A History of Air Conditioning

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A History of Air Conditioning

Air conditioning is one of the greatest inventions ever created. Can you imagine living in a home without it? Not only does it make the summer heat bearable, but it makes it enjoyable. However, did you know that AC was not readily available until after World War II? Check out this brief history of our favorite household appliance.

Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley first discovered that evaporating volatile liquids can create a cooling effect on objects. By using alcohol, they were able to freeze water in different objects in 1758.

Dr. John Gorrie later built an ice machine during the 1830s. He used compression to create buckets of ice and then blew air over them to create a cooling effect in a room. He dreamt of manufacturing a machine that could cool down large-scale buildings or even the average home. However, without the financial backing needed, he never had the opportunity to continue.

In 1881, President James Garfield was shot by an assassin. To keep him cool, engineers concocted a device that used cloth soaked in cold water and a fan. The fan was pointed strategically to spread the cold air while causing the warm air to rise. Although ingenious, it was not economical. Within 2 months, the device used over 500-million pounds of ice. However, this did cause other inventors to begin working on other machines to keep rooms cool.

A machine was invented in 1902 to help a publishing company. The company was struggling to keep their paper and pages dry and unwrinkled in the heat and humidity. The ink on the pages was not drying correctly. So, a machine was invented that blew air over cold coils. It rectified the situation and kept the room cool. Later realizing how valuable this machine was, this company founded an air conditioning company.

In 1931, the first room air conditioning unit finally became available to the public. The design is simplistic and is the same that we see in many apartment buildings today. The box was designed to sit on the window sill and take in outside air. Then, through a series of cooling mechanisms, it is pumped into the room, cooling it off. However, the first models were not cheap and only the rich could afford it.

In 1939, air conditioning was put into the first automobile. However, instead of dashboard controls, the user must pull over, pop the hood, and disconnect certain belts in order to turn it on. It was definitely not as convenient as today’s models.

During the 1950s, the air conditioner finally became more affordable. It quickly becomes the most popular purchase for homes. Because of the surge in units bought, companies began designing larger-scale models and systems to cool down an entire house instead of a singular room. Freon was eventually used.

However, in 1994, Freon was banned and air conditioning companies were forced to reformulate and come up with more environmentally friendly coolants. This resulted in the many eco-friendly options we enjoy today.

Have additional questions about AC repair in Denver? Give Builder’s Heating & Air Conditioning a call. We would be more than happy to assist you!