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The History of the Air Conditioner

Keep Cool With These Facts About AC History

Throughout the ages, mankind has sought to beat the elements one way or another. One of people's most basic needs is shelter from the ravages of nature. In the 20th century, humanity has continued that quest in the form of technology. 

Smart people have discovered ways to manipulate their indoor environment to increase their productivity and their comfort with air conditioning. Today, nearly 90% of US households have air conditioning in some form or another. The global demand for air conditioning is rising at a rapid pace as well. But where did it all start?

Who Invented the Air Conditioner?

ac inventorThe savvy consumer may look around and notice that many of the products society enjoys today are named after their inventors. The air conditioner is no different. One of the most popular brands for air conditioners is “Carrier.” It is named after its inventor, Willis Carrier

Mr. Carrier was born in 1876 and graduated from Cornell with an engineering degree in 1901. He went to work as a research engineer for $10 a week at the Buffalo Forge Company. His job was to design equipment to solve specific problems faced by various burgeoning industries. 

When Did AC Systems Become Popular?

At the turn of the century, Willis Carrier and his team at Buffalo Forge spent their time custom making humidity controls for various industrial customers that needed consistent humidity for production. It wasn’t until 1914 that the potential of air conditioning was realized as a tool for comfort when it was installed in a hospital and several hotels. It was discovered that air conditioners not only cool, but they help dehumidify.  

time period

The development of the air conditioner for comfort was halted in 1914 due to the outbreak of World War I. Willis Carrier and his team decided to develop their company independently and eventually grew it into what it is today. Until after WW2, the air conditioner wasn’t widely used for home use. During the manufacturing boom of the 1950s, air conditioners began to become ubiquitous in homes and automobiles. 

How Did the Air Conditioner Come About?

ac developmentIn the early 1900s, lots of new industries were emerging. One of the problems faced by many different industries was that environmental issues interfered with their production processes and limited their employees' productivity. In 1902, Willis Carrier was commissioned by the Sackett and Williams Publishing Company to help them overcome issues with humidity that was ruining their magazine runs. 

While standing on a foggy railway platform, Carrier realized he could control humidity in the air by passing it through saturated air. Later that year, his plans were patented and the system was installed. From there the technology grew within the industrial setting until it was realized that it could also be used for personal comfort. 

Carrier continued to work as an engineer in his company in the following years. Constant improvements were made that increased efficiency and size. Now, over 100 years later, society still enjoys widespread use of his products that are still based on the same principles he pioneered so many years ago. 

About A-Plus Air Conditioning & Home Solutions

A-Plus Air Conditioning & Home Solutions has been serving the Austin, TX area for over 40 years. With a strong commitment to green initiatives and environmental concerns, they’ve helped thousands of Texans reduce their energy and carbon footprint. Whether you need to upgrade your HVAC or would like help learning how to reduce your air conditioner’s environmental impact, they have the knowledge to help.