Marry Wills

The Way Spray Paint Works

You're looking for a way to breathe new life into your aging patio furniture. Your spouse has changed her mind (again) about what color she likes for the shutters. The child who lives next door should make a sign for a lemonade stand. Fortunately, there's a very simple solution to each these problems, as it comes in a can of spray paint.

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Spray paint, also referred to as aerosol paint, is paint that is kept in a pressurized container and dispensed using a valve to release a mixture of paint and a propellant, usually pressurized gas or compressed air.

The result is a fine, even mist that's easily applied to many different surfaces. Spray painting is one of three primary procedures for paint application apart from using a paintbrush or a roller, and is generally quicker, cleaner, and easier to accomplish a uniform coat.

Spray paint started becoming a steadfast friend to do-it-yourselfers when American celebrity Francis Davis Millet developed a petroleum and direct mixture that could be sprayed to speed up preparations for the Chicago World's Fair. Nevertheless, it was Edward Seymour who thought to utilize an aerosol spray to dispense paint.

Back in 1949, he demonstrated a new aluminum paint designed for finishing radiators on a large scale quickly. Aerosol spray cans were around since Norwegian engineer Eric Rotheim invented the first one in 1931, and Seymour was only piggybacking on this invention as a way to showcase his own merchandise (origin: Harris).

But he was intrigued with this new method of paint delivery he led his firm, Seymour of Sycamore, to give considerable resources to exploring its possible.

Around the exact same time Seymour was working on his gifts to spray paint, Krylon and Crown Holdings Inc. were every developing new can layouts that eventually gave rise to the metal cylinders we use now (source: Sattler).

They were smaller, lighter, cleaner and applied an even coat quicker than a brush or roller could, making those little paint jobs around the house far more manageable. And after the manufacturing industry found its advantages, spray paint moved from a resourceful and useful invention to a full-blown industrial boon.

Today, spray paint comes in enamels, stains, flats and glossies, and there are varieties designed for just about any surface, including wood, metal, glass, plastic and masonry. In other words, if it can be painted, there's probably a spray paint which can perform the job.

In this article, we'll have a closer look at spray paint and see exactly what makes it tick -- or rather, what that racket is when you shake it.

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