We talk about air conditioning a lot, and we’ve shared with you the history of our company. Now it’s time to blend the two topics and share the history of air conditioning. To bring you some of the facts and fictions about the history of air conditioning, here’s Warner Service’s breakdown of A/C through the ages:
1758: Benjamin Franklin and Cambridge University professor John Hadley discover that the evaporation of alcohol and other volatile liquids can cool down an object enough to freeze water.
1820: English inventor Michael Faraday makes the same discovery as Franklin and Hadley after compressing and liquidizing ammonia.
1831: Jacob Perkins builds the first effective, steam-powered refrigerator.
Late 1830s: Dr. John Gorrie invents an ice-making machine that uses compression to make buckets of ice then blows air over them. He uses the technique to cool down people with yellow fever and malaria.
1881: Naval engineers build a makeshift air conditioner to keep President James Garfield comfortable after an assassin shoots him. It uses a half-million pounds of ice in 2 months and lowers the room temperature by up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
1899: Alfred Wolff spearheads efforts toward comfort cooling.
1902: Willis Haviland Carrier discovers that a relationship exists between temperature, humidity, dew point and pressure. He designs the first modern cooling unit as a way to solve a moisture problem for a publishing company.
1904: The World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, features a fully air-conditioned Missouri State Building, marking the first time that the American public is exposed to the concept of comfort cooling.
1906: Carrier patents his “Apparatus for Treating Air” in Brooklyn, New York.
Frank Lloyd Wright designs the Larkin Administration Building to accommodate an air conditioning system.
In North Carolina, textile mill engineer Stuart Cramer creates a ventilating device that adds water vapor to the air of textile plants, making yarn easier to spin and less likely to break. He’s the first to coin the term “air conditioning.”
1908: G.B. Wilson uses “air conditioning” in a textbook for the first time.
1914: Charles Gates successfully installs the first domestic air conditioning unit in a Minneapolis mansion, but no one uses it because no one ever lives in the home.
1915: The Father of Air Conditioning forms his own company called Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America.
1917: The first air conditioning unit is installed in a movie theater.
1921: Carrier introduces centrifugal compressors, which replace bulkier rotary compressors.
1928: The Carrier Corporation’s Weathermaker device debuts as “the first practical home air conditioning unit.”
DuPont, an American chemical company, introduces Freon, a stable, nonflammable gas or liquid used as a moderately toxic refrigerant.
1930: The first air-conditioned dining car is available for travelers on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.
1931: H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman file a patent for a window A/C unit. The product hits the market the next year.
1939: Packard, an American luxury automobile company, makes the first car with optional air conditioning. However, to turn off the air conditioner, the driver must stop the engine, pop the hood and disconnect a compressor belt.
1940s and 50s: Employers suspect that air conditioning in the office would promote laziness, but after installation, productivity increased and absenteeism decreased.
1947: British scholar S.F. Markham writes, “The greatest contribution to civilization in this century may well be air-conditioning—and America leads the way.”
1953: The total number of air conditioning units sold in the United States exceeds 1 million due to the post-World War II economic boom.
1987: Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by not producing responsible substances is signed.
1992: The U.S. Energy Department sets efficiency standards for residential central A/C units and heat pumps, which results in saving $29 billion from 1993 to 2023.
1994: Freon is linked to ozone depletion, and is subsequently banning in several countries. Auto manufacturers switch to a less harmful refrigerant while Honeywell, now a multinational conglomerate of commercial and consumer products, and Carrier, develop more environmentally friendly coolants.
1997: The Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty that commits state parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions based on the premise that global warming exists and man-made carbon dioxide emissions have caused it, is signed.
2002: An estimated 6.7 million air conditioning units are produced.
2006: The U.S. Energy Department sets new requirements for central A/C units and heat pumps to avoid more than 369 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
2015: The U.S. Energy Department announces new projects for non-vapor compression technologies that don’t require refrigerants.
And there you have it, folks. You’re all caught up!
To schedule a maintenance check-up for your air conditioning unit, contact Warner Service today.