During the summer, your home’s air conditioner works nonstop, keeping you and your family nice and cool. What you may not know, however, is the interesting history of how the air conditioner was developed and how it has impacted modern life over the past few decades. Here are a few fun facts about the air conditioner you may not know about.

  1. John Gorrie, a Floridian doctor, is considered the father of refrigeration and air conditioning. In 1842, he developed a machine that made ice to cool the air for his patients.
  2. In 1899, a ventilation system was installed in the dissecting room at Cornell University so that students could dissect cadavers without such a strong smell.
  3. The first residential air conditioner, installed in 1914, was over seven feet high, six feet wide, and 20 feet long.
  4. The first U.S. president to have an air conditioner installed in the White House was Herbert Hoover. The U.S. government spent $30,000 to have the air conditioning system installed.
  5. Movie theaters were one of the first public places to have air conditioning. To attract moviegoers, they would release big films in the summer. This is how the term “summer blockbuster” was coined.
  6. After World War II, air conditioning became a status symbol, with over one million window units sold in 1953.
  7. Air conditioning made possible the development of many different medications that could only be developed in a cool environment. 
  8. Heat-related deaths decreased by about 80% once residential air conditioning was made widely available.
  9. Before air conditioners, big blocks of ice were used to keep things cool. When air conditioners were developed, their output ratings were based on how much ice would be needed to achieve the same cooling effect.
  10. The first air conditioner was invented in 1902 by Willis Carrier, an employee at a publishing company who needed a way to prevent paper from expanding and ink from running.
  11. The use of air conditioners has lowered the natural human tolerance for heat.
  12. The invention of the air conditioner helped grow the populations of Texas, Florida, Arizona, and Nevada in the 1960s. 
  13. Every spring, air conditioners provide relief to individuals with allergies by providing clean, filtered air.