A Brief History of Pneumatics

Pneumatics refers to the science of using compressed air to transmit energy and force. A basic example of utilizing pressurized air for the desired function is something as simple as blowing air into a balloon and then letting it zoom around the room. Pneumatic tools are essential components behind things such as drilling machines, machinery that transports heavy objects, and even jet engines!

In this blog, we’ll go over the brief history of pneumatic systems and how they evolved to their current state.

The Origins

The word pneumatics may sound modern and complex, but the technology has been used by humans for thousands of years. In fact, it began when primitive hunters first created blow-guns to hunt down their prey. These contraptions delivered pressure of around 1 to 3 psi. It wasn’t until 3000 B.C that small compressors were developed to assist in starting fires.

Around 10 to 70 A.D, a Greek mathematician simply known as the Hero of Alexandria created what would be the first pneumatic tools. Despite their rudimentary design, these tools would lay the foundation upon which future pneumatic systems would be developed. Fast forward to the 1600s, a German physicist known as Otto von Guericke would invent the first vacuum pump that made use of pressurized air.

1800s – The Era of Revolutions

The 1800s would later be known as the era in which pneumatic evolved into its own industry with businesses and inventors alike recognizing its great potential. No longer did people tinker around with pneumatic systems out of curiosity but rather to produce tools that served a practical purpose.

Innovation began with the introduction of pneumatic tubes in Victorian England that used pipelines to transport telegrams from one station to another. During the late 1800s, an American merchant known as John Wanamaker developed tube systems that helped transport money and mail items.

The most elaborate use of these tubes was introduced in 1867 by a man called Alfred Beach. He created a subway line that transported passengers through a pipe. Unfortunately, his project was not granted commercial access and closed down after a while.

The year 1890 saw the invention of the pneumatic hammer by Charles Brady King. This tool became vital for fastening steel structures in railway sleepers and shipyards.

Pneumatics Today

Modern-day pneumatic tools provide an accurate and quick pressure supply for a number of applications including packaging, automation control, and heavy load movement.

pneumatics air compressor

Pneumatic systems continue to evolve to provide better-pressurized solutions. Hovair Systems Inc. provides businesses across multiple industries with pneumatic tools that assist in heavy load handling and movement. These tools require minimal training to operate and assist in reducing energy costs. Contact us today for more information.

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