Compressed Air – A History Lesson

As we prepare to mark this country’s 241st birthday, let’s take a short look at the role compressed air played in the growth and development of the United States.

Compressed air drills were used in US mines as early as the 1870’s, providing power for the drills that broke up large walls of coal into the lumps that powered the nation.

Also in the 1870’s, inventor George Westinghouse used compressed air to greatly improve the brakes on the country’s rail cars. This leap in safety helped open the country to travel by rail.

It became even easier to travel throughout the country with the invention and mass production of the automobile.  Henry Ford’s assembly line relied on compressed air, and it aided in the actual assembly of cars as well.  And pneumatic tires couldn’t do what they did (and do) without compressed air.  Even today, compressed air plays a major role in automotive manufacturing.

Make one visit to South Dakota’s Mt. Rushmore and it’s not likely you’ll forget it anytime soon.  Four faces, our most influential early presidents, carved into the face of a mountain- and compressed air played a major role in creating the man-made wonder.

More than 400,000 tons of rock had to be moved to create Mt. Rushmore, and as much as 90% of that was moved by dynamite, in fairly rough, inexact work.

When it came time for the finer details, though- the actual carving- the faces were carved from the stone using jackhammers and other compressed air tools.

Specifically, Ingersoll Rand air compressors were used to create one of the country’s most unique landmarks. The compressors were placed at the bottom of the mountain and a long pipeline carried air to the jackhammers.

Even still today one of the compressors and a length of the pipe remain at Mt. Rushmore, a testament to the energy it took to build the monument into the side of a mountain.

If Ingersoll Rand air compressors can handle carving four faces into a mountain, they can handle anything you can throw at it.  Give us a call and let us look at how we can help you make your mark. 


About Air Components

Air Components

Air Components & Systems is the leader in providing efficient compressed air systems, parts, and repair. With locations in Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina, we are able to assist with your compressor needs right away. Call us at (866) 413-8077.