The 111th Anniversary of Air Conditioning

Air conditioning is something we have come to expect in any home or building.  Going without air conditioning during the summer, even for a short time, seems unimaginable.  Whenever a heat wave hits, we retreat to our homes and crank up the thermostat.  But, there was a time when air conditioning was not so common, and even a time when it did not exist.

Willis Carrier, inventer of the first air conditioner

Willis Carrier, inventer of the first air conditioner

One-hundred-eleven years ago as of this July (1902), Willis Carrier installed the first scientifically designed air conditioner.  It was used to control the humidity in a Brooklyn printing plant because the humidity was causing problems with the paper and ink.  His invention is recognized today as the first true air conditioner because it accomplished the following four tasks: control temperature, control humidity, control air circulation and ventilation, and cleanse the air.

Carrier invented the air conditioner by using his knowledge of heating objects with steam.   He simply reversed the process by sending air through cold coils filled with water instead of hot ones, which controls both the temperature and moisture of the air.

Although residential air conditioning did not become widely accessible until the 1950s, we still trace the invention back to Carrier.  So, when you crank that thermostat up on the next 90+ degree day, thank our good friend Willis.


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