History of Air Conditioners

A young man by the name of Willis Haviland Carrier a graduate with a Masters in Engineering from Cornell University is today known as the 'Father of Air Condition' Its was 1902 when the 1st (temperature & humidity) conditioning was in operation. Carrier was employed at a printing plant in Brooklyn with the a starting salary of only $10.00 per week. The problem which the plant was faced with was the fluctuation of temperatures causing the dimensions of the printing paper to keep altering slightly, this was enough to ensure the misalignment of the coloured inks. Carrier invented the a new air conditioning machine which created a stable enviroment & aligned four-colour printing came into being.

The product was 1st patented in 1906 under the name of the 'Apparatus for Treating Air' & won Willis Haviland Carrier several awards. However the word 'Air Conditioning' actually originated with a textile engineer, Stuart H. Cramer. A device was invented which added water vapour into the air in textile plant & this was neccesary in the conditioning of the yarn. It was 1906 when the patent claim was filed under the name 'Air Conditioning'by Cramer.

In 1911 Willis Haviland Cramer was still debating in his own mind the problem of temperature & humidity control. When apparatly in a 'Flash of Genius' he understood the relationship between temperature, humidity & dew point. Carrier disclosed his basic Rational Psychrometric Formulae to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Till this day the formula is used as a basis in all fundamental culculations for the air conditioning industry.

A company started by Carrier and 6 other engineers was formed in 1915 & was called the Carrier Engineering Corporation which was dedicated to improving air conditioning technologies. This it most defintely did as many industries flourished with the possibility to control temperature & humidity levels during & after productions. Textiles, tobacco, film, medical capsules, processed meats & many other products acquired significant improvements in quality with air conditioning.

In 1921 Carrier patented the centrifugal refrigeration machine. This was a fancy name for a now improved, safer & more efficient chiller. The 'Centrifugal Chiller' was the 1st practical method found to air condition large spaces. Before this refrigeration machines used piston driven reciprocating compressors to pump refrigerant through out the cooling system. Very often the refrigerant was toxic, containing flammable ammonia. Carrier designed the safer option of a centrifugal compressor similar to the centrifugal turning-blades of a water pump.

Presented in a timeline are the historical facts of the modernization & development of the air conditioning industry, the systems used & all things effecting refrigeration & air conditioning today.

1882] For the 1st time an inexpensive source of energy for residential & commercial buildings is available as the 1st Electic Power Plant opens thanks to Thomas Edison.

1889] Large cities open up central station refrigeration to preserve food & documents.

1902] Willis Carrier built the 1st known air conditioner used in combating humidity. This allowed for inside enviroments in places like textile mills & printing companies to be controlled & managed.

1906] The term 'Apparatus for Treating Air' is patented under Willis Carrier.

1906] The term 'Air Conditioner' is patented under Stuart W Cramer.

1913] Chicago is nominated as the city to hold the 1st international exposition devoted exclusively to refrigeration.

1917] The 1st documented theaters are built to encorporate the the new technology of 'Air conditioning' in them.

1928] Air conditioning is now used in the Chamber of the House of Representatives.

1930] The White House & the Departament of Commerce are air conditioned.

1946] Thirty thousand room air-conditioners are produced just after World War II.

1947] Workers in the textile industry go on strike due to unfavourable conditions because of heat & humidity in the work place. Air conditioners become a barganing tool.

1950] Studies show that families living in air conditioned homes sleep better, enjoy their food & leisure time more then families without temperature control in their homes.

1953] 1 000 000 room air conditioner units are sold with demand still exeeding supply.

1953] 2 association known as the Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturers Association & the Air-Conditioning & Refrigerating Machinery Association. Form the Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Institute.

1955] Advertisments promoting 'TV dinners' are being marketed to the masses.

1957] Refrigeration units are smaller, quieter, weigh less & are more efficient than the reciprocating type due to the introduction of the 1st rotarty compressor.

1969] Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin are able to walk on the moon because of life support & cooling systems in their space suits.

1977] New technology allows heat pumps to operate at lower outdoor temperatures while heating on the reversed refrigeration cycle.

1987] CFC's are for the 1st time been controlled after the United Nation signs a protocol for protecting the earth's ozone layer. Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerant is used in some refrigeration & air conditioning equipment & this is a substance which depletes the stratospheric ozone.

1990] ARI, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy, initiates the Materials Compatibility Lubricants Research (MCLR) program, which helps manufacturers to accelerate away from CFC refrigerants.

1992] The R-22 Alternative Refrigeration Evaluation Program (AREP) begins a four-year program to investigate alternatives to R-502 and HCFC- 22.

1995] The United States puts a ban on the production of Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)

1997] Technicians are being recognised for their work in intallations & servicing of air conditioners & refrigeration equipment. The association is the North American Technician Excellence group (NATE)

1998] A multi-year, $1 000 000 research program for the 21st Centuary for air conditioning & refrigeration equipment begins. With the objective to decrease building energy usage while improving indoor air quality.

1998] 6 200 000 units of unitary air conditioners & heat pumps set a record for shipments in this year.

1998] ARI was awarded a Best of the Best award for continued environmental concern & received 5 annual awards from the U.S. Enviromental Protection Agency for contributions to enviromental protection.