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Did you know that few stores sold chocolate in the months of summer a century ago? Did you know that many offices, especially in the southwest, closed at 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon? Did you know that before the advent of air conditioning theater attendance plummeted in the summer?

Did you know that before the advent of central heating, many families closed rooms in the house during the months of winter? Did you know that before HVAC systems home activities often centered on the kitchen where the cooking stove kept the room warm?

Few people born after the year that the Edsel was introduced can remember life without air conditioning or central heating. Air conditioning, central heating, HVAC systems such as those maintained and installed by AIRzona Comfort Solutions, and forced heating systems literally transformed the world.

Willis Carrier is credited with being the father of modern air conditioning. But just as with the accomplishments of Henry Ford, David Buick, and Walter Chrysler, he merely built upon, and perfected, the work of others. As an example, in 1748, University of Glasgow professor William Cullen developed a process for the evaporation of liquids in a vacuum which created the first use of refrigeration technology.

Surprisingly systems to control a rooms temperatures were not initially designed to heat or cool. Shortly after the dawning of the 20th century, Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographic and Publishing Company in Brooklyn, New York retained the services of Willis Carrier, an experimental engineer, to resolve a business crippling problem.

Record heat and humidity was dramatically curtailing business. Pages were swelling, prints were blurring, and the company’s famous high quality color printing was plagued by running ink. Carrier created a system for the reduction of humidity around the printer using a fan that blew over steam coils filled with cold water which caused excess humidity to condense on the coils. A side benefit was air that cooled the room.

The term air conditioner was coined by Stuart Cramer in 1906. At the time Cramer was a textile mill engineer working on a system to cool the work floor.

It would be nearly ten years before the first centralized air conditioning/heating system would be installed in a private home. This massive unit was seven feet high, six feet wide and nearly twenty feet long. The cost for development, construction and installation was reportedly more than $50,000.

Modern heating systems actually came after air conditioning. One of the first evolutionary steps in improved heating came in 1742 with the cast iron Franklin stove developed by Benjamin Franklin. In 1885 an updated version of systems introduced by the Romans was introduced.

This riveted steel and iron coal furnace distributed heat by natural convection via ducts from a cellar to upper rooms using ducts. Simultaneously cast iron radiators were invented in about the same time. This allowed for the heating of a home, office, or apartment building using a coal fired boiler to heat water that was distributed to iron radiators in each room.

It was 1935 before the first forced-air furnace was introduced. This system was a blending of old and new technologies. An electric thermostatically controlled fan distributed heat from a coal fired furnace through a system of ducts. This system was also adapted for use with oil fired furnaces.

It is interesting how quickly people adapt to new technologies, especially if it keeps them cool in the summer and warm in the winter.


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