History of Air Conditioning

It is a wonderful thing to be able to flip a switch, and have an entire room cooled off through air conditioning. Portable room air conditioners make sense when you wish to cool certain parts of your home, office, or covered outdoor living spaces. Air conditioning is commonly found in buildings today, but it was not always the case throughout history.

Wealthy ancient Egyptian families could enjoy the cooling benefits brought from aqueduct water that traversed the insides of walls in buildings. Water was an expensive commodity in that hot region of the world, so only the rich could afford this luxury. Medieval Persians made use of wind towers and cisterns to cool their buildings. Wind would be captured in the wind tower, and it was then directed over the water in the open cistern, which would evaporate and cool the ambient temperature inside the dwelling.

Later on, the idea that liquefied ammonia, when it evaporated, could cool the air was thought up by British scientist Michael Faraday in 1820. In America in 1842, Dr. John Gorrie created a machine to make ice, and he used the ice to cool the air in his hospital in Florida.

Industry was the primary reason that air conditioners were created around the turn of the last century in the United States. Willis Haviland Carrier created the first electrical air conditioner in 1902, which was used to cool and dehumidify the air in a printing plant. The term “air conditioning” was coined by American Stuart W. Cramer in 1906, who came up with a way to add moisture to the air, which was crucial in his textile manufacturing mill.

Toxic gases were used to run the early air conditioners, but Thomas Midgley, Jr. created Freon refrigerant in 1928. Unfortunately, he did not know that Freon is bad for the ozone, and recently newer refrigerants have been developed that are safer for the environment.

Air conditioning is not only used today to make our homes and other buildings more comfortable. You will find air conditioning used in land, water and space vehicles. Air conditioning is used to also filter out bad particles in the air, such as in hospital operating rooms. If you have allergies or asthma, air conditioning can help remove the pollen, dander and dust that causes these conditions to flare up. The elderly can also be at risk if they are in a too-hot building, so air conditioning can be crucial for their well being. Some air conditioners are also dehumidifiers, which take the excess moisture out of the air to make you more comfortable in terms of your temperature. Today we are lucky that a great air conditioner is your answer for cooling comfort.

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