Even going as far back as prehistoric times, we have always attempted to find ways to control the temperature of our dwellings. This began with using snow, ice, or in the ancient Egyptian’s case water trickling down reeds hung in windows. Yes, we humans really need only a few basic things to survive and thrive, and it seems inhabiting a comfortable temperature is one of them.
The ancient Romans used their complex system of aqueducts, the Persians constructed wind tunnels, but it was the ingenious Han Dynasty that set the stepping stones for the mechanics of what we know to be air conditioning. Inventor Ding Huan is credited with creating a seven wheel rotary fan to create a cool climate – granted his was powered by prisoners, so it needed a little tweaking for our modern homes.
It wasn’t until after the industrial revolution that attention was given to improving air quality and temperature with more progressive ideas. Advanced chemistry understanding explored the methods to rapidly cool objects started in science laboratories, with polymath Benjamin Franklin tinkering with ideas of evaporation as a means of cooling in as early as 1758. Then in the 1830s John Corrie constructed an ice-making machine, with the eventual intention of cooling whole buildings. Unfortunately he did not have the financial aid to help him achieve his dreams, and so they melted away like ice-cream on a sidewalk.
Skip forward to 1902, where Wilis Carrier creates the Apparatus for Treating Air; a machine that blows air over cold coils, controlling temperature and humidity – with this idea he found the Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America. Then finally in the 1930s air conditioning becomes available for us in our homes, thanks to H. H. Schltz and J.Q Sherman with their famous window ledge design. These are mostly enjoyed by the wealthy, and it would take another 20 years for air conditioning to be common place.
Fast forward another 20 years and central air is introduced. This design is consisted of a condenser, coils and a fan; the air getting drawn in and passed over the coils to be blasted through an entire home ventilation system. Freon 12 is the refrigerant used, which is later banned in numerous countries due to its awful effect on the ozone layer.
And so leads us to a modern age of air conditioning; with manufacturers being requested to use less harmful chemicals in order to make the world more environmentally friendly. One things for sure, whatever the process, we will keep improving and experimenting with the environment, comfort and design in mind.