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A Brief History of Air Conditioning

Air conditioning hasn’t been around forever. We should thank our lucky stars every day that it has become so readily available. Can you imagine living here in the Southwest without it? It would be unbearable. It is incredible that anyone survived before the invention of air conditioning. So where did air conditioning come from? How long has it been around? How much has it changed in recent decades?

The Discovery of Air Conditioning

It had been known for hundreds, if not thousands of years, that evaporating water had the ability to cool people off. The Greeks and Romans were well known for using evaporative water techniques as a way to stay cool on a hot day. In 1758, Benjamin Franklin made the discovery that evaporating chemicals, such as alcohol, had even more impressive cooling properties than water. This was a benchmark moment, which changed evaporative cooling forever.

The First Air Conditioner

The first home air conditioner was installed in a Minneapolis mansion in 1914. It took up approximately 120 square feet, and stood 7 feet high. It was so loud and shook the wall of the mansion with such terrifying strength that the inhabitants of the home abandoned it. That particular unit was never used again.  By 1931, major improvement to home air conditioning units had been made. The first individual room units debuted on the market, and have been popular with apartment owners ever since.

The Air Conditioning Boom

In the vibrant post-World War II economy of the 1950’s, the air conditioning market exploded. Over 1 million home units were solid during the 1953 alone. New manufacturing techniques made it possible to mass produce air conditioning units at what was suddenly a very affordable price. It became a near standard to have an air conditioning unit in the home of an American family. The rest is history!

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