It is difficult to imagine life lived in the Colorado River Valley and the deserts of western Arizona during the months of summer without the magic of air conditioning. This harsh reality, however, is not ancient history. Today we keep the brutal heat at bay with assistance from the professionals at Airzona Comfort Solutions. A mere fifty years ago many desert dwellers simply endured with damp sheets of burlap hung over the windows and the hope of an evening breeze.
For the rich and famous in the era of the Roman Empire, the use of ice to chill drinks or to cool a room was deemed the height of luxury. Hundreds of years later the British inventor Cornelius DrebbelIn used a mix of snow, water, salt, and potassium nitrate to “turn summer into winter” in the mid 17th century. Upon hearing of his experiments King James invited Drebbel to Westminster Abbey for a demonstration. According to legend the king ran from the room shivering.
Willis Carrier debuted a device in July of 1902 to reduce humidity at Sackett Williams Publishing in Brroklyn, New York as excess water in the air played havoc with the publishers paper. A secondary benefit of his “Apparatus for Treating Air” was that it also reduced air temperature. A few years later in an interview Carrier shared his vision for the future, “the average businessman will rise, pleasantly refreshed, having slept in an air-conditioned room. He will travel in an air-conditioned train, and toil in an air-conditioned office.”
By 1920 modern air conditioning was increasingly being used for commercial applications but the high cost of installation and maintenance made it a relative rarity. In 1929, Frigidaire became the first company to market a “room cooler” for the home but the cost ensured that only the wealthiest client could avail themselves of the luxury. Aside from the occasional theater few people had experienced the wonder of air conditioning on a hot summers afternoon until the 1939 New York World’s Fair and Carrier’s Igloo of Tomorrow exhibit. Fortuitously many days that summer set new records for high temperatures as tens of thousands of people flocked to experience the modern wonder that promised a brighter, and more comfortable future.
In the era of post WWII prosperity, the dawning of suburbia, and the great migration to the west and southwest, the air conditioner was transformed from luxury to necessity. By the 1960s, the annual sale of air conditioners in the United States were counted in the millions. Interestingly, in spite of its popularity, unlike the telephone, home computer or the television, aside from energy efficiency the air conditioning system has not experienced a radical transformation from what it was forty years ago.
While we await changes that transform air conditioning on the hottest day of summer we can enjoy the “Igloo of Tomorrow” today without worry thanks to the professionals at Airzona Comfort Solutions.
Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America