AIR conditioning is a godsend when temperatures soar, and in some countries it is essential to the function of everyday life.
The origins of air conditioning are much older than you might think, but the concept really took off in the early 1900s to keep factories cool.
Who invented air conditioning?
The idea of artificially cooling the air can actually be traced back to Egyptian times.
Egyptians are the first known people to have used water to cool the air circulating indoors.
Historians discovered they placed wet mats over their doorways to help reduce indoor temperatures.
But it wasn’t until 1902 that the modern version really took off as engineers raced to keep factories cool during sizzling summers.
The modern air conditioner was invented to be used in plants and mills in the early 1900s.
The very first system is credited to Willis Carrier, who developed technology to reduce the humidity at publishing plants in New York.
Scientists soon discovered that air con had other benefits, such as reducing asthma attacks and improving the sleep of those with breathing problems.
Soon developments were made to add air filtration systems on to units which cleaned the air being circulated indoors.
Units were also fitted with special filters to remove bacteria, mould, allergens and air pollution.
In 2018, sales of aircon units in the UK rose to 203,000, according to statista.com.
And in the 21st century aircon has become standard across cars in the UK but it was patented by Ralph Peo in New York in 1935, and was rolled out in cars in the US from 1939.
Who was Willis Carrier?
New York-born engineer and inventor Willis Carrier is widely recognised as the father of the modern air conditioning unit.
In 1902, a 26-year-old Carrier was tasked with treating the air at a printing plant in New York.
While working as an engineer for Buffalo Forge Company he designed the very first air conditioning system.
His invention controlled the temperature within a room using a system of chilled coils to adjust air humidity.
He later founded his company Carrier in 1915.
The company manufactured and distributed heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems.
Carrier later expanded into manufacturing commercial refrigeration and food service equipment.
He died aged 73 on October 7, 1950, in New York City but his company still lives on today employing 53,000 people worldwide.
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