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How Did People In The Past Stay Cool?

Have you ever wondered how our ancestors kept cool before the invention of the air conditioner? I know I have, especially as I sit and bake while waiting for the car to cool off or after taking the dogs for a walk and coming back into a nice cool house. If you think about it, air conditioning as we know it has not been around all that long. The first domestic AC unit was installed in 1914. Renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright actually designed a building to accommodate the new invention. It wasn’t until 1928 that the company Carrier introduced a practical home air conditioning unit. Even then, most households did not start to have AC units until the 1950’s. In 1953, for the first time in history, more than 1 million air conditioning units were sold that year. In 2002, 6.7 million units were produced. We have come a long way in a short time.

Many cities would not exist today without the invention of the air conditioning unit. Houston, Phoenix, and Las Vegas are just a few examples of cities that have seen tremendous growth. This growth probably would not have happened as it has without the available comfort of domestic air conditioning.

Most people today don’t just enjoy the benefit of AC in their homes, but also see it as a necessity in cars, trains, and planes. The first airplane to sport the new invention was in 1936. Cars followed shortly after in 1939 with the introduction of AC in Packard automobiles.

At first, corporations resisted the idea of using air conditioning in the workplace. They felt that employees would become lazy and less productive. Instead, the opposite was found to be true. Employers saw a decline in absenteeism and an increase in worker productivity during the day with the installation of air conditioning.

Ancient cavemen and people of early civilizations used nature to help them stay cool. For example, in Egypt, people would put wet reeds in windows and as the breeze passed through the reeds it cooled the breeze and lowered the temperature in their homes. This idea was the precursor for the modern day swamp cooler. Keeping cool was essential for our ancestor’s survival. People had to create ways to keep food and body temperatures cool. From the first steam-powered refrigeration machine to changeable air filters, humans have developed ideas that have helped to simplify the process and make cooling more about personal comfort than survival. Today, we rely on technology and many of us take the HVAC systems available for granted. However, without the innovation of our ancestors we would not be as comfortable.

The following infographic from gives you a peek at how humans have been trying to beat the heat since the cavemen days. Take look to learn even more about important dates, inventions, and the people, and companies behind the development of air conditioning.

Remember to call 1st AC and Heating with all your air conditioning needs. We are here to help you stay cool during the dog days of summer.

AC through the ages

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