The Secret History Of How Air Conditioning Changed The World

woman in an air conditioned room
Here in Queensland, we know all too well the many benefits of air conditioning. But what we know far less about, is its fascinating history. And what a remarkable history it is! Air conditioning is a relatively new invention – at least in the grand scheme of history. However, what it has managed to achieve is almost beyond our comprehension. Air conditioning has actually shaped our world in a very profound way, and allowed humans to flourish under all sorts of unlikely circumstances. So let’s dive into the history of air conditioning, and check out a few of things it offers.

The history of air conditioning began as a commercial solution to humidity – now it’s so much more!

If you’ve visited some of the more humid parts of Queensland, you’ll probably be aware of air conditionings de-humidifying effects. And chances are, you see this as a pleasant side effect of its main purpose: temperature control. But, believe it or not, that view was reversed when air conditioners were invented. Air conditioning rose to prominence in the printing industry, where humidity was adversely affecting the quality of prints. The earliest air conditioners were actually used to reduce and control humidity, with the cooling effects no more than a pleasant coincidence.

A short time later in its history, the benefits of air conditioning as we know it were tapped – in theatre!

It didn’t take long for people to cotton on to the comfort air conditioners can offer. And that happened in one of the most unlikely places: the theatre. Theatres of the early 20th century were not exactly built to tap into natural breezes. In fact, they had no windows and few doors. So, needless to say, summertime was not good for business. That is, until air conditioning entered the scene. By cooling the theatres in summer, those who ran them could tap into a much greater business base.

Thanks to this point in history, humble air conditioning revolutionised service delivery in many aspects

These days, it would be hard to imagine a shopping centre, supermarket, or even corner store without air conditioning. And that’s all thanks to those little known points in the history of air conditioning. Without them, service delivery as we know and love it today simply would not exist. And in a climate like Queensland, that would be hard work!

Then came the architectural history of air conditioning: most modern buildings would be impossible without it!

Our cities today are towers of glass and steel. They look incredible, and their views are spectacular. But have you ever thought about how the summer sun heats them? Glass doesn’t have great thermodynamic qualities, so those buildings would heat up unbearably without one thing: air conditioning! The simple decision to install air conditioning in theatres all those years ago has literally shaped cities as we know them today.

Air conditioning has stepped out of history and now aids in the future, keeping servers cool among other things

The temperature may be something that we think little of, but even today it can make or break us. Take computers for example. Massive servers contain unfathomable volumes of data and process it all constantly. Unsurprisingly, this generates a lot of heat. So much, in fact, that they could overheat at any moment. At least, they could without air conditioning. The history of air conditioning has had a profound effect on life as we know it – and as it evolves, this is sure to continue!

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