The Colorful History of Air Conditioning: A Timeline

Did you know that the precursor to the modern-day air conditioner was not created with the intent of providing a cooler environment for people?

In 1902, Willis Carrier had the idea for an air conditioner because he needed to solve a problem he was having at the publishing company he worked for in New York. He was constantly suffering through ink running and paper expanding during the printing process and needed a way to control the humidity and temperature of the room where they printed, hence he thought of what would be the foundation of the modern-day air conditioner.

 But way before Carrier and his life-changing invention, many individuals around the world had tried to conceptualize a way to create cooling machines. Let’s travel through time and learn about these moments in air conditioning history.

180 AD

A Chinese craftsman created a 10-foot wide rotary fan connected to seven wheels that could provide cool air to an entire hall of banquet guests.


In 1758 an important discovery was made by John Hadley and Benjamin Fraklin when they learned that liquids that evaporate faster than water can cool an object down, enough that it can actually freeze water.

In 1820, all the way in England, Michael Faraday discovers the same thing from compressing and liquifying ammonia.


In order to provide comfort for his already ailing and suffering patients who needed a respite from the heat, Floridian Dr John Gorrie invents the machine that makes ice. Air is then blown through these blocks of ice.


Dr John Gorrie manages to obtain a patent for his invention but is unable to get the project off the ground until he dies.


There is an assassination attempt on President James Garfield in the United States. The president thankfully survives, and in order to provide comfort for him as he recovers, a group of naval engineers builds a device that consists of a fan blowing hot air above and thereby keeping cool air below. They are More: Portable & Window-Mounted Air Conditioner Reviews Perfect for Any Room


As mentioned in the introduction, 1902 is the year when the concept of the modern air conditioner was invented, in Brooklyn, New York. Publishing company employee Willis Carrier invents the machine that allows him to lower and control the temperature in a room. He consequently sets up the Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America.


Air conditioning is finally installed in a home in Minneapolis. A mansion owned by Charles Gates is considered the first residential home to have an air conditioning system installed. Amazingly, the air conditioning system was rarely used, if ever it was used, to begin with, because the house never got occupants and remained vacant.


The precursor to what will be the modern-day window-type air conditioner is invented by HH Schultz and JQ Sherman. Unlike the window-type air conditioners of today, these pioneering products would’ve cost around $120,000 to as high as $600,000 in today’s currency.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *