The sizzling-hot summers in San Antonio, TX, will have you reaching for your home’s thermostat to crank up the AC. You might be surprised to learn that air conditioning has only been the norm in houses for about 60 years. Earlier, people had to use fans, swamp coolers or simply leave their doors and windows open for air circulation. Read on to learn about who invented air conditioning, some of the earliest types of air conditioning systems and what types of air conditioning inventions may be in store for the future.
Willis Carrier is widely regarded as the father of air conditioning. In 1901, he worked for an engineering firm. One of the clients was a printing company. It had a chronic problem with too much humidity. The moisture caused paper to get stuck. Carrier was tasked with solving the company’s problem. He invented a machine that was powered by electricity. This machine lowered the humidity in the client’s manufacturing facility. An unintended side effect of the dehumidification was a reduction in the room’s temperature. Carrier patented his machine in 1902. In 1915, he and his co-workers split from their employer and founded the Carrier Corporation. Carrier Corporation produces residential and commercial central, ductless and mini-split air conditioning systems to this day.
H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman
In 1932, H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman received a patent for a window air conditioner for residential use. Their invention could be mounted onto the ledge of a window. The bulk of the air conditioner extended outdoors. This allowed the condensate to drip down the side of the building. This unit could not only cool and dehumidify a room or small apartment, but it could also heat, humidify and filter the incoming air. However, these window air conditioners were expensive, and H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman did not sell many of them.
In 1940, Frederick Jones received a patent for a portable air conditioner. He founded Thermo-King, and his invention was mostly used in trucks. His invention was important because it allowed fresh food, blood products and fragile medications to be delivered to the front lines of World War II. After the war, several car companies started to use his invention for installing air conditioning in private and commercial vehicles for passenger use. Train companies also used his invention to cool passenger cars.
In the early 1940s, British inventor Henry Galson developed a smaller, more powerful version of the window air conditioner. He contracted with several manufacturers around the world. The manufacturers competed with each other, which helped lower the price of these window air conditioners. By 1947, about 43,000 of them had been sold to homeowners. Most of these units were used for individual bedrooms in single-family homes and in small apartments in high-rise buildings.
When Air Conditioning Became Common in Homes
Air conditioning became more affordable by the late 1960s. Around this time, the installation of a central air conditioning system became standard in newly built homes. This made living in the South more bearable. Today, about 90% of homes in the United States have central air conditioning systems, and most of them are similar to Carrier’s first residential air conditioning system from 90 years ago.
Future Developments for Air Conditioning
Today’s air conditioners use 50% less energy than those manufactured 30 years ago. Manufacturers have also switched from Freon, which caused damage to the Earth’s ozone layer, to R-410A. The R-410A refrigerant does not cause this type of damage. It’s likely that there will be more inventors when it comes to the future of air conditioning systems. One promising area of research is non-vapor compression technology. This type of technology doesn’t require the use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) chemicals that are known to contribute to climate change, ozone depletion and global warming. With non-vapor compression technology, homeowners could see their energy use drop by as much as 50% during the summer months of the year.
MD Air Conditioning & Heating is the trusted team for air conditioning installations in San Antonio. We also install heating systems and provide heating and air conditioning maintenance and repairs. Our indoor air quality services and maintenance agreements help you save money and breathe easier. If you’re a business owner in the San Antonio area, we’re ready to provide you with reliable commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning services. For more details about who invented air conditioning, call us at MD Air Conditioning & Heating today.Tags: AC, Invented