Thursday, July 19, 2012

100 years of air conditioning

Media gave a lot of play this week to a smart PR piece: the centennial, give or take a decade, of air conditioning. Hot, hot, hot!

100 years ago, electricity was still a new thing, whose uses were barely established:

-- Make things light
-- Make things move

Uses soon added:

-- Make things hot
-- Make things cold
-- Make sounds
-- Send messages 
-- Make moving images

And then came now, when you can hold all the media ever made in a sandwich of metal and glass.

Wikipedia has the air-conditioning facts:

In Buffalo, New York, on July 17, 1902, in response to a quality problem experienced at the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing & Publishing Company of Brooklyn, Willis Carrier submitted drawings for what became recognized as the world's first modern air conditioning system. The 1902 installation marked the birth of air conditioning because of the addition of humidity control, which led to the recognition by authorities in the field that air conditioning must perform four basic functions:

1.) control temperature;
2.) control humidity;
3.) control air circulation and ventilation;
4.) cleanse the air.

On December 3, 1911, Carrier presented the most significant and epochal document ever prepared on air conditioning – his "Rational Psychrometric Formulae" – at the annual meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. It became known as the "Magna Carta of Psychrometrics." This document tied together the concepts of relative humidity, absolute humidity, and dew-point temperature, thus making it possible to design air-conditioning systems to precisely fit the requirements at hand.

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