air compressor history


Have you ever wondered from where those machines called compressors come? Why do they have that name? What year were they created? I’ve wondered about it too because it’s probably an interesting story. Since it will surely have to do with the mixture of physics and chemistry and the need for men to do work faster, for this reason, I would like to share with you in the following note some elements about the history of the compressor. You will know a little more about these wonderful machines when you finish reading it. They make our work easier efficient every day.


I tell you that many of us think that compressors are a new tool. They were created just a few decades ago. Or it was an invention of the last century. But what happens is that the compressor is not a new invention. Still, it is a tool that man has used since ancient times.

Why did people use the air compressor?

And this has been done with the need to transform nature and its resources to improve their quality of life. And it is based on the development of civilizations. That is why the shape of water has changed, of the minerals, of the territory. Besides, he has also done it with the air, building machines that help him do that and make his life easier.

They say that the compressor’s antecedent is the human lungs. Since ancient men needed to stoke the fire and make it stronger to cook the animals of the hunt and the vegetables and grains of the harvest, it gave way to gentlemen with the ingenuity of the time to study the mechanism of the lungs. So, the blowing in front of the fire of those who cooked designed. They create the first air compression mechanism. That was later called the compression system.

The bellows system is a simple mechanism that works like our lungs since the apparatus’s extremities are filled with air by stretching. When we inhale or close or join them, the air is expelled. So, this air is contained in a bag that serves as a reservoir, like our lungs or like the reservoir of a compressor. The compressed air in that reservoir came out through a narrow mouthpiece called Nozzle. This Nozzole gave it the air to come out with pressure towards the direction necessary.

When it is used

This device was so important that its parts were fine, and its use extended until the 19th century. People widely used it in fireplaces to fan the fire that gave heat in the winter. And at the same time, they were incorporated by several luthiers into some musical instruments that worked with the wind. And the use of this device made the music sound more in tune.

However, I will tell you that it was not until modern times that compressors began to be created as we know them today. That is why I would like to move on to this time, when the air began to be studied and its ways of using it inside.


Modern time

As I was saying, it was not until the 17th century that some scholars and inventors began scientifically analyzing air components. Still, it is said that Otto Von Guericke created the first device that resembles the air compressors that we know today. The air pump. It is said that this German engineer began to experiment with air. And he determined to study the study of the vacuum, studying everything that involved vacuum processes. These vacuum processes helped him create the pump. He worked with the vacuum.

This scientist was so interested in studying air that I tell you that he created some experiments to study them in detail. They are so famous today that they are known as the Magdeburg hemispheres. Where he demonstrated how air worked to carry out combustion, that is, that part of the content of the combustion or of what produced combustion was air. So, later it will be shown that the element that makes the fire gain strength is oxygen.

When did the first compressor produce?

But look, it was not until 1792 that the first cylindrical compressor was created. Very similar to the one we know today. But it produced a power of 99.9 Kilopascal, an international unit of measurement for pressure. And it measures in meters, which was an invention that exceeded expectations since it was not known why so much compressed air pressure could be used.

However, I tell you that it was at this time that experiments with air and vacuum began. So, it was not until the beginning of the 19th century that there was a record of the patenting of the first components. Therefore, they would integrate compressors as well as their first phase, registering the patent of a component. The component managed to compress air in a series of cylinders placed successively but without any intention of storing or using it industrially.

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But I tell you that it was not until 100 years after 1972. That is to say, in 1892. At that time, it was when some engineers and inventors perfected this system. And some added a water cooling mechanism, which caused investigations to be opened to control temperatures and pressures. They are seeking to control the mixture of other elements with the air. So they made the machine work more efficiently, which is why many scientists and business people of the time were interested in its study.

How does an air compressor help the military industry?

Now, I inform you that the use of these machines capable of storing compressed air in cylinders is beginning to be useful within the military industry since the need for soldiers capable of diving into the water in deep seas to repair ships. Both in ports and the middle of navigation began to be important. They caused its use to be extended to rescue work and other areas.

The initial idea was that a person would be capable of sinking to a depth of kilometers. He could survive. So the cylinders with compressed air were useful for these explorations. However, at first, they could not control the pressure with which the air came out through the Nozzle. It forced the military industry to finance research in this regard.

How does the compressor work?

But I tell you that over time, the machines that at the time operated with steam as a source of energy and power to do the most efficient work began to use cylinders with compressed air, which in the long run turned out to be much more efficient. Efficient and less polluting than the steam extracted from burning coal. It is said that in the first gold mines, during the gold rush, some miners used engines. Besides, they used steam to do their mining jobs, using this steam to produce energy. And their tools were needed to break the rocks and extract the minerals. But these engines were extremely dangerous since they accumulated a lot of pressure. And they ended up exploding and causing severe injuries to the operators.


Leaving steam behind with the arrival of electricity and other energy production, some researchers, sponsored by the military industry, began to study the tools used by divers since the first war submarines were beginning to be designed. And therefore, more diversity would be needed. These analyses greatly advanced the designs of the compressors, but it was not yet possible to build models as efficient as those we know today.

Now I tell you that over time and with the arrival of the internal combustion engine for the operation of cars and other machinery, it made great progress in the design of compressors since the piston model was copied and used by these motors to produce energy, and was introduced in a motor designed for the extraction of air, a motor that was based on the principle of the bellows system that I told you about above since the piston drove a motor that in turn moved a bag which was responsible for passing the air to the engine, as we see in some respiratory medical equipment today.

These advances led to the incorporation of parts to the compressors that imitated the engine of the vehicle, that is why we speak of the crankcase, the fan, and the nanometer inside the compressor, since it was specializing as the automotive and industrial industry was in increase, which explains why some of today’s compressors use lubricants to improve their efficiency.

When did the car industry use air compressors?

By the time of 1960, with the rise of the family car, car wash services began to be put into practice that used a compressor-driven suction system for the car’s interior. As well as the development of chain production driven by the automotive industry, research began to improve the tools used in factories, which gave way to pneumatic tools that improved precision and made production more efficient.

That is why I tell you that its use in the automotive industry has already spread to the construction sector. It is serving in the urban expansion plans of the city. And already in the 1970s, the rise of do-it-yourself magazines and programs began, where the use of compressors was recommended. Then the research began for home use, silent and high-performance compressors.

That is why it is now common to see that they are used from the construction sector to the health sector, through mechanics or carpentry. Yet, it currently accompanies many of the trades. So, we do, facilitating our lives as it was thought from the beginning.

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