The Complete History of Air Purifiers

Did you know that air purification has actually been around for very a long time?

Most people just assume that this technology is fairly new, given the advanced features most machines include, when in fact, its roots date back to the time of the Industrial Revolution.

If you want to find out how exactly air cleaners came into production and the technological changes they’ve encountered along the way, keep reading below to get a complete history of air purifiers.

1800’s Marks the Beginning of Air Purifying Technology

Photo of John Stenhouse Air Purifier Respirator MaskThe Industrial Revolution was an important era that heralded more jobs for citizens and put new lifeblood into economies, however, it did come with a cost – heavily polluted air.

During this time coal was a primary power source to run machines and provide heat, but it was not a clean burning fuel. The by-products of burning coal were puffs unhealthy smog and bad-smelling air.

To counteract this negative side effect, inventors began to create products which filtered air. These devices were the first air purification systems.

In 1823, two inventors, named John and Charles Dean, created primitive air purification systems which helped firefighters to breathe cleaner air while they were working inside of burning, smoky structures.

In 1854, John Stenhouse improved upon this technology by incorporating a charcoal-based filter design that worked even better.

Seventeen years later, in 1871, another inventor named John Tyndall took air purification technology another step forward by creating a personal respirator.

As you can see, it was the desire to help firefighters that sparked the initial innovation for air purification and what lead to where the technology is today.

1900’s Took Air Purifiers from Personal Use to Home Use

Photo of HEPA FilterIn the 1940’s, a key advancement in air cleaning technology happened when the High-efficiency Particulate Air filter, commonly referred to as HEPA, was invented.

Initially, such designs were developed in order to assist soldiers and lab workers who were involved with the Manhattan Project (where the first atomic bomb was created during WWII) with avoiding the ill effects of radioactive matter. These air purification systems took microscopic particles out of the air and also removed a host of other irritants, including dander from pets, pollen, germs and particles of mold.

HEPA air filters are the leading types of filters on air purifiers today and the technology continues to evolve.

In 1963, two German brothers Manfred and Klaus Hammes invented the first air purification system for home use, which boosted the quality of air in residences in Germany. During that same year, the United States instituted the Clean Air Act, which set the standards for air quality across the nation and helped spur further innovation in air purification technologies.

Although HEPA filters have been around since the WWII era, the technology had a long way to go in order to be usable and affordable for home use. At the start, these devices weren’t very streamlined. They were heavy and uncomfortable and were very costly to make.

Over time, personal air purifying systems became smaller, lighter and easier to wear for soldiers, lab technicians and hospital workers. Later on, non-mask air cleaning devices became more prevalent and started to make their way into residential homes.

Big companies which were known for their air cleaning systems included AG, Austin Air Systems and BlueAir, to name just a few.

Once technology evolved, it was easier to sell these systems to consumers. Since air purifiers became cheaper to produce, it became possible to mass-distribute them.

In 1991, Austin Air Systems created a special air intake system which functioned at all 360 degrees. This new design boosted air cleaning capability in a whole new way.

2000’s Include Major Technological Advancements

These days, lots of companies create air cleaning systems which are marketed to everyday people.

For example, air cleaning systems for home use are now commonly available at online retailers and community-based retailers. If you want to filter unhealthy toxins from the air in your home or in your commercial space, you’ll find a variety of systems out there.

The best devices still utilized HEPA filters, which help to remove pet dander and other common forms of allergens, but now many air cleaning systems have an array of other air filtering technologies, including:

Graphic of Various Types of Air Filters

  • Ionization
  • Ultra-violet lighting
  • Activated carbon
  • Ozone generation
  • Photocatalytic oxidation
  • and more

The combination of these new air purifying technologies has now given these devices the capability to capture up to 99% of airborne contaminants.

Choose an Air Cleaning System Today

As you just discovered, air purifiers have come a long way since the 1800’s and it’s fascinating how rapid the technology is still continuing to improve to this day.

Now is the right time to select a new air cleaning system for your home. It’s all about selecting a style which earns great reviews from real-life customers, and which comes from a trusted manufacturer.

The key to unlocking quality is shopping around. When you do comparison-shop, you’ll be able to access the latest technology for an affordable price. Some designs come with remote controls and/or smart apps which allow them to be used via mobile devices, and so much more.

With so much variety and choices out there today, you’re sure to find the air purifier that’s right for you.