The History of Air Conditioning

The History of Air Conditioning

We may have walked out of the sweltering temps of sub saharan Africa, but that was 60,000 years ago, according to National Geographic, and most of us seem to have lost our tolerance for extreme heat since then. Yet, humans have always found ways to cool down when a particularly hot summer sun beat down upon us. Cooling off with a dip in a river, drinking plenty of fluids to replenish sweat, seeking out a shady spot, building structures that worked to insulate from the heat, and fanning oneself was pretty much the extent of it, though. That was how Americans cooled themselves off up until around 100 years ago.

The Electric Fan: Cooling by Conduction and Evaporation

According to Slate, electric fans became popular at the turn of the 20th century, which do not actually cool the room down, but offer a wind chill affect. A fan or the wind, unlike an air conditioner, cools us down by carrying heat from our skin away from us, and by increasing the rate of sweat evaporation, which also carries heat away from us. It was not a huge leap from the invention of the electric fan to the air conditioner, however.

Ancient Air Cooling Techniques

Ancient air conditioning techniques were first developed in ancient Rome, where the elite built structures with aqueducts in the walls so that water could carry away heat on particularly warm days. Snow was also imported from the mountains to keep the emperor and other wealthy people cool. These technologies, like many others, disappeared during the Dark Ages and it was not until the Nikola Tesla invented the AC/DC current, allowing for the invention of the electric fan, when American engineers began the process of inventing the modern day air conditioner. A couple U.S. presidents in the 1800s used fans that blew air through sheets soaked in ice-cold water, which is essentially what an air conditioner does – blow air through a cooling mechanism to cool down a room’s air temperature.

Air Conditioner Invented in 1902 by Willis Carrier

In 1902, Willis Carrier created a device that blew air through water-cooled coils. Decades later, he placed a central compressor in the device to reduce the size of the machine. This is essentially the modern day air conditioner. Air conditioning units are now smaller, much more reliable, more durable, stronger, and less expensive than this first model or the units that followed.

Call Van Drunen Heating & Air Conditioning Today

With over 50 years of experience installing and repairing air conditioners, we can get the job done for you in no time at all. Call Van Drunen Heating & Air Conditioning today at 708-339-6444 to talk to one of our representatives.

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