I was spray painting a Wonder Horse today for special little one in my life (though she turns five soon, how is that possible?!). I was reflecting on the other couple dozen or so I've painted and I was thinking how nice it was that I could get full, even coverage so quickly rather than the standard paint and brush... Oh hello, Daily Doodle topic!
The concept of an aerosol originated as early as 1790 when self-pressurized carbonated beverages were introduced in France. In 1837, a man called Perpigna invented a soda siphon incorporating a valve. Metal spray cans were being tested as early as 1862, however, they were constructed from heavy steel and were too bulky to be commercially successful. In 1899, inventors Helbling and Pertsch patented aerosols pressurized using methyl and ethyl chloride as propellants.
On November 23, 1927, Norwegian engineer Erik Rotheim patented the first aerosol can and valve that could hold and dispense products and propellant systems. This was the forerunner of the modern aerosol can and valve... All because he was looking for a better way to wax his skis.
During World War II, the U.S. government funded research into a portable way for servicemen to spray malaria-carrying bugs. Department of Agriculture researchers, Lyle Goodhue and William Sullivan, developed a small aerosol can pressurized by a liquefied gas (a fluorocarbon) in 1943. It was their design that made products like hair spray possible, along with the work of another inventor Robert Abplanalp.
Robert H. Abplanalp’s invention of a crimp on valve enabled liquids to be sprayed from a can under the pressure of an inert gas. Spray cans, mainly containing insecticides, were available to the public in 1947. Abplanalp’s invention made of lightweight aluminum made the cans a cheap and practical way to dispense liquids foams, powders, and creams.
It wasn’t until 1949 that Edward Seymour, of Sycamore, Illinois, thought of putting paint in a spray can, though he credited his wife, Bonnie, with the initial flash of inspiration. Initially considering the idea little more than a novelty, Seymour soon realized the potential of such an efficient method of dispensing paint. The first color was aluminum, though obviously it grew from there. He founded Seymour of Sycamore, which to this day is a leading manufacturer of aerosol paints.
The technology behind the aerosol can is brilliant: an easy-to-hold, sealed aluminium pressurised container with a push-button valve release on the top. Within each paint can a small metal ball, called a pea, mixes the paint when the can is shaken, giving the user an efficient way to paint... now if it could just come with a finger guard.