Let’s be honest here—air conditioning is a pretty important part of your life. Without air conditioning, we’d all be covered in sweat from June to August. Gross. But we don’t often think about the units in our homes, offices and cars that make summer bearable.
How much do you REALLY know about the system that keeps you cool all summer long? Believe it or not, your AC may be a little more interesting than you would think.
Did you know that some of the most basic forms of air-conditioning were used by the Ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Chinese? Or that the first modern air conditioner wasn’t designed for comfort? No? Well, prepare to be surprised because we’re bringing you 10 COOL facts about air conditioning that you (most likely) didn’t know:
1. Keeping Garfield on Ice
In the Summer of 1881, a mortally wounded President James A. Garfield was tended by doctors in the White House after being shot. In an effort to cool the stifling sickroom of President Garfield, U.S. Navy engineers prepared an improvised air conditioner. An electric blower forced air through a box with thin cotton screens that were kept wet with ice and ice water. Pumped through a duct into Garfield’s bedroom, the device pushed the temperature down to 80 degrees and lowered the humidity. Even though the device worked, it used a massive amount of ice in the process. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, Garfield succumbed to his wounds months later.
2. Ancient Air-Conditioning
The most basic form of air-conditioning uses evaporative cooling. In Ancient Egypt, water-soaked reeds were hung on window sills. When the wind blowed, it evaporated the water on the reeds and made the air around them cooler. In Ancient Rome, water from aqueducts was circulated through the walls of certain houses to keep them cool.
3. The First Air Conditioner Wasn’t Designed for Comfort
Back in 1902, Willis Carrier was an engineer at a New York publishing company looking for a way to control humidity in the building to help ink dry faster. He called his invention the “Apparatus for Treating Air” and received a patent for it in 1906.
4. A Catchy Name
The term “air-conditioning” was coined in 1906 by a North Carolina textile manufacturer after air-cooling technology improved the quality of fabric being produced in the plant. We will admit, it’s a much catchier term than “An Apparatus for Treating the Air” which was the patent title of one of the first modern air cooling systems. In the end, we guess it doesn’t matter what it’s called, as long as it works!
5. Herbert Hoover put AC in The White House
Summer was a brutal time to run the country before President Herbert Hoover came into power. He spent $30,000 on the system, even though only months before the Stock Market Crash of 1929 happened, starting the Great Depression.
6. The Cadillac of Conditioning
In 1931, air conditioning was nowhere near wide-spread and only the wealthiest of people could afford air-conditioning for individual rooms. Invented by H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman, these units sat on a window ledge and cost between $10,000 and $50,000. That’s the equivalent of $120,000 and $600,000 today!
7. The First Car AC was in the Trunk
In 1939, the American luxury car company Packard invented the first automobile with air conditioning. The cooling system was located in the trunk, rather than in the dash, and you had to manually install or remove the drive belt from the AC compressor to turn the system on or off. The option cost $274 at a time when the average yearly income was $1,368. That, plus the start of World War II, caused the option to be short-lived. Eight years after the end of the war, AC finally returned to the automotive industry. Several manufacturers offered AC as an option, all of them being rear-mounted systems not much different from what Packard used in 1939.
8. AC is Behind the Summer Blockbuster
Do you know the first public place to use air conditioning? Movie theaters! Yep, it’s true: the cool climate inside the theaters was used as a ploy to get moviegoers to stop by. The tactic worked, and ticket sales skyrocketed during the warmer months. It’s the reason why popular films were shown in the summer, and it’s how the term “summer blockbuster” came about.
9. AC Helped Increase Populations in Warmer States
Can you imagine living in Florida, Texas, or other hot climates if you didn’t have an air conditioner? You’re not alone—when home air conditioning became popular, the populations in these warmer states increased noticeably!
10. School’s Out for Summer…Thanks to the Heat!
Before air conditioners, it was way too hot to go to school and learn during the Summer months—and Summer vacation was born! Fortunately, the idea stuck, and kids today get to enjoy the Summertime break.
Who Knew Air Conditioners Were So COOL?
Well, at Pro-Tech HVAC Home, we have always thought air conditioners were interesting. In fact, we began working in the commercial HVAC industry in the 1990’s. This led us to becoming the top-rated residential HVAC company in the Annapolis area.
We hope the above HVAC fun facts broaden your knowledge of the AC systems. If the summer has you feeling like a boiled potato, don’t suffer any longer – call Pro-Tech HVAC Home and get cooled down!
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Pro-Tech HVAC Home offers new installation, replacement, repairs and maintenance of heating and air conditioning systems in the Annapolis area. Our customers rely on us for honest and reliable service for air conditioners, heat pumps, gas furnaces, Mitsubishi systems, and more. We’re happy to answer questions, troubleshoot, and help you choose the best HVAC system for you and your family. We’re always happy to help answer your questions, so please give us a call or send us an email.