Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Air Conditioning: From Tons of Ice to Yesterday's News

"History of Air Conditioning"
Derek Dahlgren, Amy Jewell, Ruth Li, Whitney Williams (for CHEG 310 Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics taught at Bucknell University by Professor M. Vigeant), Bucknell University

" The idea of air conditioning started before a machine was created to produce the cooling effect desired. The first attempt at building an air conditioner was made by Dr. John Gorrie (1803-1855), an American physician, in Apalachicola, Florida. During his practice there in the 1830s, Dr. Gorrie creating an ice-making machine that essentially blew air over a bucket of ice for cooling hospital rooms of patients suffering from malaria and yellow fever.

"In 1881, when President James Garfield was dying, naval engineers constructed a box-like structure containing cloths saturated with melted ice water, where a fan blew hot air overhead. This contraption was able to lower a room by 20 degrees Fahrenheit but consumed half a million pounds of ice in two months' time.

"A close ancestor to the modern air conditioner units was first made in 1902 by an American engineer by the name of Willis Carrier...."

A few paragraphs later, you'll know how ammonia, movie theaters, and the United States House of Representatives fit into the story of air conditioning.

These days, air conditioning is almost as 'necessary' for everyday life in America as electricity is. Which reminds me of something in yesterday's news:

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