The Wonder of Modern Air Conditioner
More often than not, we tend to take our modern technology for granted and only miss is when it’s gone. This is certainly true of air conditioners, and our air conditioners aren’t in the forefront of our minds until we notice that we need air conditioner repairs. However, we need to remember that modern air conditioners are really a relatively new invention when considering the scope of humanity and technology. Not too long ago, we didn’t have a means to cool ourselves like we do today.
In fact, the first cooling device that became the forerunner of modern air conditioners was little more than a machine that cooled air by blowing air over ice that was created by the physician Dr. John Gorrie. Furthermore, a similar device was created in 1881 that was built upon the same idea. The machine was created and developed by naval engineers, and it worked by blowing air over pieces of cloth that had been soaked in ice water. This machine could lower the room temperature by 20 degrees. However, it was wildly inefficient and used approximately a half million pounds of ice over the course of two months. Then, to round off the 19th century, the technology to control air temperatures by controlling the humidity emerged. Finally, people had some small measure of control to effectively preserve food longer.
Although, it wasn’t until 1902 that things really started moving forward. Willis Carrier, also called the father of modern air conditioners, created a system of controlling the temperature and humidity through a spray-driven system. His machine worked by using coils to cool the surrounding air and to lower the humidity levels. Unfortunately, the first units were very dangerous due to the fact that they used a highly dangerous chemical called ammonia (which is still used today in commercial refrigeration systems) and it was very difficult to make air conditioner repairs. Fortunately, he was able to implement his solution in offices, residential areas, and even hospitals.
For the next 20 years, early air conditioners became more mainstream and widely accepted. However, Willis Carrier made two important discoveries in 1922. Firstly, he found a safer coolant than ammonia called dielene. In addition, he was able to drastically decrease the size of air conditioners, allowing them to be installed in smaller places like train cars and small buildings.
Tragically, the residential acceptance of air conditioners all but ground to a halt as a result of World War II. Instead, manufacturing shifted from domestic purposes to military purposes, and many new types of air conditioners were created to aid the military. For example, the Navy had a need for massive walk in coolers to keep their supplies and rations from spoiling, and there were even coolers designed to emulate the frigid high altitude temperatures that airplanes and pilots would experience.
After World War II, the next big breakthrough was in 1957 when the first rotary compressor was marketed that allowed the units to become even smaller. Because the units became much more feasibly sized, it became much easier to make air conditioner repairs. In fact, this compressor model is the foundation of all modern home air conditioning systems. Instead of only thinking about your cooling unit when you need air container repairs, appreciate your air conditioner by performing regular maintenance. AC’s are very new by historical standards and you should be very thankful we have them!