9 Fun Facts About the History of Air Conditioning

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Where would be today without the comfort of our air conditioners? Today, two in three homes in the U.S. have their own AC services, but of course it wasn’t always that way. Have you ever wondered how modern air conditioning came to be? Here are nine fun and historical facts that tell the story of the “AC” in the modern HVAC company.

  1. The first air conditioner was made for entirely practical purposes. New York publishing magnate Willis Carrier invented a machine in 1902 to help control ink and paper supplies.
  2. The idea caught on rapidly. One of the first buildings to use air conditioning services for human comfort was the New York Stock Exchange Building in 1903.
  3. The term “air conditioning” didn’t come about until 1906, when a textile manufacturer used a similar process to make better quality fabrics thanks to the “conditioning” from the air.
  4. The first window unit air conditioner was invented in 1931. They cost around $416, the equivalent of over $6,800 today.
  5. President Herbert Hoover spent $30,000 for air conditioning installation in the White House — just as the Great Depression was sweeping the nation.
  6. Air conditioning first started appearing as an optional add-on feature in automobiles in 1939. However, the system was enormously expensive and took up half of the trunk space, so it wasn’t very popular right off the bat.
  7. You may have off-handedly referred to your air conditioner as a “life saver,” but it’s true: heat-related deaths in the United States are 80% lower today than they were before 1960.
  8. The term “summer blockbuster” was developed as a marketing strategy for movie theaters to advertise their air conditioning. Even today, nothing beats the heat like catching a flick!
  9. Modern technology has made air conditioning more efficient and economical than ever before. Switching to a high-efficiency AC model and consciously taking other steps to naturally cool your home could reduce AC-related energy use by 20% to 50% in your home.

It’s amazing to see just how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time. Without air conditioning, entire regions of the United States might be uninhabitable because of the heat! No matter where you live, take a moment to thank your air conditioner for a job well done.

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