One could argue that people have been airbrushing since the paleolithic era. These “airbrushed” hand stencils have been found throughout the major Paleolithic cave painting sites of Indonesia and Europe, as well as throughout Aboriginal Australia. The ancient paintings were accomplished by blowing paint through hollow bones, yielding a finely grained distribution of pigment, similar to that of an airbrush..
Ok, so maybe you don’t consider blowing pigment out of a bird bone airbrushing. Well, how about using a mouth atomizer? The mouth atomizer was used long ago before spray cans or airbrushes were invented. It was used by marblers to make the Italian Vein pattern, which requires a fine spray of gall water over the surface of the size, to break up the colors into thin veins.
When air is blown through a horizontal tube it will create a siphoning effect on liquid, drawing it up a vertical tube and projecting it outward into a spray. The science behind this can be explained with Bernoulli’s principle. In fluid dynamics, Bernoulli’s principle states that an increase in the speed of a fluid occurs simultaneously with a decrease in pressure or a decrease in the fluid’s potential energy. The principle is named afer Daniel Bernoulli who published it in his book Hydrodynamica in 1738.
Peeler’s Paint Distributor
But is a mouth atomizer really an airbrush? Well, it’s not much of a mechanical devise and it offers little control and therefore is not commonly reffered to as an airbrush.
Air Brush Manufacturing Co
The first company to sell a device called an “Air Brush” was the Air Brush Manufacturing Co. of Rockford IL. Liberty Walkup saw potential in Peeler’s “Paint Distributor.” He and his brother Charles, in 1882 acquired the patent and the original prototype by for $700. That same year, an improved version of the Peeler’s prototype was put up for sale by the two brothers, who marketed is as an “Air Brush.”