History Of Spraying

The Spray Pump

This was invented in 1887

  • Its crazy to think that the spray pump has been around for longer than the roller but in reality it has!
  • An American from Chicago called Joseph Binks was a maintenance man for a department store and has miles of basement walls o paint regularly by brush! He thought that there must be a better and quicker way to do the same job so combined a hand operated pump, a pot to hold the liquid under pressure and a wand with a nozzle on the end.. Really it was no different to the pump p garden sprayers we use now.
  • Not much later than Binks came another gentleman, a doctor called Allen DeVilbiss was frustrated with treating his patients for sore throats. When he gave them liquid medicine it quickly passed their throats and was swallowed. To try and get over this DeViliss combined a rubber bulb, some tubing and the base of an oil can to invent the first atomiser! This is the same principle that suction feed spray guns work on now.
  • In 1907, DeVilbiss’ son Thomas expanded his fathers invention and created the first hand held air powered spray gun. He realised that by blowing compressed air across the top of a pickup tube which was in liquid he could create a controllable fan of atomised material which he used in the furniture industry.
  • By 1950 there were 3 spray guns to choose from: Gravity Fed, Siphon Fed & Pressure Fed
  • In 1957 the first airless sprayer was produced by Grey Company Inc who later became known as Graco!
  • In 1960 electricity was introduced in a bid to increase efficiency, save money and materials.
  • 1990 was the advent of the HVLP, although the principle had been around since the 1930’s it came to the forefront in the 90’s when air pollution was a problem.

The Roller

This was invented in 1940!


  • A gentleman from Toronto called Norman Breakey came up with this time saving painting tool in 1940. He went round to all the local hardware stores and painters with his invention but sadly didn’t patent it before he showed everyone! As a result there were a lot of imitation rollers that were produced and it was patented by Richard Croxton who funny enough worked for Sherwin Williams!
  • Breakley invented a cylinder covered in fabric that would pick up more paint than a brush. He went to AB Caya Fabrics exec Tom Hamilton for advice on what the best fabric would be and went away with some green bristly mohair velour.
  • Unfortunately, Breakey lacked the money to make enough rollers by himself and his attempt to find investors failed as well. Meanwhile other manufacture took on the idea and produced their own versions of the roller by tweaking Breakley’s blueprints of his invention.
  • Apparently Breakley died poor and unsung in 1965 however his invention has benefits hundreds of decorators since he invented it!