|||The Fascinating History of Air Fresheners

The Fascinating History of Air Fresheners

The Fascinating History of Air Fresheners

Every day it seems the air freshener market is growing. With industry analysts stating the air freshener market could grow to $12 billion by 2023, it can have you wondering how it all got started. Generally, people assume air fresheners are a relatively new industry which found it’s start sometime in the 1980s, but you’d be amazed to learn our fascination with personal spaces smelling fresh starts all the way back in ancient egypt.

Every day it seems the air freshener market is growing. With industry analysts stating the air freshener market could grow to $12 billion by 2023, it can have you wondering how it all got started. Generally, people assume air fresheners are a relatively new industry which found it’s start sometime in the 1980s, but you’d be amazed to learn that our fascination with our personal spaces smelling good starts all the way back in ancient egypt.

Ancient stone depiction of two women blending lily perfume

It starts with perfumes

In the modern day, we’ve come to assume that air fresheners and perfumes are a completely separate entity, but historically, perfumes were used to freshen up the scents of not only the human body, but linens, rooms, and even sacrificial offerings. The word perfume come from the latin word “per fumus” or “from smoke”, which historians suggest means perfumes were originally used in sacrificial rooms to hide the smell of burning offerings.  The first ever record of an industrious perfume maker was a woman by the name of Tapputi back in 1200 BCE. Tapputi held a powerful position within the Mesopotamian government and started the groundbreaking technique of extracting scents from various plant life. While the first known creation of perfumes began in Cyprus during the bronze age, the use of perfumes was strictly limited to priests.

Ancient stone depiction of two women blending lily perfume

It starts with perfumes

In the modern day, we’ve come to assume that air fresheners and perfumes are a completely separate entity, but historically, perfumes were used to freshen up the scents of not only the human body, but linens, rooms, and even sacrificial offerings. The word perfume come from the latin word “per fumus” or “from smoke”, which historians suggest means perfumes were originally used in sacrificial rooms to hide the smell of burning offerings.  The first ever record of an industrious perfume maker was a woman by the name of Tapputi back in 1200 BCE. Tapputi held a powerful position within the Mesopotamian government and started the groundbreaking technique of extracting scents from various plant life. While the first known creation of perfumes began in Cyprus during the bronze age, the use of perfumes was strictly limited to priests.

The spread of perfumes

Around the 6th century, the science and knowledge of perfumes grew within Islamic cultures. A new way of extracting perfume fragrances was developed known as steam distillation. At the time, the Arabia and Persia were primarily trading empires, so it allowed for them to not only spread their cultures far and wide, but also allowed the Islamic nations to develop new scents from the fauna of different regions. During construction of mosques, it was customary to blend fragrance extracts with the concrete, which drove chemist to find new and more efficient ways to create perfumes. Jabir Ibn Hayyan and Al-Kindi were the original founders of the perfume industry back in 801 BC, where their cost saving productions allowed for massive growth in the perfume market. By the 11th and 12th century, crusaders brought many of the perfumes to the west via trade with the Islamic empires. Perfumes flourished in the west and grew into a massive industry in Hungry .During the Italian Renaissance, the popularity of perfume mixing caused a growth in perfume diversity not yet seen. By the 18th century, perfumes were so engrained into the culture of the west, that it became typical to use perfumes in place of bathing. King Louis XV’s court was known as “la cour parfumée” (the perfumed court), and was known for having a different scent in the court every day. Madam de Pompadour and Louis XIV made popular the act of applying perfumes to clothing, furnitures, and fans.

Photo depicting a young woman standing between two pillars in an arab nation
Photo depicting a young woman standing between two pillars in an arab nation

The spread of perfumes

Around the 6th century, the science and knowledge of perfumes grew within Islamic cultures. A new way of extracting perfume fragrances was developed known as steam distillation. At the time, the Arabia and Persia were primarily trading empires, so it allowed for them to not only spread their cultures far and wide, but also allowed the Islamic nations to develop new scents from the fauna of different regions. During construction of mosques, it was customary to blend fragrance extracts with the concrete, which drove chemist to find new and more efficient ways to create perfumes. Jabir Ibn Hayyan and Al-Kindi were the original founders of the perfume industry back in 801 BC, where their cost saving productions allowed for massive growth in the perfume market. By the 11th and 12th century, crusaders brought many of the perfumes to the west via trade with the Islamic empires. Perfumes flourished in the west and grew into a massive industry in Hungry .During the Italian Renaissance, the popularity of perfume mixing caused a growth in perfume diversity not yet seen. By the 18th century, perfumes were so engrained into the culture of the west, that it became typical to use perfumes in place of bathing. King Louis XV’s court was known as “la cour parfumée” (the perfumed court), and was known for having a different scent in the court every day. Madam de Pompadour and Louis XIV made popular the act of applying perfumes to clothing, furnitures, and fans.

Image referencing modern perfumes

Modern Air Fresheners

Air freshening with perfume oils was the standard way of masking odors up until 1948. Based originally off the insecticide dispensers used by the US military, the first aerosol spray air freshener was released and used a CFC propellant to disperse aroma compounds. By the 1950s, this aerosol air fresheners were the standard method for releasing a burst of fresh air into a room, so companies began adding ester, pre-polymers, and long-chain aldehydes to help neutralize odors. As testing of the aerosol sprays became more rigorous, concerns were raised over the negative effects of the CFCs. In the 1980s, the Natural Resource Defense Council found that 12 common air fresheners were causing negative side effects in people with asthma and stunted reproductive development. Since then, a slew of air freshening diffusers have been released as alternatives to aerosol sprays that claim a low amount of carcinogenic material. Now, you can get air fresheners in candles, plastics, potpourri, and even the traditional oil diffusers.

By |2018-12-13T09:47:09+00:00September 6th, 2018|Fragrance, Fresh Blog|0 Comments

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