Have you ever looked lovingly at your air conditioner in the heat of summer and wondered, “Who can I thank for coming up with this?” No? Just us? Ok then.
However, if you are curious about the history of air conditioning, you may be surprised to learn that it wasn’t just a single inventor or even a single team, it was many ideas put together of hundreds (or thousands) of years that got us to where we are today.
Below is a short history timeline that gives a brief overview of the evolution of air conditioning.
Ancient Egypt – The Beginning? Ancient Egyptians have been credited as the first to use evaporative cooling by hanging wet clothes in windows and doorways. As some breezes would blow into the wet materials, the air in their homes would be cooled.
Ancient Rome – Aqueducts: Ancient Romans, particularly the wealthier population, had aqueducts installed through their homes’ walls and floors. The evaporating water throughout these ducts helped cool the air of their homes.
1758 – Science Experiments: John Hadley and Benjamin Franklin discover through a series of experiments that alcohol and other volatile liquids are able to cool an object to the point of freezing water via evaporation.
1851 – U.S. Patent: Driven by a desire to create a healthier hospital environment through cooler rooms, Dr. John Gorrie set out to invent a cooling method. In 1851, he was awarded a U.S. patent for his amazing invention that cools down rooms by blowing air over ice blocks.
1902 – The Carrier Air Conditioning Company: Willis Carrier set out to invent a machine that would dehumidify the air and invented a machine that controlled humidity and temperature. His idea quickly caught on, and he founded the Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America.
1914 – Installation of the first Residential Air Conditioner: The first residential building to feature an in-home air conditioning unit was the Charles Gates mansion in Minneapolis. The machine was seven feet tall and just about twenty feet long.
1931 – We can go smaller: In 1931, efforts were made to create a smaller air conditioning unit. H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman came out the winners in that effort by inventing the first window unit! The cost of this unit today would be a little over $600,000!
1950’s – AC’s become popular: Starting in the 1950s, residential air conditioners experienced a growth in popularity, with a large popularity peak in the 1970s.
Today: We have an amazing amount of choices in energy efficiency, style and functionality when it comes to our HVAC units. We know many more improvements and changes are just waiting to be made, and we can not wait to see what’s next!