“For Centuries, scientists, inventors and outside-the-box thinkers have been trying to manipulate substances in order to alter the temperature of the indoors!
1756: Dr. William Cullen, a Scottish physician and professor, published “Of the Cold Produced by Evaporating Fluids and of Some Other Means of Producing Cold.”
1758: Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley, a professor at Cambridge University, experimented with the cooling effect of certain rapidly evaporating liquids.
1824: Michael Faraday, a self-declared philosopher, discovered that heat would be absorbed by pressurizing gas, like ammonia, into a liquid.
1840: Physician and inventor, Dr. John Gorrie, wanted to reverse the effects of yellow fever and “the evils of high temperatures.”1 As a result, he developed a machine that created ice through compression. Gorrie was granted the first U.S. Patent for mechanical refrigeration in 1851.1
1876: German engineer Carl von Linden patented the process of liquefying gas setting the stage for the modern air conditioner.2
The Evolution of Refrigerant
Modern air conditioning appears to be an evolutionary invention that was built upon a series of successful (and not so successful) concepts. It took 80 years from Dr. Gorrie’s primitive ice-maker method for a group of individuals to develop a safe, non-toxic and easily-produced substance that could be used to provide indoor cooling for the masses.
In 1928, Thomas Midgley, Albert Henne and Robert McNary created chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants. The compounds produced were “the world’s first non-flammable refrigerating fluids, greatly improving the safety of air conditioners.”3
One of the compounds developed was R-22, a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) that became a standard refrigerant utilized in residential air conditioners for decades to come.
But as they say, history has a way of repeating itself. Decades later, scientists would discover that chlorine, a component of CFC and HCFC refrigerants, is damaging to the ozone layer. As a result, R22, the standard residential air conditioner refrigerant, was included in the 1987 Montreal Protocol list of substances that were to be phased out of production over time for new air conditioners and heat pumps.”