In summer, especially in the United States, we cannot think of a single day without our air conditioner. But surprisingly, the air conditioner was first invented to protect food from bacteria?
In this article, I’ll talk briefly about the history of air conditioning, who invented the first AC, and the timeline of HVAC inventions.
The History of Air Conditioning & History of HVAC Timeline
Who Invented Air Conditioning?
To know who invented the air conditioner, we will have to go back to second-century China. There was an engineer called Ding Huan who was an excellent inventor and craftsman. He built a box with rotary fans for air conditioning purposes. But it needed to be cranked manually to produce the cooling from it and was completely different from the modern air conditioning. But during that time, it was sufficient to produce air for an entire hall.
Modern Air Conditioner History
Now coming back to the united states, in 1758, American scientist and inventor Benjamin Franklin was experimenting with alcohol evaporation to the freezing point. Based on his experiment and result, it took about seventy years to build the first-ever compressor air-conditioned system.
When was Air Conditioning First Used in Homes and When was Air Invented?
John Gorrie is called the father of air conditioning systems. He was a doctor from Florida and he designed a machine that could produce chill air from the ice-making machine. After this invention, he was given a patent for his machine but sadly he couldn’t see his invention in full functionality.
Based on this invention, the first-ever residential air conditioning units were made and people started using it at their homes and office.
Commercial HVAC History and Timeline
Willis Carrier, an engineer from New York is called the father of modern air conditioning systems. He worked in a paper mill and there Willis Carrier was given to control the temperature and humidity of the paper mill. Soon, he designed cooling systems that could lower the temperature and humidity of the paper mill and received the patent four years later.
But till then, his designed cooling system was not known as air conditioning systems, or the term air conditioning wasn’t used yet. It was Stuart Cramer, an engineer in a textile mill named his cooling system as an air conditioner.
Office Air Conditioners & HVAC Inventions
The first-ever office air conditioner was used in the NY stock exchange in 1903 and it was designed by Alfred Wolff. His designed air conditioner was as powerful as 150 tons of ice. After his new office air conditioners, he made a promising career in commercial HVAC systems and air conditioners. However, apart from the commercial air conditioning system, he also worked in the residential air conditioning system.
History of Air Conditioning Timeline (Residential) & When was HVAC Invented for Residential Use
The first-ever residential air conditioning system was used in a Minneapolis mansion. In 1910, it was installed in Charles Gate’s mansion. In that time, air conditioners were very expensive and cost around $5,000 to $35,000. Because of this price, only wealthy and super-rich people could have air conditioning in their homes. But as the technology evolved, the price of air condition units started to decrease and the use of air conditioners got increased.
Back then, the capacity of an air conditioner was measured by the amount of ice used in a machine. But time has changed and now we use BTU to measure the capacity of heating and cooling units. All these new technology and cooling unit were developed by American engineers and engineers like Willis Carrier, Benjamin Franklin has a great contribution in developing this amazing cooling unit.
When was Central Air Conditioning Invented?
Central air conditioning we see today and the technology we use is completely different from the past. According to many experts, it’s is believed that the first-ever central heating and cooling was used in the Massachusetts Medical College in the early 1800s. It had a gravity hot air system and it was connected with a furnace to supply hot air to the rooms.
Air Conditioner Units and The White House
Herbert Hoover was the first-ever US president who started using an air conditioner in the Oval office to cool air. It was summer in 1929 and Herbert Hoover was feeling the hot temperature in the oval office. It was not only because of the high humidity and hot temperature but also the famous market crash. He ordered $30,000 cooling units for the oval office for his comfort.
AC Units for Homes and Personal Comfort
The first modern residential single room air conditioner was designed by H.H Schultz and J.Q Sherman. H.H Schultz and J.Q Sherman designed the window units in 1931. Initially, it was highly expensive but later the price of the unit started to decrease.
Modern Day HVAC Systems and Heat-Cool Control
In the past, AC was only two to three feet wide and four feet high in size. But as the technology evolved, the size of the AC unit has changed a lot. Now we see industrial-scale cooling units everywhere. Again, as I mentioned earlier that back in the early stage, AC was only available in rich people’s homes. But time has changed and it can be found in almost all homes these days.
Apart from this, people back then used AC on a hot summer day. But now, there are some HVAC that can be used for both heat and cool air production.
Components of Modern AC
Modern AC is a complex machine consist of various parts and chemicals such as compressor, refrigeration chemical, R 12, etc. Refrigeration chemicals work as a carrier and absorb the heat from the indoor space. Then this refrigeration chemical releases the heat to the outside unit. That’s why refrigeration chemical or refrigerant is a vital part of the AC.
AC and Use for Commercial and Personal Room
AC is now available everywhere and its main purpose is to cool. Generally, AC is installed in a room of a house or office space and generates cooling from there. It absorbs the water from the room air and lowers the humidity level. Thus, by removing water or moisture from the air, it keeps our home and office space cool.
As I mentioned above, the first AC was used to keep our food safe from bacteria. But now, it’s used in restaurants, office space, industrial areas, etc. You’ll see the use of AC everywhere. This has only become possible because of its price drop and advancement in technology.
Impact of AC in the Climate Change
AC is used for humidity control and lowering the temperature. But it has impacted the climate heavily. It produces some toxins that are responsible for ozone depletion. To reduce ozone depletion, recently the US banned R 22 refrigerant. Apart from this, several studies have shown that it’s responsible for greenhouse production as well.
See the timeline of AC in an infographic here – Timeline of HVAC Invention [Infographic]
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