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One hundred and ten years ago the luxurious Titanic slipped beneath the icy waters of the north Atlantic. It was the ships maiden voyage. And it was the dawning of a legend that would blur the line between myth and fact.

Walter Lord in the now classic book A Night to Remember that chronicled the tragic last hours of the Titanic noted that people have transformed the ship into a floating futuristic palace. “Others recall golf courses, tennis courts, a herd of dairy cows and other little touches that exceeded even the White Star Line’s penchant for luxury.”

There is even a persistent rumor that the passengers that booked first class passage, some of the richest people in the world at the time, had the option of enjoying the luxury of air conditioning in their cabins. This illustrates the scope of the Titanic myth as the ship was sailing in the north Atlantic in freezing temperatures at the tiem it struck and ice berg.

The truth is that air conditioning on passenger ships was not made available until 1930. This is rather surprising since a refrigeration system to keep meat and perishable produce fresh during long voyages was first successfully installed aboard the SS Strathleven in 1880.

Luxury passenger liners such as Cunard’s Mauritania and Lusitania, and later the Olympic-class liners of the White Star Line, including the Titanic, Olympic and Britannic used complicated and highly advanced mechanical ventilation systems. The grain of truth in the Titanic legend stems from these systems being referred to as air conditioning.

In 1930, shortly after Charles Lindbergh made the first Atlantic crossing by air providing a glimpse of a future without tranatlantic ocean liners, an actual air conditioning system was installed aboard the SS Victoria. Still, the luxury was only available in six luxury cabins, the first class dining saloon room, and dining saloons.

Air conditioning remained a luxury for decades. Aside from luxury suites at select hotels, it was movie palaces such as those in Los Angeles along Broadway, the original alignment of Route 66, with million dollar facades that used air conditioning to ensure a fullhouse.

The luxury automobile manufacturer Packard is credited with offering the first factory-installed air-conditioning. And yet automotive air-conditioning remained a rare option until 1953. That was the year that General Motors, Chrysler and Packard introduced modern air-conditioning systems. It was offered in Cadillac and Oldsmobile models, Buick Roadmasters and Supers. Chrysler Imperial models, and on Packard Cavaliers, Patricians, and Derham-bodied sedans.

But in the average home, even in the extreme summer heat of the Colorado River Valley, people simply endured just as they had done for centuries. They hung wet sheets or burlap panels in windows. They slept on screened in porches. They sat in the river and swam.

Today air conditioning has transformed the Colorado River Valley, and the communities of Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City, into desert oasis. And to ensure your home is a cool oais, the air conditioning professionals at AIRzona Heating & Cooling Comfort Solutions is just a phone call away.

Written by Jim Hinckley of jim Hinckley’s America


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