Friday, June 26, 2009

The Wonder of Air Conditioning

After writing my previous blog, I started to think about the things we take for granted these days. Air conditioning is definitely one of those items.

So I went to that great fount of wisdom--google search--which lead me to Wikipedia, where I found the following information.

"The concept of air conditioning is known to have been applied in Ancient Rome, where aqueduct water was circulated through the walls of certain houses to cool them. Similar techniques in medieval Persia involved the use of cisterns and wind towers to cool buildings during the hot season. Modern air conditioning emerged from advances in chemistry during the 19th century, and the first large-scale electrical air conditioning was invented and used in 1902 by Willis Haviland Carrier.

While moving heat via machinery to provide air conditioning is a relatively modern invention, the cooling of buildings is not. Wealthy ancient Romans circulated aqueduct water through walls to cool their luxurious houses.

The 2nd century Chinese inventor Ding Huan (fl. 180) of the Han Dynasty invented a rotary fan for air conditioning, with seven wheels 3 m (10 ft) in diameter and manually powered. In 747, Emperor Xuanzong (r. 712–762) of the Tang Dynasty (618–907) had the Cool Hall (Liang Tian) built in the imperial palace, which the Tang Yulin describes as having water-powered fan wheels for air conditioning as well as rising jet streams of water from fountains. During the subsequent Song Dynasty (960–1279), written sources mentioned the air conditioning rotary fan as even more widely used.

Medieval Persia had buildings that used cisterns and wind towers to cool buildings during the hot season: cisterns (large open pools in central courtyards, not underground tanks) collected rain water; wind towers had windows that could catch wind and internal vanes to direct the airflow down into the building, usually over the cistern and out through a downwind cooling tower. Cistern water evaporated, cooling the air in the building.

Ventilators were invented in medieval Egypt and were widely used in many houses throughout Cairo during the Middle Ages. These ventilators were later described in detail by Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi in 1200, who reported that almost every house in Cairo has a ventilator, and that they cost anywhere from 1 to 500 dinars depending on their sizes and shapes. Most ventilators in the city were oriented towards the Qibla, as was the city in general"

There is a lot of information there on that site. And interestingly enough it mentions that "in 1906, Stuart W. Cramer of Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, was exploring ways to add moisture to the air in his textile mill. Cramer coined the term "air conditioning", using it in a patent claim he filed that year as an analogue to "water conditioning", then a well-known process for making textiles easier to process. He combined moisture with ventilation to "condition" and change the air in the factories, controlling the humidity so necessary in textile plants. Willis Carrier adopted the term and incorporated it into the name of his company. This evaporation of water in air, to provide a cooling effect, is now known as evaporative cooling."

So I bet you thought this had nothing to do with quilting or fabric use!!! Wrong!!
Where would we be without air conditioning helping us as we struggle with that quilt in all the heat and humidity as I did yesterday. On the hottest day of the year, so far in Ohio, I was finishing up a huge quilt. Without the AC....I would have been TOAST!

2 comments:

  1. Gram:

    I think we take for granted toilet paper! Seriously, what would our lives be without it.

    Love, Meg

    google: the history of toilet paper. It is very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Delhi, India manufacturer and supplier of frp cooling towers includes bottle shape cooling towers, FRP square cooling towers, rectangular towers etc. and supply in all delhi/NCR (Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Faridabad).

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