The First Air Conditioning

Family Danz Heating & Cooling has been installing and servicing air conditioning systems in Clifton Park and all through the Capital District of New York State for nearly 40 years. We’ve seen a lot of changes in technology over those four decades as we help area residents feel comfortable during the heat of the summer, but we aren‘t sure if everyone truly appreciates how far AC has come since its earliest days.

Legend says ice has been used for cooling since the prehistoric era, but it was the ancient Egyptians who developed the very first proto-air conditioning systems used to ease the heat of their desert weather. Back then, their “modern” AC simply consisted of wooden reeds that were wet with water and hung in windows. As the water evaporated, the air blowing in through the window was cooled. Unlike today’s air conditioning equipment, this actually added to the humidity indoors, but that was OK there because of the arid desert environment.

Ancient Romans took it a step farther. They constructed aqueducts to deliver water to some of the homes — presumably owned by the more wealthy residents — that was then circulated through walls to cool the temperature.

By the second-century A.D., Chinese inventor Ding Huan of the Han Dynasty created a manually powered rotary fan used for air conditioning. Later, Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty had a cool hall installed inside the royal palace circa 750 A.D., which is reputed to have featured a water-powered fan to condition the air. It also has jet streams of water rising from fountains.

Closer to the Capital District, the first American AC on record was created back in 1758, as famed inventor Benjamin Franklin and Cambridge University professor John Hadley discovered that by evaporating alcohol and certain other liquids they could cool an object enough to freeze water. In the 1830s, Dr. John Gorrie built an actual AC unit in a Florida hospital by inventing a machine that used compression to make ice. By circulating air over the ice, he could cool the surrounding air.

Although patented in 1851, Gorrie sadly wasn’t able to secure financial backers and his plans to cool buildings around the world soon failed.

In 1902, Willis Carrier invented what he called the “Apparatus for Treating Air” in Brooklyn for the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Co. The machine kept paper from wrinkling and the ink aligned by controlling the room temperature and humidity through a system of air blowing over cold coils — very similar to the AC process of today.

AC technology has certainly come a long way since those earliest days of ice and moist reeds in windows, and your friendly Family Danz technicians have kept up on all the technological advances to be able to provide you expert sales and service of all the modern equipment of today. For nearly 40 years, we’ve helped make homes and offices more comfortable throughout the Clifton Park, N.Y. area, and we would like to be there for you, too.

Family Danz Heating & Cooling is a full-service heating and air conditioning contractor, offering sales and service in the Capital District of New York State. If you would like more information on any of our services, call us today at 518-427-8685.