Air Conditioning - History of Air Conditioning

Air Conditioning

Air conditioning was invented by Willis Carrier, an engineer from New York, United States, in 1902. The Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company in Brooklyn, NY, had problems with wrinkled paper and misaligned printing on very hot and humid days. Willis Carrier created an air cooling system to keep their presses working properly. In September, 1904, Carrier applied for a patent for his invention. The system controlled the temperature in the printing area by blowing air over coils filled with cold water. Modern air conditioners use different fluids, but they use the same method of cooling the air as Willis Carrier's original design.

  • Willis Carrier's original design was large, and only practical for a factory-scale facility. In 1922, he found a way to create a much smaller unit. This system was called the centrifugal chiller, which used a central compressor. The centrifugal chiller was introduced to the public at a movie theater in New York on Memorial Day weekend, 1925. As a result, air conditioned theaters became popular places to escape summer heat. The first air conditioner for home use was introduced by Carrier in 1926.

  • In 1931, H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman created what has become the most common type of air conditioning unit. Their air conditioner was designed to sit on a window ledge, which meant it could be used to chill individual rooms. Their windowsill air conditioner became a common sight in apartment buildings.

  • Air conditioning has been very important to space flight. The temperature in space can be very hot when the sun isn't blocked by the Earth. Space suits need excellent cooling systems, to protect astronauts from the extreme temperatures.

  • Air conditioning has done more than keep us comfortable. The large server computers that power the internet generate a huge amount of heat. Air conditioning keeps these computers cool, and functioning.

The first patient that was treated with a surface antiseptic was a seven-year-old boy whose leg had been hurt by a horse carriage. Dr. Lister soaked the boy's bandages in phenol, and kept the wound covered. He was very pleased to see that his antiseptic kept the boy's injuries free of infection, and allowed them to heal.

  • Dr. Lister read Louis Pasteur's work proving "germ theory", and the causes of infections, in 1865. This inspired Dr. Lister to find a way to keep wounds germ free.

  • Carbolic acid was used to reduce the smell of sewage, but the reason it worked was not known. Dr. Lister thought that the carbolic acid was killing the germs that produced the smell, which gave him the idea to try it as an antiseptic

  • The germ theory was not widely accepted until the late 1890s. By 1900, it was finally routine practice for doctors to wash their hands, sterilize their tools, clean wounds, and keep operating rooms clean.

  • Dr. Lister became the personal surgeon of Queen Victoria. He was knighted as Sir Joseph Lister in 1883, and became a Lord in 1897.

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