History of the Air Conditioner

It’s hard to imagine a world without air conditioning. But 100 years ago, AC was a relatively new invention, available to only the super-rich. Today, air conditioning is necessary for our daily lives, and without it many of the things we do would not be available. Take a look back at just how far air conditioning has come.

1758 – The First Steps

Benjamin Franklin along with John Hadley made a discovery that laid the foundation for modern air conditioners. They learned that by evaporating alcohol and other volatile liquids, they can cool down an object enough to freeze water. While this might not sound like much, this is the basic principle of how refrigerant works, and without refrigerant we would have no air conditioning.

1820 – Ice Ice baby

Of course Florida was the birthplace of the ice machine (let’s be real, we needed it the most). Dr. John Gorrie built the first ever ice machine for the hospital where he worked. The device worked by taking advantage of the discovery made by Benjamin Franklin some 70 years prior. He used a compressor to create ice, then blew cold air over the ice to prevent it from melting. Had Gorrie not lacked the funding, he would have built the first air conditioner.

1902 – Carrier Changes Everything

Everyone knows that humidity can be worse than the heat. That’s why Willis Carrier, dubbed The Father of Air Conditioning, invented a device that could remove humidity from the air. This proved a big hit as it prevented paper from wrinkling and ink from misaligning at a publishing company in New York, while also making the air feel more comfortable. Soon Carrier created the Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America and started his quest of revolutionizing personal comfort.

1914 – Air Conditioning Comes Home

Who would have thought the first residential air conditioner would be in a cold state like Minnesota? But Minneapolis millionaire Charles Gate was the first to install air conditioning indoors, starting the phenomenon of home HVAC systems.

1931 – Sitting in the Window

Individual room air conditioners were invented. These early bulky units would sit on a window ledge. However, with a price tag of $10,000 to $50,000 it would be a while until they became available to everyone.

1950s – AC Comes to the Masses

In the post WWII era, the air conditioning business booms. It becomes the latest trend that everyone must have. Soon, everyone has an AC unit in their homes. In 1953 alone, over a million units are sold in the United States.

1970s – From the Windoooow to the Wall

By the 1970s, window units were becoming less popular and Americans were switching over to central HVAC systems. Vents conveniently located in a wall in each room connected to an outdoor condenser unit producing the cold air. Freon-12 was used cool down the air.

1994 – Putting the Environment First

For the first time, Freon is linked to ozone depletion. This started a worldwide ban on the substance. Consumers switched over to less environmentally harmful coolants.

2024? – First Air Conditioned City

This year, Dubai announced their plans to build the world’s first air conditioned mini city. They say that the project will be complete within the next ten years, and will offer natives and tourists alike protection from Dubai’s harsh summers. While it’s unclear how this city will turn out, it’s certainly clear that air conditioning has come a long way.

Air conditioners may be a modern marvel, but that doesn’t mean they always work like we want them to. For all of your AC needs, call the experienced professionals at Climate Design.