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Brief history of Pneumatics: From Blowguns to Pneumatic Valves & Pneumatic Controls


The field of pneumatics has changed greatly over the years. Now, when people think of this industry they think of pneumatic valves, or pneumatic controls. People tend not to think about the long history that has led to where the industry is today. It has moved from small handheld devices to large machines with multiple parts that serve different functions. When you look back to the beginning of pneumatics, it almost doesn't resemble where we've come to today. The first discovered instances of pneumatic devices are blowguns. These guns we simple tubes designed to fire projectile weapons. On average these devises could produce pressure of about 1 to 3 PSI. These blowguns were not uncommon, but little was done to improve the pneumatic pressure. It wasn't till roughly around the year 3000 B.C that the first compressors were seen. Considering the time period, these devices were rather rudimentary; however, its invention would change the course of pneumatics forever.

The first compressors were used to help enlarge fires, by giving them quick bursts of air. The compressors are still used today to help with fires, although there have been many improvements in design since then. As the design changed for the better people started using the devices for different purposes. Around the year 1500 B.C the metal smelting industry began to incorporate the devices into their line of work. The compressors used were hand operated, and it wasn't until the 1700's that mechanical compressors we used with pneumatics. At that time in history 15 PSI was considered high. Considering the low PSI prior the 1700's, not many people thought of the practical application of pneumatics for large industrial energy transferring. Attempts were made to use compressed air through the 17 and 1800's, and a lot of the time the experiments failed. Usually failure was due to the pipes not being airtight. This led to a huge drop in PSI. As people kept experimenting, technologies got better and PSI greatly increased.

By the end of the 1800's 90 PSI was a real thought. Within the last twenty years pneumatics have been used to control circuitry, dental drills, and a lot of different industries that require high PSI. Not only do we now have strong and reliable pneumatic systems, but also ways to control and maintain these systems. With the invention of pneumatic valves and pneumatic controls, you can get the exact PSI, at a consistent rate, every time.

It's amazing to think about what the future for the industry will be.

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