Even though there are different household things, which we use on a daily basis but if one had to list an invention that humans could not be without, then air conditioners would be topping the list. It is so easy to press that button and have your room chilled during those hot summers but ever wondered who invented the air conditioner? There is an interesting history behind. Let me explain you in detail through this article.

What Is An Air Conditioning?

Who Invented The Air Conditioner

An air conditioning system is often referred as AC, aircon, A/C or air conditioner. It is the process of changing the primary air properties (humidity and temperature) to convenient conditions, with an aim to disturb and condition the occupied air space. To put it in simple terms, air conditioners are devices that help in lowering the air temperature.

Where Did The Air Conditioning Concept Start?

Every invention has its own small idea. And this is true for air conditioners as well. The concept all started from ancient Egyptians. They used to hang reeds on their windows & were then moistened with water. The water evaporation then cooled down the air blowing through the windows. This idea made them stay cool even during hot and dry desert conditions. Unlike Egyptians, Romans (rich) used water from waterways or aqueducts to circulate onto house walls, which in turn cooled them. Persians, on the other hand used wind towers and cisterns to cool their buildings during summers.

As years passed, the ways of conditioning the air advanced. So, the question remains who invented the air conditioner? Here’s the answer…

Who Invented The Air Conditioner?


On 17 July 1902, an enginner named “Willis Haviland Carrier” invented the world’s first modern and working electric air conditioner at Buffalo, New York. His invention changed the world completely. He is often referred as “Father of Modern Air Conditioning”.

Who Invented The Air Conditioner

Willis Carrier, the man who invented air conditioner


Biography Of Willis Carrier

  • Date of Birth – 26 November 1876
  • Birth Place -Angola, New York
  • Graduation – Did Engineering at Cornell University during the year 1901
  • Worked At – Buffalo Forge Company in the year 1901
  • Designed World’s Air Conditioner in the Year – 1902
  • Made his own Rational Psychrometric Formula in the Year – 1911
  • Founded His Own Corporation – This was in the year 1915 and the firm was named “Carrier Engineering Corporation”
  • Awards – Honorary Doctorates from Alfred University (in the year 1942) and Leigh University (in the year 1935)
  • Death Date – 7 October 1950
  • Death Place – New York City

Though you now know who invented air conditioning, there are still some interesting facts to learn. Here is a fascinating story the way air conditioners evolved and how Willis Carrier came up with this exclusive design.

When Was Air Conditioning Invented & How Did It Evolve?

The modern air conditioners emerged in 19th century, from few chemistry advancements. Willis Carrier invented the world’s first electrical air conditioner in the year 1902. Before, Carrier came up with his own working model, many people contributed to this creative invention. Hence, credit goes to them as well.

During 2nd century, a Chinese inventor named “Ding Huan” of Han Dynasty discovered rotary fan to condition the air, which had 7 wheels. It was manually powered and was 9.8 feet (3 m) in diameter.

During 17th century, a person named “Cornelis Drebbel” showed how one could turn hot weather to cold by adding salt into water.

In the year 1758, a professor from Cambridge University named “John Hadley” and “Benjamin Franklin” discovered that all liquids have cooling effect. They both confirmed that volatile liquids evaporated much quicker than water.

In the year 1820, “Michael Faraday (English Scientist)” discovered that liquefying and compressing ammonia could potentially chill the air’s hot temperature.

In the year 1842, a physician from Florida named “John Gorrie” employed compressor technique to make ice, which he then used it for cooling air in his hospital. He had big visions to make centralized air conditioners, which could easily cool the entire cities. However, his developed prototype performed irregularly and leaked often. Though he was given a patent for his ice-making machine in the year 1851, his hopes on becoming successful soon disappeared when his financial sponsor died. He didn’t get sufficient funds to develop what he wanted to.

In the year 1851, a person named “James Harrison” developed the world’s first “Ether Vapor Compression Refrigeration System” and was granted a patent for it in the year 1855. The system used a high quality compressor, which forced the gas to pass via a condenser. It was only with this invention when air conditioning systems were commercialized.

In the year 1902, an engineer named “Willis Carrier” invented the world’s first advanced electrical air conditioning system. It was only his invention that changed the way the whole world worked. He graduated from Cornell University and soon found a job at Buffalo Forge Company. While working, he experimented with different things to come up with one fine working model, which could help the entire world. And his dreams did come true. His prototype could control both humidity & temperature. He tried reversing the steaming process. Rather than sending air via hot coils, Willis sent through cold coils (packed with freezing water). And it helped. Air cooled in a short time! Later, his invention was practically applied in various workplaces to improve productivity. Over time, Carrier’s air conditioner was used widely in homes & automobiles. By the year 1950, sales drastically expanded. And today, Willis Carrier is often referred as the “Father of Modern Air Conditioning”.

In the year 1906, a person from Charlotte, NC (North Carolina) – “Stuart W. Cramer” explored different ways to include moisture into the air at his own textile mill. He used “water-conditioning” concept to make textiles process easier. He united ventilation with moisture to “condition” the air. Thereby, controlling humidity and changing air in factories (as required by textile plants).

Advancements in air conditioners continued and today, we are able to enjoy the best ones. It is so easy to chill your house but just imagine the kind of time and efforts it required to develop one proper working model. It is truly incredible!