What Is the History of the Modern Air Conditioner?

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

Without access to an operational HVAC system, it would be difficult to complete many daily tasks that we easily take for granted. We can thank a lot of talented inventors throughout history for paving the way for us to enjoy the current level of comfort we get to experience in our homes. So, accompany your Centerville Heating & Cooling experts as we guide you through several significant turning points in the history of the modern A/C. 

How Did the Air Conditioner Begin? 

Ancient Egypt is where the concept of chill air may have originated. Egyptians hung damp clothing outside their homes to allow the wind to touch them, allowing cooler air to enter the home. In 180 AD, Ding Huan invented a hand-cranked rotary fan in China that became an important element in A/C development afterward. The Aqueduct System was created by the Romans to circulate water and air through underground tunnels in the homes of the rich. This was a complex system that is still a popular landmark in A/C history today. Though each of these contributions is simple and rudimentary, they are still innovative elements of the A/C unit’s history and development. 

What Contributions To the A/C Were Made In the 1700s? 

The first verified study on air conditioner theory was carried out by Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley in 1758. By the end of their study, Franklin and Hadley had successfully cooled an object’s temperature to 7 degrees Fahrenheit, while the ambient temperature remained at 64 degrees Fahrenheit. This pivotal moment in A/C development contributed toward the experimentation and theory of the effects of evaporative cooling. 

What Contributions To the A/C Were Made In the 1800s? 

In 1820, Michael Faraday performed a similar study with ammonia. This was the first volatile liquid to be used in an A/C unit. In the year 1830, Dr. John Gorrie of Florida developed a tiny steam and ice machine for use on those afflicted with tropical illnesses. It wasn’t patented until 1851, though. Gorrie’s invention was not widely embraced, and it was a little ahead of its time. Therefore, it remained as a medical tool and was only used in hospitals and medical facilities. 

What Contributions To the A/C Were Made In the 1900s? 

In 1902, Willis Carrier created the first air conditioner resembling today’s current A/C models for the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company. The need for this occurred because the printing press needed to address a heat problem. Paper needed to be kept cool while it was being printed. Carrier came up with an invention that dehumidified and cooled the air on the printing surface, preventing damage to the papers and ink. Later on, in 1915, Carrier teamed up with Buffalo Forge Company to establish Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America. Today, this company is widely known as Carrier across the HVAC industry. 

The first air conditioners were developed for businesses and manufacturers to keep their products from spoiling. Air conditioning was then used in the White House and other important executive buildings in 1930. Nickelodeons was a motion picture production house that provided inexpensive entertainment to the public. But the theater quickly found that customers were uncomfortable in the overcrowded, stuffy air, which ultimately led to the need for central air. So, to keep the wealthy and middle-class customers cool while watching the film, cooling systems were installed. When movie theaters installed central air, consumers realized that central air might also be utilized at home, which paved the way for homeowners across America to purchase their own residential HVAC systems. In the mid-1900s, an estimated 74,000 A/C systems were installed in American homes. 

Fast forward to 2022, according to the 2020 Energy Consumption Survey, air conditioners are currently employed in 88% of America’s households. We may now take advantage of central air in our houses as a consequence of those who came before us. The milestones in HVAC history are truly stepping stones that reflect today’s high-efficiency A/C systems. If you have any questions or concerns arise with your current A/C system, Centerville Heating & Cooling is a local and trusted company you can trust. You can reach us at (937) 353-1169, or schedule an appointment online now by clicking here