Air compressors have been around for literally thousands of years. Now granted the devices the ancients used for compressing air bear little resemblance to the modern air compressor. However, the basic principle is the same and without the primitive air compressors, civilization would not have evolved as fast it has. One of the primary uses for compressed air was to increase the combustion in a furnace. The operator of a forge would use a bellows to blast compressed air into the furnace to stoke up the heat. This allowed ancient man to produce stronger and better metals for tools and weapons. Most people today would not equate a bellows as an air compressor, but that is exactly what it is. The blacksmith would pull apart the handles on the bellows and a check valve would allow fresh oxygen to rush into the accordion like chamber. Then using muscles as the power source, the blacksmith would squeeze the handles together and the compressed air would shoot out the fitting on the end. Using this process it became possible to create a fire hot enough to smelt ores of copper, tin, lead and iron. Bellows are still used today in a variety of applications. The organ at your local church is probable powered by a bellows that is practically identical to one a thousand years ago. They even pop up in medical applications such as breathing machines in operation rooms.
   
It wasn’t until later in history that it became possible to compress air using mechanical methods. In the past, only human and animal power was possible to power crude air compressors and this severely limited the utility of these primitive devices. With the industrial revolution, the mechanical  compressor was born. Engines running from steam power became the first method to power these compressors. One of the first uses of a steam powered pneumaticcompressor was in underwater diving equipment. This opened up whole new methods for under water e