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The History Of Air Conditioning

Nov 20, 2007
Air conditioning has come a long way since the concept was first thought of. Advances in technology and science have enabled modern - day inventors to design systems that are a lot more practical and effective than those that were thought of a hundred years ago.

An American physician, Dr. John Gorrie was the first person to try to make an air conditioner in the 1830s. He designed an ice making machine that blew air over a bucket of ice in order to cool hospital rooms. Needless to say this wasn't the most effective method and on a very hot day sometimes the effects could hardly be felt.

A more effective but less practical method of air conditioning was developed in 1881 when President James Garfield was dying. Naval engineers constructed a box - like structure which contained cloths that were soaked in melted ice water and then used a fan to blow hot air overhead. Even though it helped by lowering the temperature of the room by 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it consumed half a million pounds of ice in the space of two months and therefore wasn't very practical at all.

Air conditioning units became more advanced in 1902 when an American engineer, Willis Carrier designed a unit for his publishing company. He used chilled coils in the machine in order to cool the air and lower the humidity. This set the standard for air conditioning units and new developments were constantly being made.

They were first used in printing plants, textile mills, manufacturers and hospitals and it wasn't until much later that they started to be used in homes. However, these units started out as big, expensive and dangerous because of the toxic ammonia that was used as a coolant.

In 1922 Carrier had two major breakthroughs. Instead of using ammonia in his air conditioning units, he used dielene which was much better for the environment and added a central compressor so that he could reduce the size of his units. A movie theatre was the first commercial operation to purchase an air conditioning unit and this was soon followed by office buildings, department stores and car manufacturers. This saw the beginning of a craze for air conditioning as everyone now wanted it.

It is undeniable that air conditioning is an invention that people can live without, especially in very hot countries. Thankfully these units have come a long way since the idea was first thought of an they now tend to go unnoticed as they can sit on a wall and are much quieter as well.
About the Author
Kimpton Building Services has been providing essential building services to clients for over 40 years.
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