Air Conditioner History - Air Conditioning has become a necessity in modern times as building designs have changed making it necessary to have some way to air condition and cool buildings where windows cannot be opened. Throughout history, all the way up to the 70′s, many people just opened windows or turned on a fan to keep cool and air conditioning, what was once considered a luxury, has now practically become a requirement. From the time people leave their homes in the morning to the time they return home many are in conditioned air most of the day and many people don’t even think about air conditioning unless the air conditioning is broken. Air Conditioning is definitely nice to have to remain comfortable throughout the day and is an expectation for most people working inside.

Air Conditioner History

Air Conditioner History
The ancient Persians used windmills to channel air into buildings for cooling. The Egyptians circulated water through walls to cool buildings. However, mechanical cooling, refrigeration, and absorbing heat was many years away. These new inventions had to wait for the industrial revolution and some ingenious minds to come to fruition before they became applicable in a usable and affordable system.

Air conditioning is nothing more than a big refrigerator. Artificial methods of producing ice happened in 1820 during an experiment and this experiment led to rudimentary methods of artificially producing ice for commercial purposes. In 1824, Michael Faraday, invented the principles for refrigeration and absorbing heat but refrigeration and absorbing heat was not perfected until the 1850′s. This led to the commercialization of refrigeration for industrial and commercial applications. It was not until much later, approximately 100 years later, did we see these applications become prevalent in homes and light commercial applications. It was an evolutionary process which began with Kelvinator producing an automatic refrigerator for homes in 1918.

Somewhere along the way, engineering took a leap and the early mechanical engineers, including one doctor named John Gorrie, figured they could use refrigeration to cool buildings in the summer. Many different people get credit for that idea but only one is known as the father of air conditioning. Although Willis Carrier didn’t invent the term air conditioning, he built a system that conditioned the air. The term air conditioning was actually invented by Stuart Cramer of South Carolina. Mr. Cramer submitted a patent for an evaporative cooling system for his textile mill in South Carolina. In the patent submission forms he used the term air conditioning. It caught on and the rest is history. John Gorrie, a Florida doctor, invented an ice machine in 1842. He used the ice to cool his hospital in Florida in the summer to keep his patients cool. While this was one of the most earliest methods of commercial cooling, it was not deemed the same as modern air conditioning. That wouldn’t happen until 1902.

Air Conditioner History- The Father of Air Conditioning

Since 1902 when Willis H. Carrier invented a rudimentary air conditioning system for a printing plant, the drive has been never ending to make our environments better and better. In the early days only industry could afford air conditioning. Today, modern air conditioner systems not only serve industry but also air conditioning is in our homes, cars, and businesses and makes life more pleasant. Thanks to Willis Carrier, the father of air conditioning, his predecessors who laid the foundation for refrigeration, and the economical and affordable production of energy, we can enjoy modern comfort maintaining temperature and humidity in our homes, vehicles, and businesses through air conditioning.

Modern methods of air conditioning did not truly transpire until the 60′s and the 70′s with duct systems being a standard part of any newly built home. Air conditioning systems continue to improve in both functionality, control, and efficiency of the equipment. Designs in both conventional air conditioning and non-conventional ductless systems have also improved over the years bringing everyone better comfort and comfort is what they must have been dreaming of to motivate the pioneers of air conditioning to create new methods of keeping us cool in the heat of summer. Willis Carrier would be surprised to see the innovations that humankind has made since his time and I am certain he never imagined that the Carrier name would carry on through to a new century with modern air conditioning systems Willis Carrier could only dream about.

Whether it is the Persians of old, Faraday, Cramer, Gorrie, or Carrier I am certain if they could transport through time to see modern air conditioners they would be more than surprised. Of course, the steps they took and the ideas they created led to modern day air conditioning so without their tinkering and inventions we would probably not enjoy the comfort we enjoy from  modern air conditioning systems that we have today. That is the history of air conditioning and as time marches on it only gets better and better with more efficient and comfortable systems that make our environment more comfortable.


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