A history of sandblasting, 1870 – present

The idea behind sandblasting is to use mechanics to speed up the weathering process of nature. Instead of waiting for the winds to blow sand away until smooth rocks and mountains begin to take shape from materials deposited from one surface to another, Benjamin Tilghman developed his own machine in 1870 to remove the painted and rusty surfaces of materials before making further practical use of them. In 1904, Thomas Pangborn expanded Tilghman’s creation to include compressed air in combination with sand for abrasive blasting to clean metal. Sandblasters are typically comprised of your chosen abrasive particle, an air compressor, and a blast nozzle, and are commonly used to clean a surface of any bonded material before use or decoration, or to etch textured words or designs onto a given material to customize its appearance.

The term sandblasting refers to moving fine pieces of material at high speeds to clean or chisel a surface. Originally the process had literally involved the use of sand, but this method was ended once it came to light that inhaling sand particles frequently resulted in a serious respiratory condition leading to a debilitating lung disease called silicosis. In 1893, the air processor made sandblasting suitable for industrial use on a broader scale. In 1918, the first enclosure was built, with a transparent display screen for use in the sandblasting process to surround the workplace, protecting sandblasting users from inhalation of particles that had made the process unsafe in the past, and also kept dust off workers’ faces with an exhaust fan. Since 1939, various small, uniform particles of media ranging from quartz, aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, glass beads, plastic abrasives, powder abrasives, steel grit, copper slag, and even walnut shells have been tested. coconut shells and fruit pits. its effectiveness in adapting the sandblasting technique. Now managed with care by employing an alternate air supply, adequate ventilation, and protective equipment, the process has been made safer in moderation and with proper safety restrictions in mind. However, the process can still create safety risks and lead to possible exposure to silicosis.

Sandblasting was initially intended for practical industrial purposes, such as removing rust or polishing metal before painting to avoid trapping foreign particles, cleaning boats, and smoothing brick, stone, or concrete work. However, the technique also has decorative purposes, such as carving or texturing. Among the first sandblasted items to hit the market were Alfred Dunhill’s sandblasted tobacco pipes, which he found sold for more money than smooth ones. In its day, however, sandblasting would result in varied and sometimes unpredictable patterns and / or warped shapes. Today, craftsmen can be more deliberate and particular about the finish and the effect they aim to achieve.

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