History of Making Aerosols

Aerosol sprays are a dispensing system that creates a mist of huge liquid particles which is generally used in a bottle or a can, which has liquid under huge pressure. As the valve of the container is opened, liquid forces itself out of a tiny hole and then emerges as mist. With the expansion of gas, a bit of propellant evaporates in the can which helps in maintaining even pressure. Just outside the can, small droplets of propellant evaporate rapidly, which leaves payload suspended in the form of droplets or very fine particles. The concept of such an aerosol can is not new and has been there since ages.

The First Invention – Eric Rotheim

The concept of aerosol containers and aerosol cans date back to 1970 when the first aerosol can was conceptualized. The first patent to the aerosol spray was granted in the 1926, in Oslo to a Norwegian chemical engineer – Eric Rotheim.  A United States patent was later granted in 1931 for the invention. For this, the patents rights were sold to a famous US company for 100,000 Norwegian Kroner. In order to celebrate this invention, the Postal service of the company issued a stamp in the year 1998.

Contribution Of Julian S Kahn

Later in the year 1939, Julian S Kahn, was granted patent for another disposable aerosol spray can but unfortunately the product did not develop much in the later years. Kahn had the main intention to mix cream with a propellant from two different sources which would help to make whipped cream easily. However, this was not actually aerosol in its true form. In the next few years, Julian went ahead and disclaimed his previous 4 claims of the aerosol can related to aerosol, which laid the foundation of his other patent claims.


Contributions of Lyle Goodhue and Sullivan

It was the year 1941, when aerosol spray can was actually first put to use by Lyle Goodhue and Sullivan who share the credit of being inventors of our modern aerosol spray can. They had a unique design of refillable spray which also worked as a ‘bug bomb’

This is now considered to be the ancestor of several popular spray products which are commercially a huge success. Refillable aerosol spray can is today one of the most in demand spray products, which is pressurized by a liquefied gas with propellant qualities

 This small refillable aerosol spray can worked wonders for soldiers, who found this easy to carry due to its portability and was very useful for the soldiers who used the spray to defend against mosquitoes which caused malaria and other mosquito borne diseases during those days. An aerosol spray can was used to spray inside the tents, in airplanes and in camps during World War II.

It was the year 1948 when three companies were given licenses by United States for manufacturing aerosols. These companies include Claire Manufacturing and Chase Products Company, which are involved in the manufacture of aerosol containers and aerosol spray can even today.

Robert H Abplanalp and His Contribution

In the year 1949, the very useful ‘crimp on valve’ feature which helped to control the spray in very low pressure conditions was developed, by Robert H Abplanalp. A wonderful invention by a young man of 27 years, this valve helped liquids in the aerosol can to be sprayed under pressure of a gas. Spray cans, which had pesticides, were available from 1947 for the general masses and soon became a huge success as individuals started realizing the value of the spray cans. This refillable aerosol spray can was largely used by US soldiers which helped them to control the spread of insect borne diseases. Spraying with such aerosol containers was simpler and quicker than with other means. With this invention, it was seen that aluminum which was quite light weight was used, that helped in reducing the costs of the cans. It was also considered to be a very cheap and easy way to dispense creams, powders and foams with the helps of such aerosol containers. In the year 1953, Robert moved ahead and patent this crimp on valve.

In the 1970’s there was a rising concern over fluorocarbon use in aerosol containers and there were plenty of reports about how badly, the use or overuse of such ingredients was affecting our environment. It was known to lead to environment pollution and harm to human beings in a very bad way. This was when Abplanalp went back to his lab for remedies or solutions. He came up with an effective solution by which he substituted water soluble hydrocarbons in place of the very damaging fluorocarbons which created an environment friendly product, which did no harm to the environment. Thus, with this the manufacture of aerosol spray cans and related products, moved to a much appreciated higher gear.