A Brief History of HVAC – Part 2

A Brief History of HVAC – Part 2

The HVAC adventure continues in a Brief History of HVAC – Part 2. Keep reading to see how HVAC has made a great transition over the years from traditional human-operated methods, to electric and fuel powered equipment that continues to make our lives simpler every day.

Heating: Before the Heater

Franklin Stove SpeedClean

Image from commons.wikimedia.org

1742: Benjamin Franklin’s Franklin Stove

During colonial times, the most common method of heating homes in the U.S. was through setting a wood-fire inside of a fireplace. Franklin made this process safer and helped pioneer other innovative HVAC heating technology with the Franklin Stove – an L-shaped, freestanding cast-iron fireplace that drew cold air in from heat on top of the box and released smoke from the bottom. This unique heat recycling system was able to efficiently heat more space by keeping warm air circulating where it was needed.

Ventilation: Before mechanical indoor air quality control

Schuyler Fan SpeedClean

Image from vintagemachinery.org

1886: Schuyler Wheeler’s Electric Fan

The Crocker & Curtis Electric Motor Co. two-blade electric fan by Schuyler Wheeler was the first of its kind to be fully powered by energy. This desktop fan consisted of two exposed blades powered by a bulky rear electric motor. Not only did these fans improve the life and indoor air quality of civilization at the time, but they also spearheaded the concept of using air powered fans as a energy source in other machinery.

Cooling: Before Air Conditioning

Carrier Cooling SpeedClean

Image from williscarrier.com

1902: Willis Carrier’s Air Conditioner

On a foggy Pittsburgh train platform, the idea of creating the world’s first ever mechanical humidity controller, or air conditioner,  arrived. This equipment passed air through a filter, then over to coils containing a coolant – as it continues to do so today. Carrier’s great invention marks the start of AC to some, which explains why he is often recognized as “father of air conditioning”.

Click here to revisit Part 1 of a Brief History of HVAC.

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