What Is The History Of The Modern Air Conditioner?

Jul 20, 2022 | A/C, Blog, History, HVAC, OH, Ohio, Washington Court House, WCH

Whether you’re working hard or hardly working this summer, our daily function would prove challenging without the comfort of a functioning A/C, even briefly. Now, most of us obtain comfort from the cool air in our homes without overthinking it. Situations can still arise, so be sure to count on our crew at Washington Court House Heating & Cooling with your air conditioner’s maintenance and repairs, ensuring your summer is comfortable and, if necessary, productive. None of this, however, would be possible without the many noteworthy innovations in the history of the modern-day A/C that allow us to find an escape from the sun’s heat by way of indoor cooling. So buckle up as we put it in reverse and look back on some momentous occurrences in the history of modern A/C. 

Where Does the History Of the Modern Day A/C Begin? 

We estimate the initial pivotal moments for the development of the A/C to date back to Ancient Egypt. By dangling damp laundry from the thresholds of their homes, the Egyptians created an evaporation cooling effect that would occur as the wind blew past this wet laundry, cooling the air. Then in Ancient China, 180 AD, we see further contributions to the history of the modern AC as Ding Huan developed a hand-cranked rotary fan. Furthermore, the Romans would not sit out on this endeavor and thus created a sophisticated aqueduct system encompassing a procession of underground tunnels which delivered water and cool air to the homes of the most prestigious. Each of these contributions, though seemingly naive in its unlikeness to today’s advancements, are crucial junctures in time for modern-day air conditioning. 

Where Was A/C Progression In the 1700s? 

In 1758, Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley executed the first documented study of air conditioning theory. They referenced the principle of evaporation to cool down an object rapidly. As a result of the study, the two successfully lowered a thermometer’s temperature to 7 degrees Fahrenheit with the exterior temperature reading at 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Following his efforts, Benjamin Franklin eagerly declared in a letter, “From this experiment, one may see the possibility of freezing a man to death on a warm summer’s day.” 

Where Was A/C Progression In the 1800s? 

Michael Faraday performed a similar experiment in 1820 with ammonia, the initial volatile liquid material used in a modern A/C unit. However, ammonia is corrosive and, in high concentrations, poisonous. Then in 1830, a physician in Florida, Dr. John Gorrie, used a little steam and ice machine to relieve his patients’ symptoms arising from tropical ailments. Dr. Gorrie patented his cooling machine in 1851, which was operated in hospital rooms to improve the health of those battling yellow fever and other diseases. 

Where Was A/C Progression In the 1900s? 

Moving along to 1902, Willis Carrier assembled the first air conditioning unit relative to today’s modern examples. This development is thanks to the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Co., which was looking for a way to cool paper amongst their printing processes. The machine utilized cold coils to deliver this cooling effect. By doing so, the device dehumidified and cooled the air, guaranteeing the paper to be smooth and the ink vibrant. This device could reduce humidity levels by about 55%. By 1914, a mansion in Minneapolis was the first living quarters to have an A/C developed by Carrier. That following year, Willis Carrier, together with the Buffalo Forge Company, managed the establishment of the Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America, better known today as the brand Carrier. 

Air conditioning was slowly recognized and used by manufacturers and factories to maintain the quality of their products. Then, in 1930, the White House and other large executive buildings completely embraced the air conditioning system. It wasn’t until the need for A/C in movie theaters that civilization started recognizing air conditioning as a vital standard for people to live comfortably. At that time, Nickolodeans, a 5-cent theater, provided cheap entertainment to the public; to keep the upper and middle-class happy while they attended the film, Carrier established A/C systems in these theaters, molding the way for the A/C system to be adopted residentially. In the 1950s, the establishment of air conditioners flourished within many suburban homes, with reports reflecting about 74,000 A/C units installed in residences across America. 

A 2020 Energy Consumption survey found that 88% of American households use air conditioners. In 2022, we proceed to enjoy the luxury of cool air within our homes, thanks to the trailblazers coming before us. And these HVAC key periods are mere stepping stones to the top-notch high-efficiency residential systems of today. So, if any dilemmas arise with your HVAC system, Washington Court House Heating & Cooling is eager to help you assist you. Call today at (740) 281-5312, or schedule an appointment online now by clicking here

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