Air conditioning is a luxury that most people take for granted. They only think about their HVAC unit when the summer kicks in. Air conditioning has greatly impacted our lives in a number of interesting ways though. Here are 10 cool facts about air conditioning that you might not know.
1. Air Conditioning is Why we Have Summer Blockbusters
Air conditioning was a major boon for the movie theatre industry. In fact, they were the first public places to widely adopt the use of air conditioning. These systems allowed people to sit comfortably for extended periods of time during the summer, when all the big releases came out. That’s actually where the term “summer blockbuster” comes from.
2. Air Conditioning Gave us Medicine – in a Way
We have air conditioning to thank for certain medications. Some medications can only be studied and developed under cool climate conditions; the kind created by an air conditioning system.
3. Herbert Hoover was the First President with Air Conditioning
The White House has been around a long time but it didn’t get air conditioning until the days of Herbert Hoover. President Hoover had air conditioning installed in the White House. Given the size of the building, it cost around $30,000 to install the system.
4. We Used Ice to Keep Things Cool
People would keep things cool using big blocks of ice before air conditioning was invented. When the technology was first introduced, their output was measured in how much ice it would take to have the same effect – similar to how cars are gauged on “horsepower”.
5. (Thankfully) Air Conditioners Didn’t Kill the Summer Break
The reason kids get the summer off school is because it was too hot for them to study. They were given a break and allowed to stay home. Thankfully even after air conditioning was invented the break stayed and no one was forced to spend summer in school (unless they had terrible grades!)
6. Humans are Now Less Resistant to Heat
Scientific studies into air conditioning have revealed an interesting way it has affected humans; it has made us less tolerant to natural higher heat levels. We’ve become so used to cooling down at the push of a button we have trouble lasting in the heat now.
7. The Chinese Beat us To It
As with most things, China had some form of “air conditioning” before much of the rest of the world. In 180 AD, a Chinese artisan created a 10-foot-wide rotary fan. The fan was connected to seven wheels that propelled it. Someone could turn a crank and rotate the fan to keep an entire hall cool.
8. John Gorrie is the “Father of Air Conditioning”
The west would need to wait until 1842 for air conditioning. It was created by Floridian doctor John Gorrie. He created the first air conditioner to keep his parents cool. He was later given a patent to create something similar for home use, but he died before he could complete his work.
9. The Modern Air Conditioner was Created by Willis Carrier
Gorrie’s work was continued by Willis Carrier. He created the modern air conditioner in 1902. It was used to help the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company maintain their printers. The high heat and humidity were messing with their paper.
10. Air Conditioning Saves Lives
Air conditioning does more than keep you cool. Heat-related deaths have dropped significantly since air conditioning was introduced and adopted. Deaths caused by things such as heatstroke dropped 80% across the course of the 20th century.