The Real History of Air Conditioners

Americans frequently use air conditioners to combat dangerous heat levels and maintain a healthy balance of moisture in their homes during the summer months. While air conditioning is today regarded as a common convenience, the development of this cooling device has a long and storied history. Read on to discover more about he real history of air conditioners.

The Real History of Air Conditioners

Before Modern Air Conditioning

Prior to the invention of the air conditioner, people dealt with hot and muggy weather in many original and creative ways that go far beyond what one might consider. Attempts to regulate cooler air in hot climates have existed for a very long time, but only recently become fairly standard in American homes.

Ancient Romans are noted for using the famous aqueduct systems of their city to circulate cold water throughout the walls of their homes. The emperor Elagabalus built a mountain of snow into his garden to keep himself cooled off during the hot summer months.

The 1800s

As the Roman empire declined, these type of extravagances were non-existent and the concept of air conditioning wasn’t revisited again until around the 1800s by engineers in the United States. In the time periods between the fall of the Roman empire and the advancement of America, people used common cooling devices, such as fans, palms and eventually electric and rotary fans. Homes were built in order to face away from the heat of the sun and reduce the enormous amount of heat that would build up within houses and buildings during these time periods.

The invention of electricity truly spearheaded the advancement of air conditioning. It allowed for rotating and oscillating fans, and spurred the imagination of engineers across America.


Willis Carrier is credited with inventing the very first air-conditioning system in 1902.
His unit utilized water-cooled coils to send cold air throughout spaces, for the purpose of controlling humidity at a printing plant where he was employed.

Carrier continued to tinker and toil with modifications to this unit, and finally invented an air conditioner that greatly reduced the size of the air conditioning unit in 1922. Businesses were the primary purchasers of these units, and patrons would frequently visit those places on humid and hot days in order to seek reprieve from oppressive heat.

Today’s Air Conditioning:

During the 1930s, air conditioning was quite standard to stores and offices. Home air conditioning units didn’t really begin to be utilized until the 1990s, and by 2010, it was approximated that 85% of homes in the United States had some type of air conditioning unit in their houses. The real history of air conditioners, as we know them today, is really limited to the last 150 years.

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