Evolution of Air Bellows / Blowers since Ancient Indian times

air blower (1)Shloka:            Sarvesamlohavarganamgalanarthamviseasatah I

Dvatrimasaduttarapancasatambhastraitiritah II


Meaning: For melting all types of metals, there are five hundred and thirty two types of air blowers


Shloka:            Tasamvargabhedastuastadhasamprakirtitah I

Vargesvastamavargiyobhastrikasuyathakramam II

Nirmitakurmakundasyasodasikurmabhastarika I

Sarvesambhastrikanamturacanakramanirnayah II


Meaning: They are divided into eight classes. Sixteenth in the eighth class is called Kurmabhastrika (Tortoise air blower) which is associated with Kurmavyasatika (Tortoise furnace.

Shloka:            Bhastrikanibanfhanakhyagranthesamyannirupitah I


Meaning:Construction details of all air blowers are provided in the book Bhastrikanibandhana.


Source:Brhadvimana Shastra, Shloka 91, 92, 93 Bhastrikadhikaranam, MaharsihBharadvajah

Bellows are the devices used for blowing a strong blast of air since 4th Century BCE. It consists of a flexible air- tight bag, fitted with handles and a valve for the entry of air and a nozzle for the blast of air.



The existence of bellows in ancient India was discovered from the domestic houses. A simple mouth bellow was used in houses for cooking. A direct stream of air is flushed in a tube or flute like object. The objective is to kindle a fire and raise the temperature of fire with a fresh blast of oxygen. These were considered as domestic instruments. It has gone through many stages of refining to get its status of excellence.

As years and centuries passed, the bellows were used for smelting of metals, welding and the amount of heat required for these was only achieved through bellows. The size and the mechanics of the bellow also changed with  time. In Iron-making furnaces, the ancient Indians used double bellows, generally operated with legs as if they were walking at a stationary position. Bellows were even used by Goldsmiths. Any place where the temperature of the fire was to increase the bellows were there to their rescue.

In the modern day, the bellows are replaced by modern industrial electric air blowers. They find a wide range of applications in manufacturing industries. In order to upsurge the efficiency of industrial machines, blowers are combined with compressors and fans. These combinations are used for various other applications as mentioned below.

Ring blowers

Ring blowers are widely used in agitation of fluids in tanks along with cleaning of tanks. All the end solutions or residual fluid is eliminated and constant supply of fresh solution is maintained efficiently with the aid of ring blowers. It is replaced with the regularly used compressors because of the following benefits.

  • Maintains oil-free and contamination-free tanks
  • The initial operating cost and noise levels are low

Blowers instead of vacuum pumps

The reliability and strength of air blowers makes it efficient in using in place of vacuum pumps. Ring blowers creates vacuum similar to that of traditional vacuum pumps. But the difference is that the sensitivity towards dust particles is more in blowers compared to vacuum pumps.

Efficient water treatment

Air blowers provide with continuous supply of air to the water tank in order to reduce or kill the bacterial growth in the water. Organic decomposition reaction reduces the bacterial activity, hence preventing further contamination.

In this way, bellows of ancient times evolved as present day air blowers.






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  1. google February 7, 2017

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