An Overview of Air Conditioning History
When the mercury climbs during the summer months, people automatically adjust the temperatures of their homes to allow their cooling systems to kick in—but the ability to air-condition houses is a fairly recent invention. It has only been in the last 100 years that cooling air has served to keep people comfortable in homes and offices.
The beginning of the 20th century marks the time when inventors began experimenting with different machines designed to cool the air and reduce humidity. In 1902, a 300-ton “comfort cooling system” was installed at the New York Stock Exchange to make this interior space more comfortable. In the same year, a mechanical engineer named Willis Carrier designed a system for lowering the air humidity. His understanding of heating through the use of steam allowed him to reverse the process, bringing humidity levels down to around 55 percent by sending air through cold coils. This precursor to the modern air conditioner was expensive and even dangerous to operate.
Technological advances have made it possible to air-condition indoor spaces effectively and efficiently, and today, suffering in the heat is no longer an issue for many people.