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A Brief History of the Air Compressor

Air compressors are used in many products to provide compressed or pressurized air. Air compressors are even used in construction to power equipment as well as control system valves. Air compressors have been around for thousands of years. Of course, early models of air compressors were not versatile, and they required some form of manual operation.

The earliest air compressor is in fact the human lung. This is because people can inhale oxygen and exhale it to do things like stroke fires. People went from using their own lungs to provide air pressure to using manufactured devices at around 3,000 BC. This change happened around the same time that mankind began to make products out of metal. As metal smiths were working with materials like gold or copper, it became clear that they needed to get their fires to higher temperatures if they were going to be able to create the products they wanted to.

At their best, a person with healthy lungs can only generate 14.5 psi of air pressure. This is nowhere near what a metalworker would need to do their task. Another problem with simply blowing to sustain a fire is that when a person exhales, in addition to oxygen, they are also blowing out a lot of carbon dioxide, which does little to keep a fire going.

From about 1500 BC, people invented bellows. They are basically a handheld device with a flexible bag that makes concentrated bursts of air, which in turn increases the temperature of a fire. Around 1760, a water wheel driven bellow began to replace the handheld models. In 1776, John Wilkinson made the blasting machine. This was the great great grandfather of the mechanical air compressors that are used today.

After the nineteenth century, compressors were being used to create energy. This trend started in Australia, then moved to Paris, and quickly spread to the rest of the world. Currently, there are so many different types of moderate air compressors available that a person would find it difficult to name them all. Each has been manufactured to suit a particular purpose or work in a particular industry. When an air compressor fails or is damaged, it is easy to purchase air compressor parts online to replace whatever is needed for a particular model.

Air compressor technology has gone a long way in the past few millennia. More advances in this technology should be expected since it will continue to be an essential part of human progress.

By Ryan

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