The History of Air Conditioners (a/c) for cars and houses in the USA

Air conditioners help us to remove the heat and control the humidity of an enclosed space. Air conditioners use the vapor-compression refrigeration technique to provide a comfortable environment indoors where it is installed. They are a part of the family of systems known as HVAC- heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Air conditioners are often abbreviated as AC or A/C.


ACs are capable of cooling small units used within vehicles, SUVs or cars, or small single rooms to extremely large units used for cooling large buildings. When you visit a mall, you will get that feeling instantly. If you live in an extremely hot and dry city, the moment you enter an air-conditioned mall, you will feel comfortable.

Origin of air conditioners: when where they invented?

According to the data presented by the International Energy Agency (IEA), as of 2018, there are more than 1.6 billion air conditioners purchased and installed in various parts of the world. This number is expected to grow to 5.6 billion units by 2050. Keeping the rising popularity of air conditioners in mind, the countries need to produce more electricity.

Sustainable sources of energy to run air conditioners are extremely necessary and the United Nations has appealed to scientists across the globe to come up with such solutions. The scientists are working on the techniques of evaporative cooling, passive cooling, better thermal insulation, selective shading, and windcatchers to come up with better eco-friendly solutions.

 CFC, HCFC, and HFC refrigerants which are used in air conditioners and refrigerators were responsible for causing massive harm to the ozone layer. This resulted in climate change and the earth’s atmospheric circle started getting exposed to the harmful radiation of the Sun’s ultra-violet rays. The new technology of HFO refrigerants is much safer for the environment and more research is going on in this area.

History of air conditioners- Ancient Times

Air conditioners date back to pre-history. Ancient Egyptian civilization is considered to be the first civilization in ancient times to use passive air-conditioning techniques. They used aromatic grass known as khus which acts as a natural coolant to create these passive air-conditioners. Khus grass was woven into screens and hung on windows and doors and water was sprinkled on it. This had a dramatic effect on the inside cooling of the home in spite of very hot air outside. Buildings were also designed to get a cool wind swirling around.

To date, khus screens are used in air-coolers or desert coolers in many parts of the world. Instead of the manual sprinkling of water, now electrical motors are used within the cooler unit. This technology of keeping the homes cool traveled from ancient Egypt to the Iberian Peninsula, North Africa, the middle-east and Northern India. Since these areas were extremely hot, the natives started improvising the techniques over the centuries.

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History of air conditioners- European Renaissance period

Giovanni Battista Della Porta was an Italian scholar, who discovered the process of chilling ice to temperatures much below its freezing point. He was a scholar born during the Renaissance period in Europe and this period was known as the awakening era for science and technology. His innovation was further taken up by the next generation of scientists.

In his book named ”Magia Naturalis” (Which means “Natural Magic”) which was published in 1558, this Renaissance scientist talked about using potassium nitrate to chill the ice further below its freezing point. He was also known as Giambattista della Porta, and he talked about various subjects like astrology, alchemy, occult philosophy, mathematics, natural philosophy, and meteorology in his book.

History of air conditioners- Modern Times: when AC was invented

The modern air-conditioners evolved from refrigerators. At the beginning of the 19th century, people started finding options to preserve cooked food as they used to get spoilt when kept at room temperature.

Since below 4°C, the growth of bacteria is reduced to a great extent, the industry of food refrigeration started evolving. Eventually, the technologies for air conditioning and humidity control evolved from that. In 1824, it was discovered by Michael Faraday that liquefied ammonia could bring down the air temperature when it evaporates. In 1842, an American physician John Gorrie created ice using compressor technology.

In 1758, Benjamin Franklin an American polymath along with the fellow scholar John Hadley who was a professor of chemistry at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom performed an experiment. This experiment is considered significant in the history of the evolution of modern air conditioners.

The goal of the experiment was to explore the principle of evaporation as a means to rapidly solidify an object. Through this experiment, the duo confirmed that the evaporation of highly volatile liquids could be used to bring down the temperature of an object past the freezing point of water. Highly volatile liquids such as alcohol, propane, butane, ether, etc. were used to prove this point during the various phases of the experiment.

Willis Haviland Carrier- The father of modern air-conditioning

Willis Haviland Carrier is known as the father of modern air conditioners and he created the first electrical air conditioner in 1902. Eventually, he became an entrepreneur and founded Carrier Air Conditioning Company in 1915.

His discovery of air-conditioners was by accident. He was inventing the equipment to enhance the manufacturing process of a printing plant. Since huge quantities of ink were used in a printing plant, often humidity played the spoilsport. Carrier’s invention was meant to control the temperature and humidity in the printing plant.

To date Carrier is the biggest manufacturer of air conditioners and cooling systems across the globe. With a revenue of $17.46 billion in 2020, the company had a presence in 160 countries across the globe.


Always buy a star-rated air conditioner to keep your energy bills low. It is good for the environment too. The air conditioners are becoming increasingly popular, and in the near future, there will be more number of them manufactured and installed in households and commercial properties. We need to ensure that energy consumption is controlled.