The History and Importance of Air Conditioning


Complex Machine

Air conditioning is a modern convenience we often take for granted. However, Florida residents didn’t always have the luxury of central air. Just like any other technology, air conditioning has taken decades to perfect, and HVAC professionals are still working to advance it further. At Certified Climate Control, we’re dedicated to helping residents of Orlando, FL enjoy all the benefits of trustworthy air conditioning units. Whether your AC keeps freezing up or you need an AC cleaning service, we have you covered. But we also want to educate our customers on the history and importance of this vital technology.

Air conditioning technology can trace its roots back to the 1700s. By working with a company offering air conditioners in Jacksonville, you can install an innovative unit that will meet the needs of your family. To highlight the essential role that air conditioning plays in our daily routines, here is a look back at the history of the air conditioner.

A World Before Air Conditioning

While it’s hard to imagine a world without air conditioning today, this was a simple reality for everyone living pre-1900. However, that doesn’t mean that people didn’t have solutions for dealing with sweltering temperatures. People across the world came up with creative solutions to keep cool, even as the sun beat down. Many homes were constructed with thick stone walls, which acted as natural conductors of heat. Others were built with high ceilings that allowed for internal air convection, leaving the bottom of a room cool and the top part warm. Chimneys also helped to ventilate a home and route hot air upward. Yet other solutions for keeping cool included:

  • Building porches
  • Sleeping on fire escapes
  • Building in the shade
  • Living underground

Scientific Discoveries

1758: Discovery of Liquid Evaporation

The history of air conditioning began in 1758 when noted inventor Benjamin Franklin discovered the property of liquid evaporation. Franklin determined that liquids such as alcohol and water create a cooling effect as they evaporate. Today, the phenomenon of liquid evaporation still plays a critical role in the air conditioners that we use in our homes.

1830: Creation of the Ice Compressor

The very first air conditioning unit was created in the 1830s by a doctor named John Gorrie. Gorrie’s preliminary air conditioner was called an ice compressor. This innovative invention used ice and liquid evaporation to cool hot buildings. Even though Gorrie’s early air conditioner never achieved wide attention, his invention paved the way for the air conditioning systems that are used today.

1931: Invention of the Individual Air Conditioner

Throughout the early 1900s, inventors created several versions of the first air conditioner. These early air conditioners were very large and bulky. In 1931, J.Q. Sherman and H.H. Shultz pioneered the first-ever window-mounted, individual room air conditioner. This system allowed homeowners to cool rooms individually. To this day, many people rely on individual room air conditioners to ensure their comfort at home.

The First Air Conditioners

Although Americans in the nineteenth century were taking hot weather in stride, they still searched for improved cooling solutions. In the 1840s, a Florida physician, John Gorrie, worked on a cooling system using ice from frozen lakes. He hoped that his invention would keep city hospitals cool and reduce the spread of disease. However, he was unsuccessful getting his technology to the market. Most sources recognize the first modern air conditioner as the Willis Carrier model, invented in 1902. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that many others before Carrier invented refrigeration techniques, including William Cullen in 1748.

The Willis Carrier Model

The first modern air conditioning unit was commissioned by Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company in Brooklyn, NY. The company was becoming frustrated with excess humidity in their buildings that was causing magazine pages to crinkle and become unusable. Engineer Willis Carrier took on this challenge and experimented with numerous types of cooling coils to control humidity. The final product, listed as an “Apparatus for Treating Air” on the patent, could humidify or dehumidify indoor air. After finding immense success with his invention, Carrier went on to found the Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America.

Advancements Through the Years

We’ve certainly come a long way since the days of Willis Carrier. Over the years, countless individuals have contributed to the advancement of air conditioning technology. While there are far too many contributions to list, here is a brief overview of the progress of AC in the twentieth century:

  • 1904—A mechanical refrigeration system is used to cool the Missouri State Building at the St. Louis World’s Fair. This event is recognized as the first time Americans got a taste of air conditioning technology.
  • 1914—Air conditioning becomes more popular in homes, with the first unit installed in Charles Gilbert Gates’ mansion.
  • 1922—The first cooling system for theaters is installed at the Metropolitan Theater in Los Angeles.
  • 1929—Frigidaire develops a split-system unit small enough for a single-family home.
  • 1931—H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman invent units designed to cool individual rooms via window ledges.
  • 1939—Air conditioning appears in cars.
  • 1947—Henry Galson mass-produces compact window air conditioners. Approximately 43,000 units were sold.
  • 1970s—Central air conditioning becomes the norm, replacing traditional window units.
  • 1990s—The US Energy Department pushes new standards for energy efficiency, resulting in energy savings of 50%.

Air Conditioning in the 21st Century

Air conditioning is a staple of the modern home, especially here in Florida. Today, these devices are more advanced than ever, and technology shows no signs of slowing down. Although this technology was originally intended for industrial use, residences across America are now equipped with state-of-the-art HVAC systems. In fact, studies suggest that the average home in the United States is more likely to have central air conditioning than a dining room or dishwasher. What’s more, industry professionals are beginning to develop units with improved energy efficiency. This focus on sustainability has resulted in outstanding benefits to customers and the environment alike. We preserve the environment with less energy usage and save money on reduced utility bills.

The Air Conditioning of the Future

The jury’s still out on what the future of air conditioning entails. But one thing’s for sure—Florida residents will always see AC as a vital part of their homes. Industry professionals expect all kinds of advancements in home air conditioner repair and maintenance. But perhaps the most exciting thing the future holds is what kind of innovative technology will meld with AC. Experts are currently working on the following types of advances in the coming years:

  • Smart home controls and automation
  • Motion-activated technology
  • Data analytics to identify opportunities for cost savings
  • Increased energy efficiency and sustainability
  • Solar power
  • Smart thermostats
  • Non-vapor compression technology

The Importance of Air Conditioning

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of air conditioning, especially in the hot Florida climate. Since the early days of air conditioning, these devices have provided a crucial service. Not only do they make homes comfortable for all seasons, but they also go a long way to improving air quality. And air quality is more important than you think, as poor indoor air can exacerbate existing medical conditions. Modern HVAC units also filter out allergens and pollutants, keeping your indoor air safe and comfortable. At Certified Climate Control, we believe it’s our responsibility to ensure you reap the benefits of your air conditioning.

AC Service You Can Trust

Homeowners can run into lots of problems with air conditioning. Sometimes your AC is running but not cooling, and other times you need extensive repairs. No matter your circumstances, Certified Climate Control wants to help. Our AC team can take on all kinds of jobs, from maintenance to AC replacement. We hope to be your one and only HVAC contractor. Take advantage of the following services:

  • Sales
  • Air conditioner repair
  • Replacements and installation
  • Maintenance and tune-ups
  • HVAC evaluations
  • Thermostats
  • Energy efficiency assessments

From AC freezing to an air conditioner that doesn’t cool enough, we’ve seen it all. The team at Certified Climate Control is here to ensure that you stay comfortable and cool in your home, even at the height of summer. Regardless of the scope of your problem, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We take pride in providing Orlando with outstanding AC work and world-class customer service. Contact us today to learn more about the history of air conditioning or to schedule service.