What Is The History Of The Modern Air Conditioner?

Whether sleeping in a cool room, working hard in your 9-5 job, or taking care of business in caring for your household, none of that would be possible or at least comfortable during the hot summer months without the convenience of a functioning HVAC system. We enjoy cool air in our homes without even giving it a second thought. That’s why you should trust Newark-Heath Heating & Cooling with your air conditioning needs to ensure you won’t have to struggle to stay cool in your day-to-day living. It’s important to note the many great inventors in the history of the modern-day A/C that allow us to appreciate our modern-day comforts. So join us as we stride through some of these milestones in the history of the A/C.  

Where Does the Foundation for the Modern Day A/C Start? 

Origins of the A/C trace back to Ancient Egypt. To cool down their dwellings as best as possible, the Egyptians would hang their wet garments in front of their doorways. This method created an evaporation cooling effect when the wind passed against the damp laundry, cooling the air. In 180 AD, Ancient China also contributed to the history of the AC when Ding Huan formulated a hand-cranked rotary fan. Further, Ancient Rome was right there as well in these progressive endeavors. The Romans created a complex aqueduct system comprised of a series of underground tunnels which carried water and cool air to the homes of the wealthy. Each of these contributions, though simplistic compared to today’s advancements, are valuable milestones marking the history of the modern-day A/C. 

What Is the History of the Modern Day A/C In the 1700s? 

In 1758, Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley conducted the first documented experiment for air conditioning theory. They applied the principle of evaporation to cool down an object quickly. By the end of the study, the two had accomplished lowering the thermometer’s temperature to 7 degrees Fahrenheit with the external temperature being 64 degrees Fahrenheit. After the experiment, Benjamin Franklin proudly proclaimed in a letter, “From this experiment, one may see the possibility of freezing a man to death on a warm summer’s day.” 

What Is the History of the Modern Day A/C In the 1800s? 

Employing ammonia, Michael Faraday performed a similar experiment in 1820, making ammonia the first form of volatile liquid used in a modern A/C unit. However, ammonia is corrosive and, in high concentrations, poisonous. Thus in 1830, a physician in Florida, Dr. John Gorrie, used a small steam and ice machine to reduce his patients suffering from tropical illnesses. Dr. Gorrie patented his cooling machine in 1851, which was used in hospital rooms to care for yellow fever and other diseases. 

What Is the History of the Modern Day A/C In the 1900s? 

Fast forward to 1902, when Willis Carrier invented the first air conditioning unit compared to today’s current models. This discovery is thanks to the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Co. needing a means of cooling paper during printing processes. The invention utilized cold coils to provide this cooling effect. So the machine dehumidified and cooled the air, ensuring paper remained smooth and its ink vibrant. This device could lessen humidity levels by roughly 55%. By 1914, a mansion in Minneapolis was the first home to have an A/C made by Carrier. And in 1915, Willis Carrier partnered with the Buffalo Forge Company, which led to the establishment of the Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America, which is famous today; known as the brand Carrier. 

The concept of air conditioning was gradually accepted and used by manufacturers and factories to safeguard their products. However, in 1930, the white house and other large executive buildings fully embraced the air conditioning system. But it wasn’t until the demand for A/C in movie theaters that people began realizing air conditioning could benefit society in the pursuit of daily comfort. At that time, Nickolodeans, a 5-cent theater, offered cheap entertainment to the public. To keep the upper and middle class comfortable while they watched the film, Carrier installed systems in these theaters, marking the way for the A/C system to be used residentially. In the 1950s, the installation of air conditioners took place across many suburban homes, with records indicating that there were about 74,000 A/C units installed in homes across America. 

According to the 2020 Energy Consumption survey, 88% of American households use air conditioning in their homes. In 2022, we continue to enjoy the comfort of cool air in our homes, thanks to the innovators who came before us. Each discovery and HVAC milestone were mere stepping stones to the top-notch high-efficiency systems we use in our homes today. If any issues arise with your HVAC system, Newark-Heath Heating & Cooling is ready to assist you at a moment’s notice. Call today at (740) 212-5849, or schedule an appointment now by clicking here! 


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