Your air conditioner is a pretty important part of life. We tend to take this comfort for granted but that was not always the case. Here are some fun facts over the last 100 years.

  1. Movie theaters used to be the coolest—literally. When air conditioning technology became more prevalent in the early 1900s, movie theater owners invested in AC systems in order to fill seats during the stickiest and hottest days of the year. It worked—most people didn’t have home air conditioning, so the movie theater was the perfect escape.
  2. The first air conditioner wasn’t designed for comfort. In 1902, Willis Carrier, who worked for a publishing company, decided enough was enough with his paper from expanding and ink from running during the summertime. He came up with the ideas for the first widely known factory-scale cooler!
  3. Ice was the original air conditioner. Before air conditioners were there to keep things nice and comfortable, people would use big blocks of ice to keep cool. In fact, the output ratings of the first air conditioners were measured based on how much ice would’ve been needed to achieve the same cooling power!
  4. Without AC, warmer states would be pretty empty. Can you imagine living in Florida, Texas, or other hot climates if you didn’t have an air conditioner? You’re not alone—when home air conditioning became popular, the populations in these warmer states increased noticeably!
  5. Herbert Hoover was the first president to have the luxury of AC. Can you imagine running a country during a hot summer in DC? Hoover sure couldn’t! In fact, he spent $30,000 on the system not too long after the stock market crash in 1929.
  6. You can thank your air conditioner for modern medicine. Did you know that a lot of the medications we use today were developed in laboratories with temperature-sensitive tools and equipment? In other words, we wouldn’t have medications that fight everything from the common cold to cancer treatments if it weren’t for our cooling systems. Now that’s a scary thought!
  7. School’s out for the summer—thanks to the heat. Before air conditioners, it was way too hot to learn during the summer months—and summer vacation was born. Fortunately, the idea stuck, and kids today get to enjoy the summertime with the benefit of a cooling system.
  8. The earliest ventilation system had Ivy League status. In 1899, a ventilation system was installed in the dissecting room at Cornell University—that way, the students could dissect cadavers without the smell.
  9. Allergies and air conditioners go together like peanut butter and jelly. Okay, they won’t taste as good as a PB&J, but air conditioners have proven to have a positive effect on people who suffer from asthma. Why? Air conditioners are able to remove allergens and other smaller particles from indoor air—that means less sneezing and more relaxing.
  10. Americans love their air conditioners. Okay, this one may be a given, but did you know that each year, people in the US consume more energy to power their AC units than the whole continent of Africa uses entirely? Now that’s dedication to cooling.
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