An air conditioner is an electric appliance that is used to cool the air in enclosed spaces such as homes and offices. Air conditioners work in much the same way as refrigerators do. Gas is compressed inside the air conditioner to cool it which is then passed through a series of tubes. The air is forced over the top of these tubes and cooled, using the method of evaporation, before being blown out into the space.
The Invention of the Air Conditioner
The idea of evaporative cooling was explored as early as 1758 when Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley conducted experiments on the idea. This idea was later expanded by British scientist Michael Faraday when he discovered he could cool air by compressing and liquefying ammonia and letting it evaporate. In 1842 physician John Gorrie used the compression technology to create ice which he them used to cool the air in his patients rooms in the hospital. He has grand ideas about using his machine to cool entire building and cities, but did not get the financial backing he needed to develop his machines.
It wasn’t until 1902 that the first air conditioner was invented by Willis Haviland Carrier. He invented an electrical air conditioning unit for his boss at a printing plant. The printing plant had trouble during the summer months as the change in temperature caused the paper in the press to change sizes. This misaligned the colored ink. Carrier’s invention not only cooled the air and kept the building at a constant temperature, but also took the humidity out of the air as well. The invention gained the attention of the public and the The Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America was formed.