Air Conditioning Throughout History

It’s hard to imagine a modern world without air conditioning. There would be no refrigerators to store food, so grocery shopping almost every day would become necessary. An icebox would only keep food good for 2-3 days, so there would always be a higher risk of food poisoning. Skyscrapers would certainly not be very comfortable places in which to work. Many people living in hotter climates like Phoenix, Arizona would not be able to stand the 100-degree heat and probably would have to move up north, at least during the summer months. People with asthma and migraines would have a hard time living in Washington DC, where they need clean indoor air quality to escape the airborne impurities. AC repair La Habra California near me

There hasn’t always been air conditioning available, especially not to those who were less than wealthy. How was air conditioning ever invented? Was there any way to cool a home before electric air conditioning? There is a rich history behind the evolution of air conditioning and it spans more than just the last century, making the modern comforts we enjoy today possible.

Cooling as Done By the Ancients

Using machinery to cool the air has been a recent technology, but cooling homes has been done throughout history. During the time when the Roman Empire dominated Western culture, wealthier Romans enjoyed cooled homes in the summer months. They used aqueducts, or channels, that moved water from one part of the house to another. Full-scale aqueducts would send drinking water to all parts of the city, but used within a home, these aqueducts evaporated air as it moved and could cool the rooms.

The Romans weren’t the only ones in the world working on the development of cooling technology. The Chinese were inventing rotary fans powered by water to provide air movement within a building. The Persians would dig large cisterns, or pools, in their courtyards. When this water evaporated, it cooled the surrounding area. These may seem like rudimentary methods now, but they were effective means for providing relief during seasons of intense heat.

The Beginning of Air Conditioning as We Know It

Michael Faraday, a British chemist and physicist, discovered how to use machinery to provide air conditioning in 1820. By compressing and liquefying ammonia, the air that evaporated from the liquid would be cooler than the normal air temperature. These principles were used early on to produce ice in large quantities. In the 1830s, a physician named John Gorrie adapted this principle and used a fan to blow over a bucket of ice, producing cooler air for those confined to the hospital.

In order to cool printing plants, which were made extremely hot by the intense machinery and equipment, the first electric air conditioner was made in 1902 by Willis Haviland Carrier. By lowering the temperature in the factory, this cooling system saved paper from being warped as it was being printed on. He called it, “The Apparatus for Treating Air.” Stuart Cramer patented the term “air conditioning” in 1906 when he used Carrier’s cooling system to condition yarn as it was being used in the textile plants.

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