The invention of the air conditioner has had a profound impact on our lives.  For one, cooling in the south became a very big deal.  The ability for someone to walk into a store or house and not sweat was extremely important during the summer.  Until 1950, there were some people who actually refused to move to certain places if there was no air conditioning.  People traveling through the south could now literally walk into a building and immediately have an escape from the heat.  Farmers who spent long hours out in the sun relished in the fact that they could now sleep in the cool.[1]

It was the 1950’s when air conditioning sales took off through the roof.  People were buying them in massive quantities and placed them all over their homes.  Why did it take so long for air conditioners to catch on?  Well, the first electric air conditioner was actually created one year before the Great Depression.  After that hit, there was very little money to be spent on a good like that.  Then WWII came, and everyone who was in a factory was spending their time producing wartime goods for the soldiers over in Europe and at sea in the Pacific.  Having an air conditioner from then on meant staying cool in the summer, staying warm in the winter, less humidity in the building, cleaner air and the air being able to circumnavigate the entire building.[2]

In today’s world, air conditioning is a must have.  In California from 1995-2001, a group of scientists did tests to see what would happen to people if they did not use air conditioning.  They wanted to see if the people would suffer or if their bodies would just adapt.  The observations were that people were far more likely to go to the hospital without air conditioning.  People were getting diseases, such as ischemic stroke, ischemic heart disease, cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, dehydration, heat stroke, diabetes, and acute renal failure.  We need air conditioning in today’s world if we want to live a healthy lifestyle.[3]

What about at home you ask? Well, this video may just show that for you…

Overall though, people nowadays don’t realize how important air conditioning is.  We are inside most of the time, and without Willis Carrier, we would be far more uncomfortable than we are now.  Thank you for looking through my exhibit, and stay nice and cool where you are.

[1] Raymond Arsenault, “The End of the Long Hot Summer: The Air Conditioner and Southern Culture,” The Journal of Southern History, 1984. (accessed February 7, 2011), 597-628.

[2] Logan Stirling, “Outlook for the Air-Conditioning Industy,” The Analysts Journal, 1953, (accessed February 5, 2011), 75-83.

[3] Bart Ostro, “The Effects of Temperature and Use of Air Conditioning on Hospitalizations,” American Journal of Epidemeology, June 23, 2010,… (accessed February 5, 2011). 

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