5 Key Moments in the History of Air Conditioners
Many homeowners take air conditioned and climate controlled interiors for granted. For those who have always enjoyed the luxury of AC, its benefits go unnoticed until the unit stops working.
At this point, home- and business owners may choose to familiarize themselves with how the AC unit functions. Modern systems are highly evolved, and for those interested in the colorful history of air conditioning, this article will introduce five key years that allowed HVAC systems to develop into one of today’s greatest luxuries. If you are looking for a new AC unit, or if your current unit needs repairs, Royal Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning can help.
We specialize in keeping Las Vegas Valley residents cool and comfortable in the summer months, and warm and cozy when the cooler winter months strike. Call us today at 702-645-3000 to discuss your AC requirements.
The discovery that liquid has a cooling effect when it evaporates dates all the way back to the year 1758. According to Popular Mechanics, Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley discovered that volatile liquids, such as alcohol, evaporate significantly faster than water.
In some cases, this can actually freeze water. In 1820, inventor Michael Faraday made a similar discovery with ammonia, which he was able to compress and liquefy for the first time.
A doctor at a Florida hospital invents a crude version of an air conditioner. He built a machine that used compression to create buckets of ice. The machine then blew air over the ice, which he imagined could cool entire buildings. The machine received little support and financial backing, and as a result, it soon faded into obscurity.
As Slate reports, the modern air conditioner traces back to engineer Willis Carrier. The breakthrough in air conditioning primarily came with the availability of electricity, allowing inventors to expand their imaginations beyond traditional ice block-based methods of climate control.
The unit that Carrier developed essentially pumped air through water-cooled coils and was designed to lower the temperature at the printing press where he worked. The major breakthrough for public air conditioning came more than 20 years later, when an engineer designed an air conditioning unit based on Carrier’s original design and installed it in a Times Square theatre.
The individual room-size air conditioner, which is still popular, made its first appearance in 1931, when two inventors developed a unit that could rest on a window ledge. The units, which became commercially available one year later, were extremely expensive. According to Popular Mechanics, these systems would cost the equivalent of $120,000 to $600,000 today.
The large window units that still exist today received a shakeup in the 1970s. Central air conditioning became a more reliable and cost-effective cooling system, and it had the added bonus of being more discreet than the boxy style of the window units. While units today continue to evolve, much of the inspiration for the current AC setups still follow the technology laid down during the last 100 years.
At Royal Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning, we are committed to your comfort. If you are looking for a new AC unit, or if you need repairs or maintenance, give us a call at 702-645-3000.