What Is the History of the Modern Air Conditioner?

Jul 19, 2022 | A/C, Air Conditioner, Blog, Canal, Canal Winchester, Cooling, History, HVAC, OH, Ohio

It would be impossible to complete many daily activities, such as working in a cool workplace all day, enjoying a peaceful sleep at night, or hosting a birthday party during the hottest months of the summer without access to an operational HVAC system. In our homes, it’s simple to take air conditioning for granted. We have access to one of the greatest contributions to our health and well-being by simply the flick of a switch! We can thank a lot of talented creators throughout history for allowing us to enjoy our current level of comfort in our homes. So join Canal Winchester Heating & Cooling as we journey through several significant turning points in the development of the modern A/C. 

How Did the Concept Of the Air Conditioner Begin? 

The history of ancient Egypt is where the idea of cool air evaporation may have first originated. Egyptians hung moist clothing outside their homes to allow the wind to touch them and for the wind to blow by, thus creating a cooler effect. In 180 AD, Ding Huan created a hand-cranked rotary fan in China that became an essential component in A/C development afterward. The ancient Romans were no slackers when it came to cooling air. They constructed a complex water and air circulation system called the aqueduct system. It included a series of underground tunnels to move water and cool air to the homes of the wealthy. Each of these elements from Egypt, China, and Rome, though primitive, is essential in the modern A/C conditioner’s history. 

How Did the A/C Make Advances In the 1700s? 

The first documented experiment on air conditioning theory was conducted by Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley in 1758. They experimented with the effects of evaporative cooling. By the conclusion of their work, Franklin and Hadley had managed to cool the thermometer’s temperature to 7 degrees Fahrenheit while the ambient temperature remained at 64 degrees Fahrenheit. This was a great milestone! 

How Did the A/C Make Advances In the 1800s? 

In 1820, Michael Faraday performed a similar experiment with ammonia. At the time, this was the first volatile liquid to be used in a modern A/C unit. Later on, Dr. John Gorrie of Florida invented and patented a tiny steam and ice machine for use on patients suffering from tropical diseases in 1830. Unfortunately, this invention was a little too ahead of its time. It wasn’t patented until 1851, and even then, only used in hospitals for medical purposes. 

How Did the A/C Make Advances In the 1900s? 

In 1902, a man named Willis Carrier developed the first air conditioner similar to today’s models.  This was made for the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company. A device was required to keep the paper cool while printing. The device dehumidified and cooled the air on the printing surface, preventing harm to the papers and ink. Carrier’s design was successful!  In 1915, he partnered with the Buffalo Forge Company to found the Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America. Fast forward to today, this is now widely known in the HVAC industry as the infamous Carrier brand. 

Air conditioning was not originally available to the public. It was initially employed by manufacturers and businesses to keep their goods from spoiling. In 1930, air conditioning was first used in the White House and other important executive buildings. Nickelodeon was a motion picture production company that provided low-cost entertainment to the public. The movie house began to get overcrowded and stuffy as a result of this. So, to keep wealthy and middle-class moviegoers cool while watching the film, air conditioners were installed. This development set the pace for cooling systems to be embraced by homeowners in the 1950s. As a result, the market for home air conditioners was established in the mid 1900s.  

According to the 2020 Energy Consumption Survey, air conditioners are currently in use by 88% of America’s homes. We may now enjoy controlled air in our homes as a result of those who came before us, thanks to each step forward and the HVAC milestone that was a stepping stone toward today’s high-efficiency A/C systems. If you’re having trouble with your heating or cooling system, Canal Winchester Heating & Cooling is here for you! So call today at (614) 524-4737, or schedule an appointment online now by clicking here

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Canal Winchester Heating & Cooling is proud to be part of a network of highly-rated home services companies throughout the Midwest. Learn more →

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