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The History of Air Conditioning

In terms of air conditioning, we have come a long way from those before us. In order to understand the path that led us to the advanced AC systems we have today, we have to appreciate the origins of modern cool, which started with refrigeration.

Before electricity and cooling devices became a commodity among consumers, there was no way to keep something cool, until the invention of refrigeration came along in the early 1800s. Food had a dangerously short shelf life, in which bacterial growth easily spawned. Scientists during this time discovered that the bacteria in food would rapidly flourish at temperatures below 40 degrees, prompting them to invest in the research and development of refrigeration. This enabled consumers to preserve their food, and ultimately led to the curation of air conditioning.

Keep reading to discover the timeline of events that has enabled us to control humidity and indoor temperatures through the modern marvel of air conditioning.

Timeline of Events

History of Air Conditioning - Artificial Ice
1820: The first recorded experiment in which artificial ice was successfully created.
History of Air Conditioning - Michael Faraday
1824: Scientist Michael Faraday achieved success in his experiments that led to the discovery of refrigeration through chemical absorption.
History of Air Conditioning - Jacob Perkins
1834: Scientist Jacob Perkins constructed the first machine to create artificial ice, which is the basis of today’s compression systems.
History of Air Conditioning - Willis Carrier
1902: The first air conditioner was invented by Willis Haviland Carrier, designed to control the indoor temperature and humidity levels for a printing office. This was is where the evolution of AC’s begins!
History of Air Conditioning - Stuart Cramer
1906: The term “air conditioning” is coined by Stuart W. Cramer.
History of Air Conditioning - Chicago
1913: Chicago hosts the first international expo for refrigeration.
History of Air Conditioning - Thomas Midgley Jr
1928: Thomas Midgley Jr. discovers and implements the chemical refrigerant, “Freon”.
History of Air Conditioning - White House
1930: The White House installs air conditioning in its rooms for the first time.
History of Air Conditioning - Room Size Units
1946: The first spike in demand for room-sized AC units occurs, with over 30,000 units/year in production.
History of Air Conditioning - Sales Skyrocket
1953: The sales for air conditioners skyrockets past one million units this year.
History of Air Conditioning - Rotary Compressor
1957: Thanks to the introduction of rotary compressors, AC units are now designed to be more efficient and smaller than previous units.
History of Air Conditioning - Heat Pump
1977: The introduction of heat pumps enable units to both cool and heat, providing a dual action functionality that can be used throughout the year and across seasons.
History of Air Conditioning - Semiconductor
1990: Semiconductor technology enables air conditioners to use micro-processing control systems.
History of Air Conditioning - Refrigerant
1992: Alternative refrigerants (R-502 and R-22) are introduced by the AREP, providing safer options for consumers.
History of Air Conditioning - 6 Million
1998: The sales of single unit HVAC systems exceeds 6 million units sold.
History of Air Conditioning - Low Efficiency
2007: The State Council outlaws the sale of any air conditioning unit that is low efficiency and begins to set regulatory temperatures for public offices and buildings each season.


As you can see, there are many people to thank for the new air conditioning systems we have in our home today. If you are interested in learning more about the options available to you or have any questions regarding heating and cooling, then contact your friends at ACE Home Services! We are here for all of your heating and cooling needs. Let us help you make sure your home stays comfortable and cool this summer. You can always trust your place with ACE!

Image credit: Rido/Shutterstock

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