Advances in Home Air Conditioning Technology


For thousands of years, man has attempted to artificially cool his dwelling. For the better part of two millennia, those of us living in warmer climates have actively sought after ways to cool our homes.

It goes without saying that the air conditioner is one of the most important inventions of recent times. It has facilitated growth and assisted in creating cities in places that would have been otherwise inhabitable.

It’s hard to imagine the unbearably high temperature throughout a large chunk of Australia without the gift of cool air from an air conditioning system.

Of course, air-conditioning didn’s spring upon us in its current form. Cooling technology has evolved over millennia, including the following pivotal events:

Ancient times

Throughout human history, various civilisations have attempted to cool their homes and cities. Although their inventions fall short of what we now have come to know as air conditioning, they were still ingenious for the most part.

From the Ancient Egyptians, through Ancient Chinese emperors all the way down to the aqueducts of Rome, no one can say that we haven’t been trying to cool our environments for quite some time now.

1758 – Franklin and Hadley’s theory

In 1758, Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley shared their investigation into the effects of evaporating volatile liquids, including alcohol, on water’s surface. This process produced frozen water.

1820 – Faraday’s Ammonia Experiment

A few decades after Franklin and Hadley, Michael Faraday successfully improved on their theory by performing a similar experiment. Instead of evaporating alcohol, Faraday used ammonia, which proved to be a very effective volatile liquid.

1851 – Dr John Gorrie’s Ice-making Contraption

On his quest to make life easier for American hospital patients in sweltering Florida, Dr John Gorrie came up with a cooling contraption that created ice using a horse-powered compressor, wind-driven sails, water or even steam.

Gorrie successfully patented his work in 1851.

1902 – Willis Carrier’s Breakthrough

After decades of unsuccessfully trying several rudimentary and impractical modes of air conditioning, Willis Carrier devised a solution that was actually practical.

While working for the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company, he came up with a means of cooling air and keeping paper smooth using cold coils.

1914 – First Privately used air-conditioning System

Willis Carrier installed the first privately used air conditioning machine in a mansion in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The machine was bulky, to say the least, measuring 6 metres wide and more than 2 metres long. The total weight of the machine is unverified.

1915 – Commercial Production of Air Conditioners

In 1915, Willis Carrier and a few engineers from the Buffalo Forge Company set up the Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America.

They created air conditioning units on an industrial scale for a number of manufacturers.

1947 – Henry Galson’s Window Air Conditioning Unit

Fifteen years after H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman’s window air conditioning unit failed commercially due to its high cost, Henry Galson came up with a smaller, inexpensive version of the window air conditioner.

Galson sold approximately 43,000 units by 1947, finally making air conditioners accessible to more homeowners.

1957 – Rotary Compressor

In 1957, the rotary compressor was invented, resulting in the introduction of quieter air conditioning units.

Quieter air conditioners were as effective as their predecessors but were visibly more efficient. Rotary compressors made air conditioners quieter and greatly improved their usability, especially in suburban areas.

1960’s- Central Air Conditioning

By the time the 1960s rolled around, most new homes in western countries were equipped with central air conditioning systems.

This development was mostly because the prices of air conditioners had reduced significantly.