It appears the first flamethrower of modern design was patented in Germany by Richard Fiedler in 1901. During the same year, the German army funded his continued work on flamethrower designs. Fiedler, a private citizen, designed several flamethrowers models and presented a working product to the German army in 1905. Based on the feedback he received, two versions of the flammenwerfer were delivered to the army in 1908.
Around the same time, a multi-talented man by the name of Bernhard Reddemann began his own experiments in designing flamethrowers. Reddeman was an officer in a German Pioneer battalion until 1903. At that time, he transitioned to a reserve officer and stayed in a Pioneer unit. Pioneers were specialist troops frequently responsible for the demolition of fortifications, engineering strong points and using specialized weapons.