The Icemasters Blog

Now That’s Cool! A Brief History on Modern Air Conditioning

By Posted in - HVAC & Service on August 28, 2018 August 28, 2018

Modern air conditioning seems so easy. We’re treated to cool, fresh air at the touch of a button or the flick of a switch.

It wasn’t always so easy!

While it may seem a little dry, the history of our AC units is actually fascinating.

So here’s your brief guide to the development of the equipment we know and love (particularly when the mercury rises in Calgary!).

How and When Did it all Start?

In the very early days, AC was not as complex as it is now, but it would be unfair to say it was unsophisticated.

Dr. John Gorrie is the man normally credited with kickstarting the movement, thanks to his early invention of a compressor unit to create ice. The idea was, that by cooling cities, it could help keep them disease-free.

Our medical knowledge has advanced since his work in the 1840s. But his machine – though unsuccessful from a business perspective at the time – definitely spurred on further inventions.

Willis Carrier and the First Modern AC

A 25-year-old engineer from New York can claim credit for the invention of the modern AC unit.

Willis Carrier designed a unit in 1902 which sent air through water-cooled coils, but this was designed initially to control humidity. He worked for a printing plant, where this was a very important consideration.

By 1922, he had created a compressor-driven unit which was released for public use a few years later. The Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America was a huge success.

First installed in public galleries and movie theaters, by the 1930s it was in wide use in offices, but was just starting to creep into the homes of the very well-off. Now, it is a must in many office and commercial spaces which have either central AC or RTU units or window units.

Why This Invention is so Important

We don’t need to tell you that AC is considered an absolute ‘must’ in many for personal comfort in a working or commercial environment. But there are other reasons why this technology was so important.

At the 1904 St Louis Fair, the whole Missouri State Building was refrigerated using mechanical air cooling.

This was a big step – and it was also crucial in the development of the refrigerated food delivery network. The St Louis Fair is popularly accredited with the development of many of the foods we enjoy today – including hamburgers and hot dogs.

The cold air was vital to keeping these cool and safe to eat. Modern air conditioning really did change everything!

Modern Air Conditioning in your Office

It’s great to be clued up on what came before, but if you ever have problems with the modern air conditioner in your office or commercial unit, we know there’s only one thing on your mind: getting it fixed and keeping cool.

So if you need help, just reach out to the Icemasters. We can help solve hundreds of common problems, from minor adjustments to full AC system replacement work.

Contact us today!