The Unexpected History of Air Conditioning

January 8, 2021 12:36 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The air conditioner is an extremely important appliance in modern society, especially in hot climates like ours. It’s easy to take it for granted today when you step out of the warm summer air into the crisp coolness of an air-conditioned home, store or office building, but the moment your air conditioning goes out, you’re reminded of how miserable life can be without it.

So, what did it take to develop modern air conditioning in Mabank, TX, and how far back does that history go? Let’s take a brief look.

Back to the 1800s

Dr. John Gorrie in Florida was the first person to propose the idea of modern air conditioning. If you’ve spent any time in Florida’s heat and humidity, it should come as no surprise that someone located there recognized the necessity! He wished to relieve Floridians of “the evils of high temperatures.” However, his initial cooling system designed for hospital rooms required ice to be shipped all the way to Florida from the northern states’ frozen lakes and streams.

He came up with an artificial cooling concept that would feature a machine that created ice with a compressor powered by a horse, wind, water or steam. He received a patent for this device in 1851, and while he was never able to complete his vision after his financial backer passed away, his idea at least gave others a jumping-off point.

Willis Carrier

Engineer Willis Carrier took the next step in 1902, and if you’re familiar with HVAC, you know the name Carrier. Mr. Carrier’s task was solving a humidity problem for the Buffalo Forge Company that resulted in wrinkled magazine pages at a Brooklyn publishing company. He developed a system that controlled humidity with cooling coils, and got a pattern for an “Apparatus for Treating Air.” This apparatus could humidify or dehumidify the air.

Through continued testing, he developed and patented a system for regulating temperature and humidity in textile mills. As his technology became successful, he realized many other industries could benefit from it, and he developed Carrier Engineering Corporation with several other colleagues.

By 1929, Frigidaire had developed a new split-system room cooler that was small enough to be used in residential settings. It looked sort of like a radio cabinet, but because of its heaviness and expensive price, it wasn’t a particularly approachable option for many homeowners.

Throughout the 1930s, other inventors made these systems smaller, but they still had prohibitive costs. By 1947, window air conditioners had been developed, and because of their effectiveness and affordability, they finally made home air conditioning a possibility for many homeowners.

By the second half of the 20th century, most new homes were being built with central air conditioning, and those that weren’t were still able to get window air conditioners for a very affordable price. Hot-weather states like Florida and Arizona rely heavily on air conditioning and saw significant population booms as a result of its spread.

For more information about the history of air conditioning, or for reliable heating and air conditioning service in Mabank, TX, contact Ken’s Comfort Zone Air Conditioning.

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