Here is a timeline of historical facts about the development
of the air-conditioning industry you may find interesting and help you
appreciate the impact this important industry has on our lives:
1881 - When President James Garfield was dying, naval engineers
constructed a box-like structure containing clothes saturated with
melted ice water, where a fan blew outside air through this box and
into his room. The contraption was able to lower the room temperature
by 20 degrees Fahrenheit and consumed half a million pounds of ice in
two months time.
1882 - Thanks to Thomas Edison the first electric power
plant opens in New York making it possible for the first time to have
an inexpensive source of energy for residential and commercial
1902 - Willis Carrier builds the first air conditioner to
combat humidity inside a printing company.
1906 - Willis Carrier patents his invention calling it an
"Apparatus for Treating Air."
1906 - Stuart W. Cramer coins the term "Air Conditioning."
1914 - Carrier installs air conditioning in the first home, a
mansion in Minneapolis. Cost: $10,000.
1922 - The first air conditioned movie theatre opens in
Los Angeles (Grauman's Metropolitan Theatre).
1928 - The Chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives
becomes air conditioned.
1929 - The Senate becomes air conditioned.
1930 - The White House, the Executive Office Building, the
Department of Commerce become air-conditioned.
1930 - Railroad diner cars on the Washington-New York route are
1940 - Packard is the first car with 'factory air' as an option
1946 - After World War II, the demand for room
air-conditioners began to increase. Thirty thousand room
air-conditioners were produced that year.
1953 - Room air conditioner sales exceed one million units
with demand still exceeding supply.
1953 - The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute
(A.R.I.) is formed from two associations: the Refrigeration Equipment
Manufacturers Association and the Air-Conditioning and Refrigerating
1957 - The first rotary compressor was introduced,
permitting units to be smaller, quieter, weigh less, and more efficient
than the reciprocating type.
1969 - Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon
in space suits with life support and cooling systems.
1977 - New technology allowed heat pumps to be operated at
lower outdoor temperatures while heating on the reversed refrigeration
1987 - The United Nations Montreal Protocol for protection
of the earth's ozone layer is signed. The Protocol establishes
international cooperation on the phaseout of stratospheric ozone
depleting substances, including chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants.
1990 - ARI, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of
Energy, initiates the Materials Compatibility Lubricants Research
(MCLR) program, which helped manufacturers to accelerate away from CFC
1992 - The R-22 Alternative Refrigeration Evaluation
Program (AREP) begins. This four year program investigated alternatives
to HCFC-22 (the refrigerant used in more than half the air-conditioning
and refrigeration equipment in the U.S.) and to R-502.
1995 - CFC production in the United States ended December
1998 - Research for the 21st Century, a multi-year,
million dollar research program for air-conditioning and refrigeration
equipment, begins. The objective is to decrease building energy usage
while improving indoor air quality.
2002 - Shipments of central air conditioners and air
source heat pumps hit a record with 6,746,326 units shipped.
2003 - ARI celebrates 50 years of industry excellence.
2004 - The U.S.
Department of Energy has announced that it will enforce a 13 SEER
(Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) minimum standard for residential
central air conditioners starting
January 2006. It increases by 30 percent the minimum 10 SEER
standard sold in today's models.