Perhaps surprisingly, aerosol spray paint cans which can be used for multiple purposes as diverse as antiperspirant deodorant to metal based spray paints. However spray cans have been around for longer than you would think. In fact the first concept of what we now recognise as a spray can originated in France during the 18th Century, when self-pressurised beverages were introduced to the consumer market.
Concepts of modern metal spray cans began to be tested during 1862, however these early cans did not enjoy success due to being too bulky. Over the next century the modern aerosol spray paint can began its rise. In 1899 and inventor duo, Helbling and Pertsch, gained a patent for a pressurised aerosol which utilised methyl and ethyl chloride as propellants.
However it was not until 1927 that the first modern aerosol spray can was introduced to the world. The concept was patented by the Norwegian engineer Erik Rotheim, his patented aerosol can was the first which contained a valve which could hold and dispense products and propellant systems. This was arguably the forebear of the modern spray can, and in 1998 the Norwegian Post Office released a stamp to celebrate the invention of the spray can.
The development of the aerosol grew in leaps and bounds during World War Two, as the US government granted funding for the development of a portable means for service men to spray in order to kill malaria carrying bugs. The development, which came in the form of a small aerosol can which was pressurized by a liquid gas, resulted from two researchers for the Department of Agriculture, Lyle Goodhue and William Sullivan.
The above development in conjunction with the efforts of Robert Abplanlp, resulted in the birth of the modern aerosol spray can. Abplanlp developed a cheap and lightweight aluminium cans which could practically disperse liquids foams, powders and creams. This was due to his invention of a crimp on valve which enabled liquids to be sprayed from a can using the pressure of an inert gas.
With the invention of the modern aerosol spray can, spray paint cans quickly followed, with the first canned spray paint emerging as early as 1949. It was invented by Edward Seymour and the first sprayable paint colour was aluminium. Since that date a whole industry has arisen selling aerosol spray paints cans in a diverse range of colours and also providing a diverse range of effects such as matt and gloss.