What Is a Perfume Atomizer?

by Kathleen Gasior

Perfume atomizers make the application of modern perfumes convenient and easy. Reducing mess and waste, they provide a light mist of fragrance to be applied where you want it. Learn what this important invention does, how it works and how to find your own atomizers.


The invention of the atomizer is credited to Dr. Allen DeVilbiss of Toledo, Ohio. He produced the first medical atomizer in 1887, which was later adapted to atomize perfume made by his son, Tom. The DeVilbiss Co. is still in existence today and manufactures compressors, paint sprayers and medical equipment in Pennsylvania. According to antique bottle collector Ann Robinson, Dr. DeVilbiss invented this useful tool, "... never dreaming the ugly thing would in time foster a lovely, tall slender perfumer, the pride of the flapper."


The atomizer of old is essentially a bulb syringe attached to plastic tubing that runs inside the perfume bottle. The atomizer mixes oxygen and liquid perfume, creating a fine mist, which is evenly distributed onto the skin or into the air. Modern atomizers create the same action without the bulb attachment. Atomizers are also used for other cosmetics such as hairspray as well as household and industrial products such as cleaners and spray paint.


The perfume atomizer allows the consumer to apply the product with better control and less mess. Using perfume oils gets perfume on your skin, but also on your fingers and sometimes other surfaces such as tables and floors. The atomizer, attached directly to the bottle, prevents spoilage and evaporation of an expensive product. It allows the user to introduce air to the bottle only during application.


Atomizers create a volatile solution that is highly flammable. Never use an atomizer while smoking, near an open flame or space heaters. Some colognes and perfume blends contain alcohol, which can severely irritate the eye. For this reason, never allow children to play with atomizer perfume bottles.

How to Buy Atomizers

Atomizers are widely available on-line and come in every size, shape and color imaginable. The beautiful crocheted bulb atomizers with fringed tassels are available from many companies and antique dealers (see Resources). They can be purchased in bulk or singularly. Buyers can purchase just an atomizer or an atomizer and matching bottle, ranging from inexpensive molded glass to hand-blown specimens.

About the Author

Kathleen Gasior has over five years of experience as an editor, reporter and columnist for a chain of weekly newspapers in Northern New Jersey including the "Warren Reporter," "Phillipsburg Free Press" and "Belvidere News." She has been writing for over 30 years. Gasior has a Bachelor of Social Work from Monmouth University and over 25 years field experience. Gasior is also trained in cosmetology.