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AEDA | HISTORY OF AEROSOLS
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HISTORY OF AEROSOLS

History of Aerosols

In 1825, Charlie Plinth invented his “Regency Portable Fountain”, which used pressure to dispense soda water and was controlled by a stopcock. The stopcock was replaced by another device called the siphon champenois, which was actually a hollow corkscrew which allowed sparkling and other pressurized beverages to be dispensed without removing the cork.

 

In 1837, Perpigna invented the siphon bottle, which consisted of a valve on top which was activated by a spring. That same year, Savaresse introduced the soda water siphon based on a similar principle. The modern soda water siphon is the direct descendant of these inventions.

During the 19th Century

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, doctors and apothecaries used metal or glass vials containing ethyl chloride to produce a spray that was used as a local anesthetic. The vials were warmed in one’s hand to increase the pressure. They were then turned upside down and the end was broken off to emit a jet of liquid that quickly evaporated on the skin, producing an intense cold sensation. A perfume spray device known as “chisquete” was used in Peru at spring carnival time. It consisted of a glass tube sealed with a rubber stopper held in place by a spring. It contained ethyl chloride and perfume

A True Leap Forward

The most significant breakthrough came in the 1920s and 30s when Norwegian Erik Andreas Rotheim filed a number of patents for devices that most resemble aerosols that we are familiar with today. The first commercial production of aerosols took place in Norway at paint manufacturer Alf Berke’s factory in Oslo, and then at Mortensen Systems AS. Both of these ventures dwindled away to nothing before World War II.

1951 – 1960

As a result of great public acceptance, commercial companies began looking for ways to exploit this new form of packaging.

 

Insecticides, air fresheners, and hairsprays were the first products to reach the European market, at the beginning of the 1950s. This decade saw the beginning of a long love affair between consumers and aerosols. Approximately 70 million aerosol containers were manufactured in Europe during this period.

 

Historical Context:

 

1950: CREDIT CARDS
1956: VIDEOTAPE
1957: THE TREATY OF ROME ESTABLISHES THE EEC
1959: FOUNDING OF THE EUROPEAN AEROSOL FEDERATION
1959: SPUTNIK 1 LAUNCH

Aerosols Take Off

It was not until World War II that aerosols were successfully mass-produced. In 1942 in the Pacific, more men were dying from insect-borne diseases than from warfare itself. This inspired L.D. Goodhue and W.N. Sullivan, who were working for the United States Department of Agriculture.

 

Goodhue was a research chemist who, in 1935, had the idea of spraying insecticides with liquid halogen hydrocarbons, which had never been tested before. During Easter Week 1941, Goodhue and Sullivan were motivated to find a solution to the problem in the Pacific, so they decided to test the Goodhue’s idea. The test was successful, and in 1942, portable cylinders known as “bug bombs” were developed to be used by soldiers.

 

After the war, these insecticides became popular with the public, as they were sold in army surplus stores. US manufacturers saw the great potential that existed. They modified beer cans and replaced the bug bomb’s copper valve with a plastic one. In 1957, production began in Spain.

1920 – 1950

In 1929, Norwegian engineer Erik Rotheim filed a patent for what would become a milestone with unprecedented success: aerosol. The successful development of aerosol mass production took place in the United States in the late 1940s, in the form of the “bug bomb”, an insecticide developed by Goodhue & Sullivan (USA). Soldiers used it to fight against insect-borne diseases in the Pacific during World War II. 50 million units were manufactured, and some of them found their way to the U.S. market soon after the war as Army surplus.

 

Historical Context:

 

1920: LIVE RADIO BROADCAST
1925: TELEVISION SET
1928: PENICILLIN
1929: AEROSOL PATENT
1940: FIRST MANUFACTURING OF AEROSOL
1944: DIGITAL COMPUTER

1961 – 1970

This decade saw the golden age of the aerosol industry. A wider range of products was launched, and consumers clearly demonstrated their preference for aerosol products.

 

Some unusual, often of short-lived products appeared, such as concentrates of coffee, chocolate, and whiskey, to name a few. Aerosol production in Europe increased from 70 million to 1.2 billion units. It was an unimaginable success! Originally made from drawn aluminum, aerosols containers were soon made from three pieces of tinplate as well.

 

Historical Context:

 

1960: FOUNDING OF THE SPANISH AEROSOL ASSOCIATION
1963: AUDIO CASSETTE
1964: LIQUID-CRYSTAL DISPLAY SCREEN
1966: PHOTOCOPIER/FAX
1967: HEART TRANSPLANT
1968: WOODSTOCK AND “FLOWER POWER”
1969: FIRST MAN ON THE MOON

1971 – 1980

In the late 1970s, a wave of environmental consciousness caught the world’s attention after the publication of the Molina/Rowland report on the ozone layer. Aerosols became the primary objective for legislators, world media, and consumer organizations, due to the role that CFCs were thought to have played in depleting the upper-atmosphere ozone layer; this occurred in spite of the fact that CFCs affected the phenomenon in a relatively minor way.

 

Aerosol production astonished the world yet again, reaching a total of 2.2 billion units. In Europe, this represented an 80% increase over the previous decade. Aerosol container for spacecraft use 1972 Munich Olympic Games Torch in 1972.

 

Historical Context:

 

1971: MICROWAVE OVEN
1971: WORD PROCESSOR
1973: VELCRO
1977: COMPACT DISC
1978: ARTIFICIAL HEART
1979: WALKMAN

1981 – 1990

The industry moved away from CFCs to alternative propellants. “CFC-free” labeling was introduced in Europe. Since 1989, European aerosols for consumer use, (except for some medical products, such as asthma inhalers), do not contain CFCs. European aerosol production remained steady for a short time, showing no growth. Before long consumers once again turned to their preferred dispensing system since it is practical, easy to use, hygienic, and effective. During this decade, European production increased by 35% to 3 billion units.

 

Historical Context:

 

1981: PORTABLE COMPUTER
1984: APPLE AND IBM PCs
1986: COMPACT DISC INTERACTIVE
1989: NON-CFC AEROSOLS

1991 – 2000

Protecting the environment has been a key issue during this decade and is likely to remain so for the next millennium. Recycling and product waste minimization top the industry’s agenda. Aerosols are already using a significant proportion of recycled metal. We will see this proportion grow in the coming years. Aerosol production has continued to grow consistently and in Europe has reached 4.4 billion units, a 48% increase over the previous decade.

 

Aerosol is considered one of the greatest inventions of the twentieth century. A prestigious Spanish information medium referred to it as such after consulting scientists, sociologists, and advertising agents.

 

Historical Context:

 

1992: BARCELONA OLYMPIC GAMES TORCH

The future

During its long history, aerosol has enjoyed significant success among consumers all over the world. In 1998, over 10 billion aerosols were manufactured worldwide. Europe accounts for 44% of its total production and has led production since 1982. There are thousands of brands in aerosol form which offer an unlimited range of products in the areas of personal care, household, food, and in the pharmaceutical and industrial sectors.

 

Where will the future of aerosol lead us? Towards more creative designs? New formulations/applications? Alternative propellants? Radically new technology? Alternative materials that can be molded/textured?

 

In short…

 

THE AEROSOL INDUSTRY IS CHARACTERIZED BY ITS SENSE OF INNOVATION, CREATIVITY, IMPROVEMENT, AND SAFETY. FOUR KEY ELEMENTS FOR PROMOTING AEROSOLS IN THE CURRENT MILLENNIUM…