How Air Conditioning Changed The World
Throughout time, people have been looking for ways to stay cool when the sun warmed up the Earth. In fact, the ancient Egyptians would hang damp reeds over their windows as a way to cool down the building as well as place pots filled with water in hallways.
Moving forward, the Romans would collect snow in donkey carts, which would then be stored in pits ready to cool them all down in the Summer.
Things started to change when in the Middle East, there were wind towers and water channels underground, which would be used to used to channel cool breezes through homes, this approach would then be used in the mid-19th century when New York theatres would use big fans to blow ice through vents and ducts and towards the audience members.
As you can see, this really was the earliest form of air conditioning, however, it wasn’t until 1902, when the air conditioning that we recognize today came about, rather surprisingly, whilst trying to fix an entirely different problem.
The invention of air conditioning
Believe it or not, the birth of air conditioning came about via a printing company in Brooklyn. Sackett & Wilhelms printing company to be exact. During the printing process, the workers were finding that the paper used would expand and contract as the humidity in the workshop varied. This would then ruin the product and in turn have a detrimental effect on the colour printing process.
In order to fix this problem, an engineer, called Willis Carrier found that you could circulate air over coils that were chilled with compressed ammonia, then the water vapor in the air would be reduced. Not only this, but he also found that this would cool the air too.
This technology that Carrier had created was then sold to other manufacturers, such as flour mills who needed their air to be drier and also dairy and meatpacking companies who needed the air to be cooler. It didn’t take long for it to come to light that this technology could also help to cool the air in other buildings and businesses too. The earliest commission that Carrier received for “air conditioning” came from the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia, during the 1920s, which was then taken up in shops, offices, cinemas and restaurants.
So, what did this mean for the world?
Air conditioning really had a huge impact on so many aspects of life in America, where it was first introduced. Before its invention, cinemas would have to shut during the summer months, simply because the buildings would be too hot for anyone to sit and enjoy the film. Not only this, but buildings that before would never have been viable as premises, either for businesses, stores or anything else, simply because they were hard to ventilate, could actually be an option to consider.
Before long, the idea of air conditioning spread around the world. Other countries that suffered with hot weather were able to embrace the idea and they saw not only their populations increase, but also their ability to stay cool in the hot weather too.
It isn’t just businesses that can benefit from air conditioning, it has now become a staple addition to many homes around the globe, making sure that everyone, no matter where they are and no matter how hot it is outside, can always stay cool and fresh.
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