, but haven’t managed to do it, thus far. Enjoy your new purchase, and thank you for commenting!

  3. I’m currently looking at a vaporizer/humidifier to purchase off a lady who is saying its a hankscraft model 207-V which she purchased a year or two ago a chemist but I can’t find any information on it. Just wondering if you could help me.

    • Hello Kim- I’m sorry — I don’t know anything a Hankscraft model 207-V. Only the 240. Good Luck!

  4. I have the exact same story. I vaguely remember my parents buying it for me when I had the ‘croop’ in the early 1980’s. My parents told me that I loved the humidifier so much that I refused to sleep without it. I also remember having pre-bedtime talks with my parents sitting next to the machine with the calming noise and cool mist as it collected on my face.

    Now in my 30s, I still sit in front of my 3rd rendition of the model (fortunately I have 2 backups for parts). It is by far the best anxiety reliever I own and I instantly am relaxed regardless of how much pain or anxiety I suffer from as well as brings back the memories of my childhood. I devote a good amount of time to this day reading in front of it as it relaxes me with its cool mist and sound.

    Finally, it’s definitely a deal breaker in my relationships as its a part of my life. I am so happy to hear there are other people with the same experience!

    • Amazing! I keep a few around for parts, too. Sometimes I wonder if I could start a business in small-appliance repair…?

  5. That’s the one we had when I was a kid! Now I have one that looks like a modern Danish sculpture. Thanks for reminding me get it out – cold and flu season is coming and this is my secret weapon!

    • Did you dig your humidifier out? I hope everyone is well at your house!!

  6. I’ve got a cool mist humidifier that I use as part of a vortex chamber I built for my classroom. They are so into it.


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