Sick of grilled chicken tasting like lighter fluid, theater director Richard Looft made his first prototype by using a reversed vacuum to blow air onto a toaster filled with charcoal. When he saw that the coal was ready to use in just a few minutes, the concept for the Looftlighter was born. The resulting curling-iron-shaped device produces 1000°F electric heat to ignite anything from charcoal to wood with the touch of a button.
It also makes re-starting charcoal easier, and you can still go for the slow start by just using the lighter a little bit—not to mention the fun of wielding a magic fire wand. Plus, eliminating lighter fluid from the process not only makes summer nostalgia more pure, but cuts down on the toxic fumes, the production of the petroleum-based product, and burn injuries resulting from unattended fires.
You’ll soon be able to buy the Looftlighter and accessories directly from the source, but in the meantime pick it up from ThinkGeek for $80.