Many individuals cannot imagine their days without their cooling systems in their homes, at the workplace, and even in their vehicles. However, many summers before the year 1902, people had to deal with the scorching heat without air conditioners.
Truly, there is very little that we know about our best pals during the hot days of summer. But, seeing that many of us are highly dependent on this wonderful piece of technology – not only for comfort but also for health purposes – it’s about time that we get to know it a little better.
1. Refrigeration was originally, for all intents and purposes, medical.
If we’re going to look into the history of air conditioning, we need to seek deeper through its origin – refrigeration.
Considered the Father of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, in 1842, John Gorrie, who was a Floridian doctor, invented a machine that was able to make ice in order to help cool the air in the room for his patients.
Gorrie was also granted a patent to manufacture another machine with similar functions as his invention, which would have been intended for homes and buildings. Unfortunately, he died before he could create it.
2. Air conditioners were produced for papers and inks.
The first modern air conditioner was manufactured to beat the heat and humidity. However, it was not for the purpose of human comfort, but to prevent paper from expanding and contracting, and ink from running – issues which caused some quality problems at the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing & Publishing Company in Brooklyn.
The first AC was built by Willis Carrier, an engineer who worked at the said publishing company in 1902.
3. A selling point for movie houses.
Movie houses were among the very first buildings and commercial places to have air conditioning systems, and this attracted a lot of patrons. Due to the huge number of movie-goers that amassed in the theatres during summer, studios strategically released their best productions during this season; ergo the term “summer blockbuster”.
4. The “Big Board” got into the bandwagon early, too.
The New York Stock Exchange Building in NYC was one of the first buildings to use air conditioning in 1903. The system, which was used for 20 years, was in the form of a 300-ton comfort cooling system by Alfred Wolff.
5. AC dissolved summer breaks for factory workers but not for students.
Before the AC, the workplace got unbearably hot and workers became too sluggish to work efficiently during summer; many factories had to stop or slow down production. However, even without those issues, some products, particularly in the food industry, were simply temperature-sensitive and could not be produced in a hot and humid environment.
With the air conditioning system, business industries were able to run year-round, without taking breaks during the hot season, which allowed for greater income and growth.
Incidentally, the invention of artificial air cooling did not put an end to summer vacations in schools, which were originally initiated so students wouldn’t have to suffer the summer heat in the classrooms.
6. Many homeowners pass on ventilation and heat-control features.
Because of air conditioning, homes and other buildings no longer require features such as high ceilings, sleeping porches, breezeways and transoms to survive through summer. Unfortunately, skipping some of these elements can actually prove to be quite unpractical, especially during an AC breakdown.
7. The AC led to greater innovations in technology and medicine.
Not only did it enable continual procedures during summer for many factories, it also led to numerous technological and medical developments. These included the invention of computers and chipsets, food production, delivery and storage, chemical manufacturing, and treatments for diseases such as malaria.
8. It guided the South to a population and economic boom in 1960.
The innovation led to an increase in population among desert states such as Arizona, Las Vegas, Florida, and Texas. And, in 1960, the South – which comprised of the said states – accounted for 60 per cent of the economic growth in the United States as air cooling technology made year-round factory work and apartment-living possible.
9. AC decreases heat-tolerance level.
Research shows that as an individual spends more time in an air-conditioned room, his natural tolerance for heat lowers. So it’s really no mystery why the feeling of heat somehow doubles whenever we come out of the mall or any air-conditioned place.
10. Air conditioners are energy hogs.
Surely, you’re well aware of this as it is reflected in your monthly utility bills. Your home’s AC consumes a large amount of energy – so much that the amount the U.S. consumes annually to run them is almost as much as that consumed by the entire African continent.