We take a lot of modern technology for granted, forgetting how comfortable it makes our lives. On the hottest, most humid summer days, we may even take our air conditioners for granted. What was it like before the invention of these wonderful air-cooling devices? How did our great grandparents and more distant ancestors beat the heat? They had more technology for cooling off than you may have realized. Here are a few fun facts about the history of air conditioning.
The First Water-Cooled Rooms Were in Ancient Egypt
In the hot desert of ancient Egypt, people had to cope with the beating sun and outrageous temperatures. They had a smart solution, though: the first water-cooled air conditioning system. They hung wet reeds from the tops of windows. This cooled the breezes coming in and lowered the temperature of the room.
The Victorians Utilized Air Flow to Keep Cool
They may not have had our modern air conditioners, but the Victorians designed their homes to optimize the flow of air, crucial in staying cool during warm weather. They used high ceilings, large and recessed windows, and covered porches to keep out the heat of the sun and to promote the flow of air through a house
Cave Men Understood Geothermal Cooling
In ancient times, before actual homes were built, our ancestors lived in caves. They provided protection and shelter, but also a cool environment. These cave men and women understood that being underground was cooler, so they used caves, but also dug burrows and tunnels to beat the heat. Today, we are still taking advantage of geothermal cooling in modern designs.
Fans Come from Ancient China
It was thousands of years ago when the Chinese realized that moving air makes you feel cooler. They invented the first fans to beat the heat and even had hand-powered rotary fans. No air conditioning system today can operate without a fan and we have the ancient Chinese to thank for it.
Battling Humidity Led to the First Modern Air Conditioner
The first real air conditioner of modern times was created by Willis carrier. He was really trying to find a way to remove humidity from the air in large commercial buildings. Specifically, humidity was causing a problem in publishing houses where the moisture caused ink to dry slowly and paper to become moist. While solving the humidity problem, he created an air conditioning unit, very much like the ones we use in our homes today.
Air conditioning has come a long way, but don’t think that your ancestors suffered too much. They had plenty of ingenuity and knew how to stay cool, even thousands of years ago.
For more interesting information about heating and cooling, follow the Advent Air Conditioning blog.