Vintage Garden Syringe Sprayers    

Back Back Bends

Bends can be  fixed and form part of the spray head or barrel. Or they can be removable and  screw onto the front of the sprayer between the barrel and the nozzle. They  allow the sprayer to get under leaves etc. Removable bends  were often an optional extra so the fact that a sprayer does not have one doesn’t mean it isn’t complete. The name of the manufacturer is sometimes on the bend (e.g. Mysto, DronWal), There are also some special arrangements  whereby the bend is formed by a branch in the barrel or spray head and a blank cap is used to control which branch is in  use.


Fibre, rubber or leather washers are used between the barrel and detachable nozzle and also on the bend if present. They are also used between other detachable parts such as the spray caps.

Stuffing Box (Gland)

The stuffing box or gland is packed with greased string or other suitable material. The gland nut allows the packing material to be compressed to form a watertight seal and liquid leaking up the shaft when the sprayer is used. Not all sprayers have a stuffing box. It is more important on sprayers which use the ‘cotton reel’ type of piston, as these pistons do tend to allow liquid to leak behind the piston. This is less likely to happen with pistons which use cup washers. The picture shows the stuffing box cap unscrewed and the original fibre ring.

Barrel End Cap

Sometimes considered as part of the plunger (plunger collar) this component is usually just a cap with a hole for the plunger rod. It can incorporate a small drip guard. The cap screws onto the barrel either directly onto (sometimes into) the barrel or onto a collar soldered to the barrel. Occasionally, the model or name of the manufacturer is stamped on the top.  They can incorporate a stuffing box (see below).

Air Vent

The air vent is normally a simple hole about 1/8 inch in diameter. The vent is simply to allow air in when the plunger is pushed forward and out when it is pulled back. Should any liquid get behind the piston it will be forced through the vent when the plunger rod is next pulled back to its full extent. Some sprayers have a 2 to 5 inch pipe running from the air vent, which is designed to take away from the users hands any liquid which does come out of the vent. The vent is present on nearly every sprayer, but will be hidden if there is a drip preventer. On sprayers with  a drip preventer  there are often  two or three  air vents hidden by the sleeve. A few sprayers do not have an air vent, but rely on the gap between the piston rod and  barrel end cap to allow air in and out.     

Nuts and Metal Washers

Nuts and metal washers are normally imperial sizes. Occasionally there are special washer sizes and shapes, including metal cup washers. Better quality sprayers, especially the pre WW II ones, use brass washers and nuts, but many just use standard steel components. A few use special locking nuts. The assembly pictured here uses metal cup washers (2nd and 5th from left ) and two thin leather cup washers (3rd and 4th from left.)


Grips are usually only used on  continuous sprayers. However, there are a few sprayers where a grip is specifically added to the barrel.