Since the beginning of time, mankind has been seeking ways to find a way to escape the oppression of the mid-day summer sun and its effects. The ancient Egyptians for example would hang reeds in the windows. Trickling water would gently fall over the reeds while wind blew and humidified and cooled the dry dessert air. The Romans used aqueducts that carried water through the walls of houses and other buildings. These ingenious ways to cool off provided a foundation for later inventors to improve upon. However, it would not be until later centuries that air con as we know know it came about. Here is its story.
In the early 1900s, chemists and inventors alike were looking to find a solution to hot, stifling factory conditions. In 1902, Willis Haviland Carrier developed the very first large scale electric a/c unit. This use of moisture and ventilation did much to alleviate humidity from the air and cool down the space. Next, chemists had to try to figure out what agents were best used in cooling. Noxious gases such as ammonia were effective but toxic. A breakthrough came from Thomas Midgley, Jr.
Searching for chemical agents led Midgley to create Freon in 1928. This non-flammable and non-toxic gas was just what the air con industry needed to propel itself into a new era. With the addition of freon to the air conditioner stage, the next step was unavoidable. Seeing as the need would always be there in summers to cool off, ac was to be an option not limited to just factories. Through experimenting with ducts and vents, the first residential air con system – essentially central air -was put in place. From there, the evolution of air conditioning continued at a rapid pace. It was in 1945 that Robert Sherman of Lynn, MA designed the portable air con unit. This unit could control heat, cool and humidity. Once that was accomplished, streamlining and making units run more efficiently was the goal. This eventually led to what we have today.
The next hot summer day that takes your breath away because of how heavy the air is, think about how wonderful it feels to finally enter an air conditioned home. Surely, you will appreciate all the study, effort and ingenuity that went into creating this humble mechanism. We have come a long way from wet reeds in the window, and how grateful we are!
Thanks to the contribution of Singapore Aircon Servicing Company