History of Air Conditioning

Air conditioning is an invention that we take for granted, sometimes it’s not even noticeable that a building has it because the temperature is regulated, which is a testament to the quality of mechanisms available. Here at Air Options, we’re experts in all things air conditioning and our dedicated team of professionals are highly skilled in installation, maintenance and repairs, to ensure that you’re kept comfortable all year round. However, it wasn’t always this easy. In this post, we’re going to take a look backwards at the history of air conditioning and some of the early methods that were used to regulate temperature.

Willis Carrier is credited as the inventor of the first air conditioning unit. He worked in a publishing house and found that in the summer months, the ink would not dry easily and lead to smudging and the wrinkling of pages. He knew that he needed to remove moisture from the air, so he used coils to do this and to cool the air as well. The first units made were very large and employers were put off by the noise they made and the chemicals that were used, so early air conditioning wasn’t immediately successful.

In the late 1930s, air conditioning units were modified and improved, but they were still very expensive so were often only accessed by the wealthy in hotels and cars. Cinemas were one of the first places that used air conditioning that could be experienced by the general public and in the summer months, people often flocked to the cinema to get some relief, which is how the summer blockbuster came to fruition.

In the early 1950s, air conditioning remained a facility that was limited to specific institutions and residential air con was not popular, but one of the turning points for the invention arose when the benefits of having air-con in offices and workplaces was circulated. Employers looked at the evidence before them which purported that a worker’s productivity was at an increased rate with air con as opposed to without it. It started to make business sense to have air conditioning facilities, because if workers were uncomfortable then it would have an impact on profit. Air conditioning became an essential part of office life by the 1960s.

America has always been at the forefront of air conditioning implementation and by the 1980s, it was responsible for more air conditioning than all of the other countries in the world put together. It was a staple part of life. From the 1980s onwards, air conditioning became even more integral to office/work life because of the rise in new technologies, such as the computer. A lot of equipment needs to be kept cool, so as well as keeping employees at a comfortable temperature; the same can be said for equipment used. Residential air con use has risen too, with 86% of Americans having a system in their homes. Europe has been historically slower on the uptake of air conditioning, but most offices in the UK will have a system installed, whereas residential air conditioning is not as popular due to the lower temperatures.

There’s no doubt about it, air conditioning has been one of the most important inventions of the 20th century and it has transformed how people work and live, often without knowing it. Here at Air Options, we know how important it is too keep cool and comfortable, so if you’re interested in installing air conditioning in your workplace or home, we can help.