In today’s world, we are so used to having air conditioning that we often take it for granted. We don’t remember a time without it. But, air conditioning has a long history of getting to the level of comfort we enjoy today. If you’re interested in the history of air conditioning, here are interesting air conditioning fun facts.
This article shares some fun facts about cooling that many do not know about.
Before air conditioning, people used ice to stay cool. In Egypt, people filled trays with water and left them out to freeze overnight. By the morning, there was solid ice ready to be used.
Wealthy Greeks and Romans also imported ice. It was sold at snow and ice shops to the rich. The ice was then used to cool their homes or to enjoy cool showers on warm days.
During the winters in ancient Iran, ice was collected from nearby mountains and reserved in underground containers. A system of windcatchers was built with these containers. When there was a breeze it brought chilly air into the indoor spaces.
Egypt is not known for its cold climate. Ancient Egyptians used to soak reeds in water and hang them to cover the windows to keep cool. The movement of wind blowing evaporated the water on the reeds and cooled the rooms. This was an early type of evaporative cooling.
The Roman aqueducts were a complex and extensive network to bring fresh water into cities. They were an engineering feat, especially during their time. Some parts of the structure still remain in Spain, Greece, France, Turkey, and North Africa to this day. Besides using the water for bathing, irrigation, and drinking, the water from the aqueducts cooled off indoor spaces by flowing through the walls of buildings and houses.
In 1902, Willis Haviland Carrier invented the first air conditioner that ran on electricity. It was designed originally as a cooling solution for a printing company. Hot weather and high humidity levels caused their paper to warp which made it hard to apply ink. Carrier invented an air conditioning system that could cleanse the air and also provided control over temperature, humidity, ventilation, and air circulation. The New York Stock Exchange Building became one of the first buildings to experience air conditioning in 1903.
In the early 1900s, it was common to not go to movie theatres in the heat of the summer. Movie theaters would experience a decline in ticket sales because people did not want to go to the movies when it was so hot. Theater owners decided to start installing air conditioning units so people watch movies and stay comfortable inside their buildings. People loved this because they could see a movie and stay cool, especially because most of them did not have air conditioning at home. Film production companies started to show their biggest films during the summer to attract people to watch and maximize their profits.
Places of business, offices, and schools often had to close during summer because of the heat. With air conditioning being commonplace now, most don’t take a summer vacation. There are places in Europe without air conditioning where people take a break during summer.
While the first AC was invented in 1902, it took about 12 years before it was used in residential settings. These air conditioners were massive and bulky (measuring 20′ x 6′ x 7′) and they also cost a lot of money. At the time, they cost anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 and only the wealthy could afford them. Today that price would be equivalent to around $120,000 to $600,000 per unit.
Some scientists say that air conditioning has lowered our tolerance for hot temperatures. A lot of people can’t deal with heat because we have gotten used to being in cool environments.
If air conditioning was never invented, states with high temperatures like Florida, Arizona, Texas, and Nevada would likely have fewer residents.
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