the history of air conditioningThe History of Air Conditioning dates back to ancient civilizations when people used many different methods to try and stay cool. From the beginning of time, hot temperatures have driven many of the customs we’re used to and people have done some pretty crazy things to stay cool like putting their underclothes in the ice box or moving a mountain of snow next to the house. Here are some highlights of the history of air conditioning:

The History Of Air Conditioning

Ancient Times

As early as Ancient Rome, we see the wealthy Romans using the aqueduct system to bring cool water to their homes. The water would circulate through the walls and keep the home cooler. In the early 200’s Caesar Marcus Augustus was said to have moved a mountain of snow to his garden to cool his house down. From these modest attempts to cool the home, many ideas came and went through the ages. Hand held fans appeared over 3000 years ago in Japan.

Early Discoveries

In the late 1700’s to the early 1800’s inventers like Benjamin Franklin begin making discoveries that if you evaporate liquid you will have a cooling effect. Alcohol and later ammonia are liquefied to the point of cooling objects enough to freeze water.

In 1930 Dr. John Gorrie uses an ice machine and compression to make buckets of ice. In one of the first attempts to create a cooler building he blows air over the ice. In 1851 he patents the idea but he was never able to do anything more with it.

In July of 1881 President James Garfield is injured in an assassination attempt. Naval Engineers rig a cooling device to help him stay comfortable. Using a fan overhead to blow hot air and keep the cool air down, the device lowered the room temperature 20 degrees. Unfortunately it used over ½ million lbs of ice in just the 2 months it was used.

The First Air Conditioners

Willis Carrier founder of Carrier Air Condition Company of America invented a machine to cool the air at Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing & Publishing Co. in Brooklyn N.Y. in 1902. He was able to lower the room temperature and the humidity, which was a big asset to the factory. Realizing his invention was marketable he began pursuing the air conditioning business.

The name “air conditioning” is used for the first time in 1906 when Stuart Cramer a textile engineer adds water vapor to the air in an attempt to raise the humidity in the textile factory where he worked. The humidity helped the spinning process and kept the yarn from breaking.

The first residential air conditioner was built in 1914 in a Minneapolis mansion owned by Charles Gates. The unit was 7ft high, 6 ft wide and 20 ft long. Gates died before completion of the mansion and his widowed wife and children lived there only 3 years when a local doctor purchased the property. The house was rarely lived in and later demolished in 1933 when no buyer was found.

In 1922 Carrier’s invention débuts at the Rivoli Theatre in Time Square, here patrons enjoy watching the first movie in air conditioning. By 1930 air is common in the homes of the wealthy, rail cars, department stores and some offices.

In 1931 HH Shultz and JQ Sherman invented an individual room air conditioner similar in design to our window units. These air condition units began to sell the next year for 10,000 to 50,000 dollars. Only the wealthiest homeowners could afford air. As the price became more affordable more than 1 million residential a/c units were sold in 1953 alone and an a/c unit was considered more normal.

Central Air and Modern Air Conditioning Systems

In 1970 the individual room air conditioners are replaced with central air. The first models used condenser coils and a fan.   Similar to today air was drawn in, passed over the coils and blasted through a ventilation system. Freon was used as the first refrigerant.

1994 Freon is band because of its bad affects on the ozone layer. Companies like Carrier begin developing more environmentally friendly cooling methods.

Today most homes in the southern part of the United States have air conditioning.  Other parts of the world have been slower to take advantage of air conditioning.

If you have questions about air conditioning or need air conditioning repairs or service, call ADA Heating and Air in Central Kentucky.

By | 2017-08-02T01:20:46+00:00 August 14th, 2015|Cooling|Comments Off on The History Of Air Conditioning

About the Author: