It is obvius that air conditioning is the best invention for summer.

Although it is not considered a crucial invention for humanity, we cannot but think of currently it is a device fitted in the most of the homes where the summer is hot. Let's briefly look at the invention of air conditioning.

Evidently through the history has always been some system, better or worse, to reduce the heat.


Let´s go to ancient Egypt and pharaohs. Apparently the system used was the slaves, who during the night carried the stones from the walls to the desert, where the temperatures dropped considerably and in this way they cooled down. Then in the morning, before dawn, they were placed again to keep the palace rooms cool.

Nowadays it sounds like a fantasy story since currently with just pressing a button we have cool air.


Back in 1842 Lord Kelvin created a hermetic refrigeration circuit based on the absorption of heat through refrigerant gas, which was the principle of air conditioning. It was based on 3 principles:

  • Heat is transmitted from the highest temperature item to the lowest. For example, when you dip a spoon into hot coffee to stir it, the metal of the spoon absorbs the heat of the coffee.
  • The transition from liquid to gaseous state absorbs heat. If we wet our hand with alcohol, it feels cold as the alcohol evaporates by absorbing the heat of our hand.
  • Pressure and temperature are directly related. In a closed pot, less heat is needed to reach the same temperature as if it were open.

As its name suggests, an air conditioner is used to turn into the air. In a closed environment, regulate the temperature, whether cooling or heating, the degree of humidity, the renewal (or circulation of air) and its filtering or purification.


In the hot summer of 1902, the Sackett & Wilhelms Lithographing & Publishing Company asked the Buffalo Forge company for a system to improve air quality, since the heat and humidity spoiled the quality of their work, especially in regarding color.

There, the young engineer Willis Carrier was, with his intelligence and observation skills, one cold night waiting for the train, came to the conclusion that he could condense humidity if he could dry the air by filtering it through a fine mist of wate

From there came up the first spray-type air conditioning device, capable of controlling the ambient humidity inside a premises. The purpose was to absorb the humid, warm air and return a cool, dry breeze to the environment.

Initially it would not be known as air conditioning, it was first used by the engineer Stuart Warren Cramer in 1906, the same year that Willis Carrier patented his invention.

Drawing made in 1902 showing the probable air conditioning system installed in the Sackett & Wilhelms printing press. Photo: Carrier

It wasn't like the units we have today, but rather a huge machine with ducts, heaters, perforated steam pipes for humidification, industrial fans, and temperature controls. However, despite its large size, it fulfilled perfectly the purpose it had been designed.

Carrier continued improving his invention and in 1907 registered a new patent finally granted in 1914.


It was that year, 1907, when the Buffalo Forge company made its first international sale to a Japanese silk factory, which would be the first in the world to have a building with air conditioning or "air treatment machine."

IIt would follow the installation in the Japanese oceanliner Koan Maru.

After the First World War, due to the economic downturn the Buffalo Forge company decided to close the department where Willis worked, so in 1915 he together others engineers founded the Carrier Engineering Corporation.

They continued improving and created a machine suitable for cooling large interior spaces.



From that moment, hospitals, airports, offices and department stores started to install it, becoming as an essential device for hot summer times.

It was in 1925 when Rivoli cinema in New York decided to install it. It was like a magnet with very long qeues for the idea of watching movies sitting in a comfortable, cool and pleasant enviorment.



The revolution was when small businesses and homes could enjoy air conditioning. Although officially Willis presented it in 1926, it was in 1928 when he installed a machine in a store whose purpose was to control the air in the room where eggs were stored.

After this great step, the Great Depression came, causing the down of the company, reapearing later after the processing of merge with another company. But the outbreak of the Second World War was another important difficulty for the spread of the air conditioning.


The post-war economomic boom caused the expand of the air conditioning all over the world.

Although Willis passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in 1950, his legacy survives.

His invention was considered important enough to be in the Inventors Hall of Fame, He was nominated by Times magazine in 1998 as one of the hundred most influential people of the 20th century.

We hope you find interesting this post: the history of the air conditioning.

Fuente: https://historia.nationalgeographic.com.es
Fuente: https://www.elaireacondicionado.com/articulos/