Mace (spray)

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TypeSelf-defense chemical spray
InventorAlan Lee Litman
ManufacturerMace Security International

Mace is the brand name of an early type of aerosol self-defense spray invented by Alan Lee Litman in the 1960s. The first commercial product of its type, Litman's design packaged phenacyl chloride (CN) tear gas dissolved in hydrocarbon solvents into a small aerosol spray can,[1] usable in many environments and strong enough to act as a deterrent and incapacitant when sprayed in the face.[citation needed]

A generic trademark, its popularity led to the name "mace" being commonly used for other defense sprays regardless of their composition,[2][3] and for the term "maced" to be used to reference being pepper sprayed.[4] It is unrelated to the spice mace.[5]


The original formulation consisted of 1% chloroacetophenone (CN) in a solvent of 2-butanol, propylene glycol, cyclohexene, and dipropylene glycol methyl ether.[6] Chemical Mace was originally developed in the 1960s by Allan Lee Litman and his wife, Doris Litman, after one of Doris's female colleagues was robbed in Pittsburgh.[7] In 1987, Chemical Mace was sold to Smith & Wesson and manufactured by their Lake Erie Chemical division. Smith & Wesson subsequently transferred ownership to Jon E. Goodrich along with the rest of the chemical division in what is now Mace Security International, which also owns federal trademark registrations for the term "mace".[8][9][10][11]

Historically, "chemical mace" was the development of irritant with the active ingredient called phenacyl chloride (CN) to incapacitate others whereas the term "Mace" is a trademarked term for use on personal defense sprays.[12] Though the design has been expanded on, the original chemical mace formula using only CN has since been discontinued. Due to the potentially toxic nature of CN and the generally superior incapacitating qualities of oleoresin capsicum (OC) pepper spray in most situations, the early CN has been mostly supplanted by OC formulas in police use, although Mace Security International still retains a popular "Triple Action" formula combining CN, OC and an ultraviolet marker dye.[1]


  1. ^ a b Leu, Chelsea (1 July 2017). "What's Inside Triple-Action Mace? Chili Peppers and UV Dye". Wired. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  2. ^ Gerhardt, Nick. "27 Trademarked Names That Have Become Commonly Used Terms". The Family Handyman. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  3. ^ Quirk, Mary Beth (July 19, 2014). "15 Product Trademarks That Have Become Victims Of Genericization". Consumerist. Consumer Reports.
  4. ^ Clankie, Shawn (1999). "Brand Name Use in Creative Writing: Genericide or Language Right?". In Buranen, Lise; Roy, Alice Myers (eds.). Perspectives on Plagiarism and Intellectual Property in a Postmodern World. SUNY Press. pp. 260–261. ISBN 978-0-7914-4080-3.
  5. ^ Aronson, J.K. (2009). Meyler's Side Effects of Herbal Medicines. Elsevier. ISBN 9780444532695.
  6. ^ Sarosh, Tuba (2021-11-26). "Pepper Spray vs Mace Spray: What's the Difference?". Tech Sherlock. Retrieved 2021-11-29.
  7. ^ Gross, Daniel A. (November 4, 2014). "The Forgotten History of Mace, Designed by a 29-Year-Old and Reinvented as a Police Weapon". Smithsonian Magazine.
  8. ^ "Trademark Status & Document Retrieval".
  9. ^ "Trademark Status & Document Retrieval".
  10. ^ "Trademark Status & Document Retrieval".
  11. ^ "Trademark Status & Document Retrieval".
  12. ^ "Mace vs. Pepper Spray – Pepper Spray Store".

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