Sandblasting has a longer history than you might expect. The absolute furthest it can be traced back is 1870, when Benjamin Tilghman invented a machine for paint and rust removal. Of course, this was primitive and rudimentary, but it set the framework for future improvements. Then, Thomas Pangborn took Tilghman’s initial idea and ran with it, adding compressed air in 1904. Another substantial innovation took place in 1918, when the first enclosure was built. This enclosure contained a clear screen for sandblasters to surround the worksite and prevent dust from hitting workers’ faces.
By the 1930s, sandblasting was well-known in manufacturing fields. However, despite plant managers’ knowledge of the process, the majority felt the method was too messy. A change in attitude about sandblasting occurred when the U.S. Navy needed more efficient ways to prolong the service life of their coating systems. After simple scraping and sanding did not bring about satisfactory results, the Navy attempted sandblasting. Upon completion, the Navy realized that sandblasting was necessary for proper adhesion and performance of the coating system they would apply. Hence, this successful project set the foundation for the protective coating industry and numerous future success stories.
Sandblasting has evolved significantly, becoming safer and causing fewer cases of the lung disease silicosis. As sandblasting has emerged, so has blasting, in general, as a restoration practice for a variety of surfaces. More sustainable processes such as sodablasting and vapor blasting have become available as potential options and better substitutes.
Contact us today to see whether your project would be a good fit for sandblasting, sodablasting or vapor blasting!