History of Air Conditioning

March 19, 2019

Since the early days of mankind, ice and snow were used for centuries for refrigeration and chilling. We moved from collecting ice and keeping it for use in summer time in the late 17th Century when mechanical ice making commenced.

Early civilizations

The early civilizations created their own methods of cooling depending on their geographic location and available materials. The ancient Egyptians used wet reeds on windows which was perfect for its dry and arid climate. The Romans had aqueducts in their walls while the Persians used cisterns and built wind towers for cooling.

The Chinese during the time of Han Dynasty around the 2nd Century invented the rotary fan which was at that time powered by prisoners. By the 8th Century, around the time of Tang Dynasty, this had evolved to cooling halls with water-powered fan wheels and jets of water from fountains.

Mechanical cooling

Remember Benjamin Franklin?

In 1758, Franklin along with a British chemistry professor named John Hadley of Cambridge University were the first to successfully establish that evaporation of volatile liquids could be used to lower temperatures. In 1820, Michael Faraday, the British inventor best known for his discoveries in electromagnetics, made a breakthrough in advent of compressor technology. He discovered that if ammonia was compressed, liquified and then allowed to evaporate, air surrounding the area of evaporation could be cooled. This paved way for various compression refrigeration systems which were used to cool air and make ice until the early 1900s when electrical air conditioning arrived.  

Electrical air conditioning

Have you seen Carrier brand of air conditioning units in the market or in TV ads?

Well, the first modern electrical air conditioning unit was invented by Willis Carrier in 1902. It was built to actually regulate temperature and humidity in a lithographing process at a factory where Willis Carrier was employed. Carriers invention not only controlled the temperature, but also controlled the humidity by passing air over cold coils which were filled with cold water.

Very soon Carrier’s technology was used in all types of workplaces to improve productivity and its rising demand led to the formation of The Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America. It wasn’t long before residential and automobile use cases for air conditioning became common.

The last of the most significant inventions in the history of air conditioning came in 1945 when Robert Sherman invented the portable, in-window unit which carried out all the functions related to cooling, humidity and filtering.

With multiple functions being carried out by modern aircon units, the AC units in our homes today are highly complex. This gives rise to the need for regular AC servicing arises. Aircon maintenance is an easy task if done with the right service provider and at the right intervals. Available on iOS App Store and Android Play Store, Sendhelper is a platform which allows you to book necessary aircon maintenance services in Singapore at an affordable price and at your own convenience.

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