A Short History of Air Conditioners

Air Conditioning is great, and is certainly a blessing in the sweltering heat of summer. Without them, our lives could be quite unpleasant, as you can imagine. We use them in our homes, offices, cars; air conditioners have made our lives a whole lot easier. But do we know how they came to be? We ought to know, seeing as they have such an important place in our lives. So here is the condensed, basic version.

Prehistoric Times:

Believe it or not, the concept of air conditioning goes back all the way to prehistoric times. Since prehistoric times, snow and ice were used for cooling. The business of harvesting ice during winter and storing for use in summer, became popular towards the late 17th century. This practice was replaced by mechanical ice-making machines.

Ancient Times:

The first working model of something akin to modern day air conditioning goes back to Ancient Egypt, where they hung reeds in windows which were moistened by trickling water. When the air flowed through the moist reeds, it was cooled. It was also very useful as it made the air more humid, and it was found to be very beneficial in the warm desert climate. In Ancient Rome, water from aqueducts was circulated through the walls of houses to cool them. Other techniques in medieval Persia involved the use of cisterns and wind towers to cool buildings during the hot season. In China, rotary fans were used which were first powered by manual labor of the prisoners, and later, water was used to power them.

Modern Advancement:

Modern Air Conditioning is the result of many advances in the field of chemistry during the nineteenth century. The first large-scale electrical air conditioner was invented and used in the year 1902. The idea was implemented for residential use in the 1920s. These air conditioners used the concept of cooling air rapidly using evaporation, a similar concept used by the Ancient Egyptians with their watered reeds in windows. During the time between the late 1800s to early 1900s, ice making machines were in development. Some items that were used to make them (such as compressors) were key contributors to developing the technology used in present day air conditioners.

Electromechanical Air Conditioning:

As mentioned before, the first large-scale electrical air conditioning was invented and used in the year 1902. It employed the use of cold coils, filled with cold water, which cooled the air. Combining this technology with the compressor, the foundation for current day air conditioners was laid. Over the years, much advancement has been done in the field. Making the air conditioners smaller, smarter and more efficient in their functions. At first, their main use was for industrial purposes, but soon after the first model was made, residential models were also developed and implemented.

What a wonderful invention is the air conditioner.