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A Brief History of Air Conditioning

Posted on: September 11th, 2019 by AC Direct

Before the air conditioning units that we know of today there were several other developments, including the invention of machines that could artificially manufacture ice, and research into the principles of the absorption type of refrigeration.

In the latest post from Air Conditioning Direct, we take a look at the history of air conditioning and the developments that occurred in order to lead to the cooling systems we use today.

Where did it all Begin?

Back in 1820, an experiment led to the artificial creation of ice. This was the first step on the road to creating cooler environments by artificial means. It was 14 years later when Jacob Perkins invented a machine which would artificially manufacture ice. This development led to the modern compression systems we know of today.

The First Cooling Unit

The first type of cooling unit was created by Willis Carrier in 1902. The unit used electricity to work and was originally made to prevent the build-up of moisture at a printing company, rather than for personal comfort.

Two years later in 1904, a cooling unit was used to cool the Missouri State Building at the St. Louis World’s Fair. This was the first time, the general public was exposed to the concept of artificially cooling a space for comfort, rather than practicality.

The Modern Air Conditioning Unit

Stuart Cramer first coined the term “air conditioning” in 1906, and this phrase was later used by Willis Carrier.

Many years later in 1922, Willis Carrier invented the centrifugal chiller. This invention increased the reliability of the machines and reduced their cost. Consequently, the use of air conditioning units increased greatly across the country.

Further research led to Thomas Midgley, Albert Henne and Robert McNary of General Motors synthesising chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants, the world’s first non-flammable refrigerants. This development improved the safety of air conditioning units.

Although they looked rather different from the units we know of today, it was in 1929 when the first cooling units came onto the market. The original unit was a split system, but this was improved by General Electric’s Frank Faust who developed the design further to a self-contained cooling system.

By 1947, the sale of air conditioning systems was becoming increasingly popular and 43,000 units were sold in the United States. Over the coming years, air conditioning systems became more and more prevalent in commercial and domestic spaces, leading us into the modern day.

Air Conditioning Direct

At Air Conditioning Direct, we have been installing, repairing and replacing air conditioning units across London for many years. If you are considering the introduction of air conditioning to your residential or commercial property, we welcome you to contact us. Please call today on 020 8989 8989 or send your enquiry through our to our contact form and we’ll be in touch with you soon.

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