Air Gun History

Originally founded in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1942, Guardair Manufacturing Corporation developed the very first "safety air gun" incorporating a safety air shield to protect the operator from "chip fly-back." This feature was patented, as were further technical innovations which followed. Incorporating these advancements into its products, Guardair Manufacturing thrived throughout the 1940s and 1950s.


In 1959, the assets of Guardair Manufacturing were purchased by Union Engineering, Inc. of South Hadley, Massachusetts. Several additional patents were awarded to the company as sales continued to expand.

Responding to the growing concern over safety in the manufacturing workplace, in 1970, Congress authorized the US Department of Labor to create the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). One workplace hazard targeted by OSHA was the use of compressed air for cleaning purposes. In the early days of OSHA, Union Engineering worked closely with OSHA officials to craft the standards and consequently was in a unique position to introduce the first safety air gun designed to meet these newly minted regulations.

With a relentless focus on worker safety, Union Engineering introduced a number of new, innovative products throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In 1994, the assets of Union Engineering were sold and the name changed back to Guardair Corporation—to more closely reflect the roots of the company and its mission.

Since then, Guardair has grown significantly. To keep pace with our growing market presence and customer requirements, Guardair moved to a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Augmenting our organic growth, Guardair expanded its product line by purchasing the assets of Allpax Gasket Cutter Systems (1999), Nortech Vacuum Products (2005), and Air-Spade (2008).

Today, Guardair is the largest manufacturer of safety air guns in the world. Our products are sold through our nationwide network of over 1,200 industrial MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Operations) dealers and distributors. In addition, Guardair products are sold internationally into 26 foreign countries including Mexico and Canada.