Monroe Heating & Air

What Is The History Of The Modern Air Conditioner?

As I sit here typing this with my window AC blowing on this hot summer day, let me say that I am so grateful to live in a time of air conditioning! Imagine withstanding this heat without the luxury of sanctuary in an air-conditioned atmosphere! Those without AC, with only fans at their disposal, have some idea of the struggle, and those occupying developing countries genuinely have a significant grasp of this hardship. Though, for centuries, people got along in their day-to-day without cooling appliances; and adapted to finding other ways of keeping cool. To get a peek of how we’ve come so far, journey back in time with Monroe Heating & Air, and let’s review the measures taken to bless us with air conditioning advancement. 

How Did People In Ancient History Keep Cool? 

Keeping cool looked a lot different then than it does now. If we rewind time, how might this look? In Ancient Egypt, we’d see the Egyptians hanging wet clothes on the thresholds of living structures. This action created an evaporating cooling effect by producing a fresher breeze as the wind blew. In Ancient China, around 180 AD, Ding Huan developed a rotary fan, hand-cranked to create a draft. And in Ancient Rome, they used their creative engineering abilities to cultivate the aqueduct, enabling Romans to pump cold water through the walls of the more privileged to freshen up and strengthen a cool habitat during the hot summers. This trench-like structure is just one of Rome’s many revolutionary designs bestowed upon future generations! 

What Innovations Lead Up To the Modern AC? 

As we move along the timeline, we see more and more advancements significant to establishing the modern air conditioner. In 1758, Benjamin Franklin, one of our founding fathers, inspected the effects of evaporative cooling with his colleague John Hadley. In doing so, they could lower the temperature of a thermometer from 64° F to 7° F! Furthermore, in 1830, American physician Dr. John Gorrie initiated work on the first mechanical cooling apparatus reported. Though bulky and mandating an absurd abundance of ice water to function, it could cool an area by as much as 20 degrees. This invention, patented in 1851 and used primarily in hospital rooms, was revolutionary in cultivating a healthier atmosphere for treating illnesses such as yellow fever. People, this is Science! Not only is it exciting, but essential for the future of humankind! 

What Is the Timetable Of the Modern Air Conditioner? 

  • The Early 1900s: Willis Carrier is renowned for formulating the first air conditioner in 1902, comparative to today’s models. His device could cool air considerably, lowering humidity levels by roughly 55 percent! Carrier’s Rational Psychometric Formula, submitted in 1911, is essential to today’s air conditioning. Then, if we move forward a few years to 1914, we find our first in-home air conditioning machine, installed in a mansion, measuring 7 ft tall and 20 ft wide! Certainly not discreet, but Carrier was really onto something! Fast forward to 1928, not only are air conditioners now a more reasonable size, but we also see the discovery of hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), which became the standard refrigerant utilized in residential air conditioners, at least for the time being. 
  • The Mid-1900s: Air conditioners became extremely popular in suburban homes in the middle of the century, with records displaying the installation of about 74,000 air conditioners at the time. In 1953, the popularity of air conditioners grew so much that the supply could not withstand the demand! And then, in 1957, the rotary compressor was formulated, making way for more quiet and efficient air conditioning units. 
  • The Late 1900s: The 70s was a demanding time for central air conditioning in large city commercial buildings, so many air conditioning companies developed to meet this demand. Then in the 90s, the energy wielded for air conditioners doubled over ten years, urging the production of more energy-efficient units to remain within the requirements established by modern environmental laws. 

Even in the last millennia alone, we have seen substantial technological developments! I’m excited to see what future innovations will appear in the next decade regarding air conditioning! When it comes to science, we are constantly discovering things and using them to our societal advantage! Monroe Heating & Air works hard to provide the best and most ingenious HVAC technology. As science advances, so does our devoted staff! Call us today at (513) 540-4890, or schedule an appointment online now by clicking here