What Is The History Of The Modern Air Conditioner?

A/C, Air Conditioner, Blog, History, HVAC, Milford, OH, Ohio

Happy to be living in a time of air conditioning! Could you imagine experiencing the sweltering heat without having the luxury of being able to find refuge in an air-conditioned environment? Anyone without an AC, solely using fans within their homes, may have some idea of the struggle, and those living in developing countries truly understand this hardship. But in fact, people lived for centuries without cooling appliances; and had to find other techniques of keeping cool. To get a glimpse of how we got from there to here, travel back in time with Milford Heating & Cooling, and let’s see some of the steps taken that bless us with such a significant technological advancement. 

Where Was AC in the Ancient Periods Of History? 

Indeed, it was far from what it is today. If we jump back in time, what would we find people doing to keep cool? In Ancient Egypt, the Egyptians presumably hung wet clothes on the thresholds of structures to create an evaporating cooling effect by generating a fresher breeze as the wind blew. But, in Ancient China, around 180 AD, Ding Huan formulated a rotary fan, hand-cranked to produce a draft. Then, Ancient Rome used their creative engineering skills to cultivate the aqueduct, allowing Romans to pump cold water through the walls of nobility to freshen up and maintain a cool home environment during the hot summers. This trench is just one of the many then-sophisticated and life-changing innovations Rome has given future generations! 

What Inventions Were Building Blocks To the Modern AC? 

As we progress further in time, we begin to see more and more developments that are important to the production of the modern air conditioner. Benjamin Franklin, one of our founding fathers, explored the effects of evaporative cooling together with his colleague John Hadley in 1758. They could lower the temperature of a thermometer from 64° F to 7° F! Then, in 1830, American physician Dr. John Gorrie commenced work on the first mechanical cooling apparatus documented. Although bulky and requiring an insane quantity of ice water to work, it could cool a space by as much as 20 degrees. His invention, patented in 1851 and used chiefly in hospital rooms, was revolutionary in developing a healthier environment for treating illnesses such as yellow fever. You guys, this is Science! So exciting and necessary for the future of humanity! 

What Is the Timeline For the Modern Air Conditioner? 

  • The Early 1900s: Willis Carrier is known for developing the first air conditioner in 1902, which is comparable to today’s models. His machine could cool air significantly and lower humidity levels by approximately 55 percent! Carrier’s Rational Psychometric Formula, submitted in 1911, is fundamental to today’s air conditioning. Moving forward a few years to 1914, we have our first in-home air conditioning machine, introduced in a mansion, with the large size of 7 ft tall and 20 ft wide! Not necessarily discreet, but Carrier was really onto something! Jumping forward to 1928, not only are air conditioners now more reasonably sized, but we have the discovery of hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), which became the standard refrigerant used in residential air conditioners, at least for a time. 
  • The Mid-1900s: Air conditioners became remarkably popular in suburban homes in the middle of the century, with records exhibiting the installation of roughly 74,000 air conditioners during this time. In 1953, the popularity of air conditioners had grown so much that the supply could not endure the high demand! Though in 1957, the rotary compressor was invented, making quiet and efficient air conditioning units a reality.  
  • The Late 1900s: The 70s was a demanding time for central air conditioning in vast city commercial buildings, so many air conditioning companies began springing up to assist this demand. And in the 90s, the energy used for air conditioning doubled over ten years, compelling the generation of more energy-efficient units to keep up to code with modern environmental laws. 

In the last millennia alone, we have seen significant technological advancements! I’m eager to see what future innovations will come in the next decade or two, respecting air conditioning! When it comes to science, we are forever discovering things and revolutionizing them! Milford Heating & Cooling continues to hustle to deliver the best and most innovative HVAC technology available, and as the science advances, so will our dedicated crew! Call us today at (513) 655-5112, or schedule an appointment online now by clicking here!  

Milford HVAC Van
Milford HVAC - Save Big!

Call Milford Heating & Cooling

(513) 655-5112

Recent Blog Posts: