The Birth of Modern Air Conditioning

HVAC History: Who Invented the Air Conditioner?

Air conditioning can be an incredible blessing on sweltering hot West Palm Beach days, but when we adjust our thermostat or break out our giant window air conditioning unit, we don’t often think about where air conditioning came from or who invented it. The idea of air conditioning actually dates back all the way to the ancient Egyptians, but modern air conditioning wasn’t formally developed until many, many years later.

Ancient Egyptians and Romans

Some of the first known cooling techniques came from the ancient Egyptians. They often hung damp floor mats in their doorways in order to lower the temperature in their homes. The water that evaporated from the mats cooled the temperature indoors.

In ancient Rome, people also developed a technique to reduce indoor temperatures. They used aqueducts to move fresh, cold water through pipes in their homes.

Experiments with Air Conditioning

In 1758, air conditioning practices developed even more when Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley started to experiment with the refrigerating effects of specific liquids. Franklin figured out that the rate at which liquids are refrigerated is very closely related to how quickly they can evaporate.

Then, in 1820, Michael Faraday discovered that if ammonia was liquidized and then evaporated, it would cool his entire laboratory.

Modern Air Conditioning

In 1851, shortly after Faraday’s discovery, John Gorrie invented the first ever cooling machine. His machine was manufactured to keep those suffering from yellow fever cool. It used compressed water and air in order to create a cooling effect, and it was the first patented invention of its kind.

In 1902, what we know as air conditioning today began to develop. During this year, Willis Carrier, who was an engineer at the time, was asked to create something that would treat the air in a New York based printing company. Apparently, the humidity that was present in the building was creating a negative effect on the printing process.

In 1903, Carrier had nearly completed his task by creating a system of cold coils that helped regulate the humidity throughout the building. The machine successfully kept the humidity within the printing company at about 55 percent, and this is the same system we use for modern air conditioners.

But the term air conditioning was not coined until a man named Stuart Cramer created a similar device and referred to his invention as an air conditioner. Air conditioning took off from there and continued to be installed in businesses across the globe. Then, in 1914, it was installed in the  first home, and the invention continued to become the staple for hot summer days that we know it to be today. We probably wouldn’t be living in West Palm Beach without it!

With the help of East Coast Mechanical Services, you can keep your West Palm Beach home cool and comfortable. Just call: (561) 585-9850 !

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