Who invented the spray can?

Posted: 16th October 2023
With so many brands to choose from, did you ever wonder who came up with the original?

Its easy to take the humle spray can for granted. It seems so simple on the surface, but do you know who invented it? Conceptually the spray can, can be attributed to various inventors and developments over time.

However, one key figure in the development of the modern aerosol can is Eric A. Rotheim, a Norwegian engineer. In 1926, Rotheim patented the first working aerosol can and valve system. His invention allowed for the pressurized dispensing of products, such as paint, insect repellent, and other substances, through a spray nozzle.

So how does it work?

A spray can works by using a combination of pressurized gas & a liquid or fine powder substance. The key components and the process by which a spray can works are as follows:

  1. Canister: The container of the spray can is made of metal. Designed to be airtight and able to withstand the pressure inside.
  2. Propellant: Inside the canister, there is a propellant, typically a liquefied gas (such as propane, butane, or a combination of gases) that is under pressure. Creating the pressure necessary to expel the contents when the nozzle is pressed.
  3. Valve and Nozzle: The valve system at the top controls the release of both the propellant and the product inside. Pressing the nozzle opens the valve, allowing the propellant and product to escape through the nozzle.
  4. Liquid or Powder Product: The substance being dispensed, such as paint, is stored inside the canister in a liquid or fine powder form.
  5. Mixing and Dispensing: When you press down on the nozzle, the valve opens. As the propellant is released, it mixes with the liquid or powder product. The pressure from the propellant forces the mixture out of the can through the nozzle as a fine mist or spray.
  6. Spray Pattern: The design of the nozzle determines the spray pattern – whether it’s a narrow stream, a wide cone, or something in between. Artists and users can select nozzles or adjust settings to achieve the desired spray pattern for their specific application.
  7. Actuation: The user controls the release of the spray by pressing the nozzle, which activates the valve. Releasing the nozzle stops the flow of the product.

What were the first graffiti brands?

The first brand of spray paint widely associated with street art and graffiti is “Krylon.” Krylon spray paint became popular among graffiti artists in the 1970s in the United States. Its affordability, availability, and vibrant color options made it a popular choice for artists who wanted to create colorful and eye-catching graffiti pieces. Krylon, along with other brands like Rust-Oleum, Montana Cans, and MTN 94, has continued to be a popular choice for street artists and graffiti writers for many years. These brands offer a wide range of colors and different types of spray paint suitable for outdoor and indoor applications. While Krylon is often recognized as one of the early favorites among street artists, the choice of spray paint can vary depending on an artist’s preferences and the specific project at hand.

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