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The History of Modern Industrial Air Compressors
October 19, 2016

The history of modern industrial air compressors began in the middle of the 18th century when English engineer John Smeaton designed the first logical prototype of an air compressor. Smeaton’s invention was a useful springboard that spurred creativity and the right forward thinking aimed at developing mechanically efficient air compressors. Fifteen years later, an England based engineer, John Wilkinson further improved Smeaton’s invention into a more effective prototype that better reflects the functions of today’s industrial air compressors. These mechanical compressors were immediately adopted and over the next fifty years, saw massive improvements. By the end of 1829, an improved compound-based air compressor had been developed, and patents registered. Four decades later, a further improved compressor that relied on water jets for cooling was developed, making a significantly high number of improvements on the predecessor.

Up until the 20th century air compressors were largely quite inefficient, and their performance was unreliable. In 1920 Alan Arnold Griffith critiqued the common air compressor design in his seminal paper. He described the issues and inefficiencies of the compressor’s drive system that used flat blades, and he affirmed that the use of airfoils would have more satisfying results. At the time, engineers were at the primitive stage of developing a jet engine, which they claimed had become impossible. Before the concept could be shelved, Griffith’s paper cited a breakthrough that would help the engineers come closer to a realizable turbine engine. Although these developments could not fully match today’s designs of industrial air compressor systems, they offered a consistent platform for further research and development.

Inspired by the success of the preceding inventions, modern industrial air compressors have since achieved a greater amount of efficiency and reliability. Their physical structures, performance and efficiency improve with every succeeding design, paving the way for further innovations with each new product design.

Read more about the historical use of industrial air compressors in the argicultural and pharmaceutical industries

I agree. This was a great article. Thanks!
Posted by: Talissa | March 11, 2017, 3:46 pm
I like reading historical blogs like this. Can you post more?
Posted by: Giorgio | February 2, 2017, 12:39 pm
Wow, I didn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t know there was so much history behind air compressors. Thanks, this was enjoyable to read.
Posted by: Fred | December 7, 2016, 10:40 am
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