How Air Conditioning Changed the World

For centuries, people looked for ways to control the weather. The Roman emperor Elagabulus sent slaves to bring snow down from the mountains and pile it into his garden. Elagabulus hoped the Summer breezes would carry cooler air inside. The invention of modern air-conditioning likely did more than just cool buildings. A good number of social scientists and historians believe air-conditioning may have actually changed the world! Here’s how:

Air-conditioning contributed to the dominance of American manufacturing. The first air-conditioner was designed to remove humidity which interfered with four-color newspaper printing. The Sackette & Wilhelms Lithographing and Printing Company hired an engineering firm, Buffalo Forge, to solve the problem of paper which wrinkled during Summer heat. Buffalo Forge handed the project to a young engineer, Willis Carrier. When Carrier’s solution solved the production problem, his innovation was soon being sold to flour mills, too.  Early on, the Gillette company installed Carrier’s technology to keep their new-to-the-market innovation, the razor blade, from rusting in Summer’s hot, sticky weather. While world-wide manufacturing competitors were forced to shut down during Summer heat, American companies churned out products year round. American manufacturing dominance emerged.

Population demographics shifted. In the United States, air-conditioning contributed to the rise of the Sun-belt South. Before indoor climate control, only about 28% of Americans lived in Southern states from Florida to California. Today, nearly 40% of American call this region home. Political scientists note that, not just the population, but the political balance in the Sunbelt shifted. Once air-conditioning tamed Summer’s extreme heat, scores of retirees fled the frozen North. Bringing their more conservative political ideas with them, these older American happily relocated where they could enjoy warm Southern winters. Some political scientists make a compelling case that Ronald Reagan might not have been elected without the shifts brought about by air-conditioning! Around the world, nations like Dubai and Singapore successfully battled the extreme heat, and rose to prominence.

Social benefits. A greater number of prison riots occur during periods of extreme heat. Air-conditioning actually makes prisons safer. Moreover, the number of heat related deaths dropped dramatically after Carrier’s Weathermaker gained wide-spread popularity. Finally,one of the first commercial applications of air-conditioning was American movie theaters. Sweltering patrons escaped Summer heat by watching movies in air-conditioned theaters.  The Hollywood Summer Blockbuster was born.
American architecture changed dramatically.  Modern air-conditioning made the skyscraper possible. Dangerous opening of windows stories above the ground was no longer necessary.  Glass-fronted buildings no longer felt like solar ovens.

As the demand for air-conditioning grows worldwide, air-conditioning technology is becoming cleaner and greener. Serious restriction on the venting of greenhouse gasses is in place. Efficiency improvements protect the environment from fossil fuel damage. Manufacturers regularly develop new, improved, environmentally friendly refrigerants.

Lifestyle Comfort Solutions proudly presents its clients with modern high efficiency cooling solutions and comfort enhancements. Don’t let Summer be the time you lose your cool. Work with Lifestyle Comfort Solutions and let’s change YOUR world.