Air Conditioning History

Air conditioning has gone through a number of changes over the years. With the innovations of refrigerant cooling, there are now much more efficient and successful ways to stay comfortable during hot summer months. Before the invention of air conditioners, homes cooled themselves was through fans. Before electricity, architects had to design homes with the warmth of the summer in mind. We’ll walk you through the innovations over time so you can get a sense of how far cooling homes has come over the years.

Before electricity, homes built in warm climates had to be designed to withstand the heat. During that time period, individuals also tended to wear more layers of clothing, making the heat even more difficult to withstand. There were many who used personal fans to stay cool. This is also why you tend to see so many more porches in the south, because having an outdoor space was essential during the hottest months. Another way architects kept buildings cool was by installing high ceilings that could easily circulate air. Further, they built large windows that could be opened during hot days, allowing a breeze to flow through the home. Still, it was quite hot and uncomfortable for many during this time.

As electricity became widespread in homes, electric fans allowed for constant air-flow to be present. This was the beginning of the modern air conditioning age. Most A/C’s today include a fan that can be turned on to increase air flow during the day. Fans can be extremely helpful in lowering energy costs. They can also be helpful during cold weather if the direction of their blades is changed to clockwise. Another innovation that began developing was the idea of having air blow over cold water or ice. Once refrigerators and/or iceboxes became popular in homes, placing a fan over a block of ice was a popular way to stay cool during summer months.

By 1914, air conditioning hit the American market. The first owners of these innovative machines were very rich, and the first machines were extremely large and bulky. By 1931, the machine had been perfected when H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman invented the individual room air conditioner that sits on a window ledge. That original design is still found in many homes today. The prices were still very high however, the equivalent of over $120,000 today.

By the 1950’s, the machine had been mass-produced and became much more popular and common. Individuals could easily access A/C units and over one million were sold. Currently, the technology is ubiquitous in many homes. It is very easy to find high quality air conditioners at reasonable prices. Everyone in your family can be comfortable and cool even during very high temperatures.