These days, many people take air conditioning for granted. It’s an everyday thing to walk over to the thermostat and tap its screen to turn on the air conditioner. You may even have an app for that. However, air conditioning is a relatively new invention, and it’s only been a common feature in homes for about 50 years. Read on to learn about who invented air conditioning and some new innovations in today’s air conditioning systems.
Willis Carrier invented the first modern electrical air conditioning unit. After Carrier earned an engineering degree from Cornell University in 1901, he started working for the Buffalo Forge Company. On his way to work one day, he noticed fog rolling across the train tracks. As he stood on the platform, he realized that if he passed air through water to create fog, he could control the humidity level of the air. In the next year, he perfected a machine to do just that. This machine was the building block of the modern air conditioning system. He applied for a patent for his invention in 1902.
Why Carrier Wanted to Control the Indoor Environment
Since people can’t control the weather, they built structures to avoid it. Although people figured out how to heat those structures, devising a way to cool them was elusive until Carrier came along. He wasn’t thinking of how he could help people stay cool in their homes when he invented air conditioning. He was trying to solve a problem of printers and ink getting stuck and making sloppy prints in the facility of one of Buffalo Forge’s clients. Carrier’s invention reduced the humidity in the client’s building, solving the problem of the sloppily printed pages. As a side effect, reducing the humidity also cooled the air. In 1915, Carrier founded the Carrier Corporation, which still exists today.
Although Carrier invented the first air conditioning system, his invention was for industrial and commercial use only. He died in 1950, well before air conditioning was available in homes. Frederick Jones invented the portable air conditioner. This device was used in military field hospitals. Today, these systems are used in homes without central air conditioning. Window air conditioning units continue to be popular. Similar systems are also used in vehicles. Jones also received patents for refrigerated food trucks and other inventions.
Who Coined the Term Air Conditioning?
The term “air conditioner” was coined by Stuart Cramer in 1906. Carrier modified it to air conditioning, and he used it in the rest of his work and in the founding of his company.
First Use of Air Conditioning in a Home
The first residential air conditioner was installed in a home in 1914. The expansive Meadowmont House, located in Minneapolis, MN, was owned by Charles Gates. He arranged to have ducts built into the home. Vehicle air conditioning was first installed in 1933. Chrysler Motors offered portable cooling units in 1935. Packard Motors began offering it in its cars in 1939.
When Air Conditioning in Homes Became Common
The cost of air conditioning systems became affordable for more people in the 1960s. Around this time, most newly built homes in the southern half of the United States included central air conditioning. Within a few years, most of the newly built homes in the northern half of the United States also included central air conditioning systems.
Modern Innovations in Today’s Air Conditioning Systems
The earliest air conditioners were big and noisy. They used Freon, a chemical refrigerant developed by Thomas Midgley, who also invented leaded gasoline. By the 1960s, scientists realized that Freon was causing damage to the Earth’s ozone layer. Other inventors started to work on developing refrigerants that did not cause these problems in the Earth’s atmosphere. Today’s air conditioning systems use a refrigerant called R-410A. It’s been the standard in the United States since 2015. Today’s air conditioners also feature variable-speed blowers and smart thermostats. Zoned air conditioning systems are also growing in popularity.
Texas Pride AC & Heating is the trusted installation team for air conditioning systems. We also install heating systems. Our heating and cooling maintenance and AC repairs ensure year-round comfort in your home. Houston business owners can also turn to us for reliable commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning services. To learn more about who invented air conditioning, get in touch with us at Texas Pride AC & Heating today.