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History of Acrylic Paints

The history of acrylic paints is rather short and sweet. The inception of acrylics is actually the year 1901. But, it will be many years later before it becomes known and ready for commercial use.

In the Beginning

In 1901, a noted chemist by the name of Dr. Otto Rohm developed the first synthetic acrylic resin in his German laboratory. But it was not until 1930 that DuPont brought his ideas to America for commercial production.

Although individuals generally associate acrylic with paintings, it also has other uses like:

  • Durable fibers
  • Plexiglass
  • Lucite

In the 1950’s, acrylic paint is placed on the market for commercial use.

Commercial Use of Acrylic Paints

When acrylic is first sold on the market as paint, it is not for the next masterpiece. Painters begin using it to paint homes, inside and out. It made their jobs easier in several ways:

1. Dries quickly
2. Even sheen
3. Durable
4. Not influenced by water

Because acrylic paint dries so quickly, it is ideal for homes. Painters can finish jobs a lot faster, without having to worry about revisiting spots that have been touched. Also, when the paint dries, it looks the same throughout the room or exterior of the home. No visible differences are seen from one spot to another.

Acrylic is also durable. It will retain its translucency without need of special vanishes or an outer coat of something else. Although consistency can be manipulated with water before it dries, water will not mar the finish once it is dry.

Artistic Use

For the same reason that housepainters appreciate acrylics, artist soon become interested in the new medium for paintings and other artwork. Its attributes also give the creative soul more latitude by:

  • Drying quickly
  • Adhering to any surface
  • Offering an even luster
  • No base coat necessary

Many artists like acrylics simply because they dry fast. Therefore, it relieves the artist from worries of how to protect the painted surface from contact with something else. Another asset is the ability to paint any surface. Whether it is a pet rock, a piece of driftwood, a glass, a canvas, or anything else, the artist need not worry about priming before starting on the project. So, in the early 1960’s, artists start using this medium to stretch their horizons and expand the joys of painting.

Artists also like the tendency of acrylic to dry with an even luster. Then, there are no excessively shiny or dull spots when the art is completed. It looks as if the entire painted surface has received equal amounts of paint.

The first acrylic resin is developed at the beginning of the 20th century. But, it is not until the 1950’s that acrylic is sold in America for professional use. In the next decade, the formula will be altered slightly, put in tubes, and will gain immense popularity with artists who are ready to create the next masterpiece.



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