The History And Evolution Of Our Modern Air Conditioning Systems
Here in Florida we have been in the throws of Fall and most of us are still turning to our air conditioners to combat the scorching temperatures and unbearable humidity. Humans going to great lengths to stay cool is not a new concept, but the air conditioners we use to keep cool today are relatively new concepts.
This modern invention that we have become so reliant upon today was named one of the top 10 achievements of the 20th century by the National Academy of Engineering in 2000. Here we look at how technology evolved from humans simply sweating and fanning themselves to developing the modern air conditioning systems we have grown to love today.
The Father Of Modern Air Conditioning
In 1902, engineer Willis Haviland Carrier was hired by the Sacekt-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company in Brooklyn, NY to solve an interesting problem – the papers of the magazines were wrinkling because of the high humidity within the company’s printing plant. Carrier immediately gets to work conducting several tests and experiments and invents the “Apparatus for Treating Air”, a machine that blows warm air over cold coils to cool the room temperature and control the humidity within the room. Carrier’s invention successfully decreases the temperature and humidity within the printing plant, keeping the pages from wrinkling and the ink properly aligned. Carrier was granted a patent for his new technology, and as he saw the need within other industries for his cooling equipment he moved on from his role with Sacekt-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Co. and established Carrier Engineering Corporation, later becoming the Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America, now the largest air conditioner manufacturer in the world.
The Carrier Air Conditioning Company continued to make advances in the technology used within their cooling systems, and popularity of commercial use of artificial air conditioning systems began to spread with the use of air conditioners in movie theaters across the county. This is where the public began to become exposed to the use of an air conditioner system to cool the air inside, but the size, expense, and harsh chemicals used within these early systems still made them good only for commercial use and not for private use within homes. Because of his work, Willis Carrier is known as the father of modern air conditioning.
Bringing Air Conditioning Into Our Homes
As use of the Carrier air conditioning system continued to gain popularity commercially, many people sought methods to reduce the size and cost of the machines to be able to make air conditioning residentially available within our homes. Using the existing technology, Frigidaire created a split-room cooler system in 1929 that was finally small enough to be used inside a home. Unfortunately, this system was still quite expensive. Frank Faust, an engineer at General Electric, later improved the Frigidaire design by creating the self-contained cooler room. General Electric then went on to create 32 other similar models between 1930 and 1931.
Then, in 1931 H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman invent a portable, individual room air conditioning unit that can sit on the ledge of a window. The window ac units become publicly available for sale a year later, but still are only able to be enjoyed among the wealthy. It isn’t until 1947 that these window ac units begin to lower in cost and become widely available throughout the U.S. The use of these window units continues to spread and gain popularity throughout the 1940s and 1950s until new homes began to be built with central air conditioning systems in the 1960s. According to the Energy Information Administration, today about 87% of all Americans have some form of air conditioning in their homes.
With many thanks being due to the early inventors and scientists who relentlessly pursued finding the solution to cooling our indoor spaces during the scorching hot summers, we now are all able to enjoy comfortable temperatures indoors all year round. Contact C & S A/C Services today to discuss the cooling solutions we have available for your home!