A Condensed History of Air Conditioning


January 1968: A pet dog relaxing in the air-conditioned luxury Iwamoto Animal Hospital in the Wakano district of Tokyo where Japanese dog lovers send their pets for rest and recuperation. Photo by Keystone/Getty Images

From hand fans to today’s high-end air conditioning technology, people have always found ways to deal with heat and humidity. And as mechanical cooling became more ubiquitous, some of the cultural practices for keeping cool were made obsolete.

Tracy's Research:

  • The Fan Museum. “History of Fans.” https://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/fan-history
  • Harford, Tim. “How air conditioning changed the world.” BBC World News. 6/5/2017. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-39735802
  • Carroll, Rory. “How America became addicted to air conditioning.” The Guardian. 10/26/2015. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/26/how-america-became-addicted-to-air-conditioning
  • Green, Amanda. “A Brief History of Air Conditioning.” Popular Mechanics. 1/1/2015. https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to/a7951/a-brief-history-of-air-conditioning-10720229/
  • Cashman, Shane. “The Moral History of Air-Conditioning.” The Atlantic. 8/9/2017. https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/08/the-moral-history-of-air-conditioning/536364/
  • Lester. Paul. “History of Air Conditioning.” Department of Energy. 7/20/2015. https://www.energy.gov/articles/history-air-conditioning
  • Arsenault, Raymond. “The End of the Long Hot Summer: The Air Conditioner and Southern Culture.” The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 50, No. 4 (Nov., 1984). Via JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2208474
  • Arsenault, Raymond. “The Cooling of the South.” The Wilson Quarterly (1976-), Vol. 8, No. 3 (SUMMER 1984). Via JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41104291
  • Cooper, Gail. “Custom Design, Engineering Guarantees, and Unpatentable Data: The Air Conditioning Industry, 1902-1935.” Technology and Culture, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Jul., 1994). Via JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3106257
  • Robbins, Susannah. “Keeping Things Cool: Air-Conditioning in the Modern World.” OAH Magazine of History, Vol. 18, No. 1, Sunbelt (Oct., 2003). Via JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/25163642
  • Biddle, Jeff E. “Making Consumers Comfortable: The Early Decades of Air Conditioning in the United States.” The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 71, No. 4 (DECEMBER 2011). Via JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41353856
  • Waters, Dan. “Hong Kong Before the Days of Air-conditioning.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch, Vol. 54 (2014). Via JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/jroyaaisasocihkb.54.225
  • "Air Conditioning." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History, edited by Thomas Riggs, 2nd ed., vol. 1, Gale, 2015, pp. 31-33. U.S. History in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3611000031/GPS?u=som&sid=GPS&xid=952f5e38. Accessed 2 Aug. 2018.
  • "Willis Haviland Carrier." Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1974. U.S. History in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/BT2310016406/GPS?u=som&sid=GPS&xid=fdfdc45e. Accessed 2 Aug. 2018.
  • "A cool history: Celebrate a century of air conditioning by reading about what life was like in summers past." Christian Science Monitor, 6 Aug. 2002, p. 18. Global Issues in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A90164093/GPS?u=som&sid=GPS&xid=90737072. Accessed 2 Aug. 2018.

Topics in this Podcast: 20th century, U.S. history, inventors, inventions