What is fun about heating and cooling history? You may be surprised to learn how the HVAC systems we take for granted have been shaped over the years. Climate control has been pursued for centuries, influencing everything from architecture to the evolution of the movie theater. Here are some fun facts about heating and cooling history that are both entertaining and informative.
Cool History About Air Conditioning
In the past, architecture was the best way to cool the indoors. Homes and buildings were built with high ceilings to allow heat to rise and keep lower areas cooler. The first attempt to bring cooler air inside was in 1851, when Dr. John Gorrie designed the first compressor-based air cooler. Dr. Gorrie believed cooling could alleviate certain diseases like malaria; conditions he dealt with in the hospitals in Florida. His machine was patented, but it never made it to the marketplace due to lack of funding.
The invention of the modern air conditioner finally was conceived in the early 1900’s by Willis Carrier, but not for creating comfort. Instead, Carrier created his air cooling system to help with smoothing wrinkled pages at the publishing company where he worked. Carrier eventually realized other industries could benefit from cooled air and was one of the founders of the Carrier Engineering Corporation, which would build some of the first building A/C systems.
Movie theaters were one of the first places people experienced indoor air conditioning. The Carrier Engineering Corporation debuted their new cooling system at the Rivoli Theater in New York in May 1922. Soon, movie theaters would be the coolest place to go on a hot summer day.
When the window air conditioner was created, it finally brought climate control to the masses. By 1947, 43,000 home window A/C units were sold. Now, close to a 100 million homes have A/C, representing 87% of homes in the U.S.
Hot Facts About Heating
Central heating is not a new concept. Did you know the Roman’s used central heating technology 2,000 years ago in the form of a hypocaust? These systems used air ducts built under the floors of luxury homes and bath houses to deliver warm air throughout the buildings, but only the rich were able to enjoy this warming invention.
Fireplaces were the mainstay of heating history, with chimneys and flus warming multiple levels of homes and buildings. In the 19th century, water heaters in the form of boilers and radiators became popular in cold climates . By the 1900’s, furnaces warmed many homes, fueled by oil or coal. It wasn’t until electricity was invented and took over the function of lighting that gas was considered seriously for heating. Now, natural gas furnaces are the most popular form of heating in the U.S.
Today, we have both cooling and heating available at our fingertips. We can even manage climate control from smartphones with the right thermostat in place. At Sure-Fire, we have been serving Dodge County for their heating and cooling needs since 1947; watching many of these fun HVAC facts come to life. When you need help staying cool in the summer or warming your home in winter, we are here for all your HVAC needs.