The invention of the Air Conditioning System
In 1902, a young engineer named Willis Carrier from New York named Willis Carrier invented the first modern air-conditioning system. The first mechanical unit sent air through water-cooled coils and then In 1922, he followed that up with the invention of the centrifugal chiller, which added a central compressor to reduce the unit’s size. This unit was introduced to the public on Memorial Day weekend in 1925. It was debuted at the Rivoli Theater in Times Square. For years afterward, people piled into air-conditioned movie theaters on hot summer days, giving rise to the summer blockbuster.
Did you know? The first mechanical air conditioning unit sent air through water-cooled coils and was not aimed at human comfort. Instead it was originally designed to control humidity in a printing plant where Willis Carrier worked.
It goes without saying that Carrier’s innovation made for tremendous change in the 20th-century America. In the 1930s, air conditioning spread throughout the US into department stores, rail cars, and offices. This amazing invention sent workers’ summer productivity through the roof. Until then, central courtyards and wide-open windows had offered very little relief.
For those of you too young to remember, it’s only been about 50 years since air conditioning systems started getting installed in homes.
Did you know? According to the Carrier Corporation, in 1965 only 10 percent of U.S. homes had it air conditioning systems.
During this time most families who lived in the southern united states slept on the porch, in rooms with ceiling fans and in homes that were designed with windows placed to allow for cross air ventilation. Some people cooled off by placing their underwear in the icebox. Over the next 40 years the number of homes with air conditioning in the united states rose from 10% to 86%. As air conditioning units were installed in homes across the country, southern cities which were deemed too unbearable in the summer became more attractive places to live and work resulting in tremendous growth in the south, facilitating a long-term shift in our population.
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