A vacuum flask, colloquially called a thermos after a genericized ubiquitous brand, is a storage vessel which provides thermal insulation by interposing a partial vacuum between the contents and the ambient environment. The evacuated region of the partial vacuum removes material that could serve as a heat conductor or carrier, enabling the flask to keep its contents hotter or cooler than its surroundings. Vacuum flasks are commonly used as insulated shipping containers.
The vacuum flask was invented by Scottish physicist and chemist Sir James Dewar in 1892 and is sometimes referred to as a Dewar flask, or Dewar bottle, after its inventor. The first vacuum flasks for commercial use were made in 1904 when a German company, Thermos GmbH, was formed. Thermos, their trademark for their flasks, remains a registered trademark in some countries but was declared a genericized trademark in the U.S. in 1963 as it is colloquially synonymous with vacuum flasks in general.