Erik Rotheim

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Erik Andreas Rotheim (19 September 1898 - 18 September 1938) was a Norwegian professional chemical engineer and inventor. He was born in Kristiania, earned his engineering degree in Switzerland and established his own company at home in Oslo in 1925. He is best known for invention of the aerosol spray can, the patent application for which he submitted in 1926. The Norwegian patent was granted in June 1929. He filed the United States patent application on 30 September 1927 and it was approved on 7 April 1931.[1]

Prior to the issuance of the patent Rotheim had negotiated an agreement with Alf Bjercke's paint factory in 1928, but commercial success was initially limited. The patent was sold to a US company for 100,000 kr.[2] Commercial exploitation of the patent was not significant until it was introduced in the United States in the 1940s.[3][4] Norway Post celebrated the invention by issuing a stamp in 1998.[5] After Rotheim's death the technology made a significant advance with its incorporation into the airbrush. And in the 1940s improvements to the underlying principle of the spray head by the Americans Lyle D. Goodhue and William N. Sullivan allowed the technology to be further adapted, first to insect control, and later in various other applications.


  1. ^ US-Patent # 1,800,156,
  2. ^ Bellis, Mary The History of Aerosol Spray Cans
  3. ^ Neiheim, Gunnar. «Erik Rotheim» I: Norsk biografisk leksikon, bd 7. Oslo, 2003 (in Norwegian)
  4. ^ Kvilesjø, Svend Ole (17 February 2003). "Sprayboksens far er norsk". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 30 June 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2009. 
  5. ^ Image of the Norway Postage stamp