What Is the History of the Modern Air Conditioner?

Jul 20, 2022 | A/C, Air Conditioner, Blog, History, HVAC, Lancaster, OH, Ohio

Without the comfort of a functioning HVAC system, our days would be a struggle in this humid summer heat as we exert energy to take care of business. Maybe you get to work in a cool office, relax your head upon the cool side of your pillow, or host a family function on a hot summer day in the comfort of your home; let’s take some time to acknowledge the benefits that air conditioning brings us all. Because if that air goes out, that cool-air enjoyment will quickly disappear! But, if you end up in this situation, you can count on Lancaster Furnace & Air Conditioning. We can and will have a technician out to your place as soon as possible! Air conditioning is a luxury that we can credit to some basic methods throughout the history of humanity. So come along as we blast to the past and into the history of the modern air conditioner. 

Where Do We Start With A/C History? 

Basic notions of cooling our indoor atmosphere started in ancient Egypt. The Egyptians would affix their wet garments from the openings of their homes so that when the wind blew, the damp clothes administered cooler air. China also played a role in A/C history when Ding Huan cultivated a hand-cranked rotary fan in 180 AD. Following this, the Romans built an intricate water/air supply network, the aqueduct system, that contained an arrangement of passages below ground to transport water and cool air into the homes of the rich. These contributions, which may pale in comparison to modern-day advancements, are nevertheless still fundamental pieces of the puzzle to the bigger picture of the development of current A/C technology. 

What Was A/C Like In the 1700s? 

Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley conducted the first documented experiment of air conditioning theory in 1758, using the evaporation method to cool an object quickly. As an outcome of their research, Franklin and Hadley successfully decreased the thermometer’s temperature to 7 degrees Fahrenheit with the external temperature indicated to be 64 degrees Fahrenheit. “From this experiment, one may see the possibility of freezing a man to death on a warm summer’s day,” Benjamin Franklin eagerly announced in his letter following the experimental trial. 

What Was A/C Like In the 1800s? 

In 1820, Michael Faraday fulfilled a similar test with ammonia, the first sort of volatile liquid used in a modern A/C unit. And in 1830, Dr. John Gorrie of Florida conducted a small steam and ice machine to lessen the symptoms his patients endured due to tropical illnesses. Dr. Gorrie’s cooling machine was patented in 1851 and designated for hospital rooms to aid the treatment of yellow fever and other diseases. 

What Was A/C Like In the 1900s? 

In 1902, Willis Carrier developed the initial air conditioning unit compared to present-day models when the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Co. sought to find a means to cool paper during their printing procedures. It operated cold coils to keep the surface cool; the machine simultaneously dehumidified and cooled the air, enhancing the paper’s smooth composition and inks vibrancy. This appliance successfully lessened humidity levels by up to 55%. And in 1915, Willis Carrier worked side by side with the Buffalo Forge Company, birthing the production of the Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America. Nowadays, we know this company as Carrier. 

Over time, air conditioning was accepted and utilized by manufacturers and industries to safeguard their products. The White House, as well as other substantial executive buildings, commenced operating air conditioning in 1930. People began to appreciate the importance of air conditioning for more desirable indoor conditions when central air became essential in movie theaters. Nickelodeons had a theater that gave affordable-cost entertainment to the public. They then installed cooling systems to keep upper and middle-class customers comfortable during the film, leading the way for home A/C units. As a result, air conditioners began establishment in American homes in the 1950s, with about 74,000 recorded installments. 

In assessing the findings from the 2020 Energy Consumption survey, we discover that 88% of American households utilize air conditioners. Hence, today we may enjoy our more inviting home atmospheres thanks to the forerunners of our past. Each breakthrough and HVAC stepping stone was a move closer to our existing top-notch high-efficiency A/C systems. So, if you have any concerns with your heating or cooling system, don’t hesitate to contact Lancaster Furnace & Air Conditioning, ensuring you keep cool this summer. Call today at (740) 625-2320, or schedule an appointment online now by clicking here

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