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Air Conditioning History Timeline

air conditioning history timeline

It’s hard to imagine a hot Texas summer with sweltering temperatures consistently topping 100 degrees without air conditioning. As citizens of a modern world, perhaps we’ve become spoiled in our expectations of daily amenities, and this got us thinking: who was the genius that invented the modern air conditioning system?

That question turned out to be a little more difficult to answer than we thought. The “invention” of air conditioning was not so much one single “Aha!” moment, but rather several ideas over a few hundred years that got us to the modern HVAC system that we all know and love. Below is a brief air conditioning history timeline to explain how the air conditioner parts and functions have evolved.

Ancient Egypt: Where It All Got Started?

Ancient Egyptians are vaguely credited as being the first to use evaporative cooling by hanging wet cloth or reeds in windows and doorways. As the wind blew across the wet materials, the air in the home would be cooled.

Ancient Rome: Aqueducts As Air Conduits

Wealthy citizens learn to route aqueducts through the walls of their homes. The circulating water has evaporative qualities that cool the air.

1758: Scientists Connect The Dots

Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley discover that the evaporation of volatile liquids like alcohol can cool an object to the point of freezing water.

1851: A Pioneer In Refrigeration Emerges

Dr. John Gorrie receives a U.S. patent for his invention that uses air blown over ice to cool hospital rooms. His idea was based on the theory that hot air in hospitals contained sickness, so cooling the air would create a healthier environment.

1902: The Advent Of The Commercial Air Conditioning System

Willis Carrier, working for Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Co., invents a machine in 1902 that blows air over cold coils to control air temperature and humidity. The goal is to de-humidify the air so that paper doesn’t wrinkle and ink stays fresh. The idea catches on with other factories and Carrier founds the Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America.

1914: The First Residential Air Conditioner Installed

The first in-home air conditioning unit is installed in a Minneapolis mansion. The machine is seven feet tall and twenty feet long.

1931: The Window Unit Invented

H.H Schultz and J.Q Sherman invent the first window unit air conditioner. The cost of a unit (in today’s money) would be up to $600,000 dollars.

The 1950s: Home Air Conditioners Gain In Popularity

Residential air conditioners catch on in suburban homes.

The 1970s: Central Air Becomes Standard

Central air conditioning systems are popularized.

ABC’s Heating And Cooling Services Stand The Test Of Time

With technology improving each day and transforming the world, air conditioner and heating systems of the future will be much more energy efficient and provide homeowners with the cooling they need while becoming more energy efficient. Solar air conditioners, for example, are a great sign that homeowners are in for continued innovation in the coming years. If you looking for air conditioning repair or maintenance to ensure that your current unit works through the warm San Antonio temperatures, ABC Home & Commercial Services can help. Our highly trained, skilled technicians can perform repairs on any make and model of system, suggest energy improvements and even help you select and install a new unit. With ABC’s help, your home will stay comfortable year round.

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