Let’s take a trip down memory lane to see how A/Cs evolved from giant and expensive to the compact and affordable units we know today!
In the 1920s and 30s, cooling technologies existed, but they were too large and costly for typical homes. In 1929, Frigidaire introduced a new room cooler that was “small” enough for home use. Picture something the size of a home entertainment system … That’s what they meant by “small” at the time. These were so heavy and expensive!
The 1930s brought an innovation wave. Frank Faust from General Electric took Frigidaire’s design and improved upon it, developing a self-contained room cooler. Around the same time, a team from General Motors introduced chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) coolants. These were the world’s first non-flammable refrigerating fluids, improving A/C safety significantly. However, these CFCs turned out to be a double-edged sword, leading to ozone depletion decades later. But that’s a story for another time.
Air conditioners took another leap towards modernity in 1932 when H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman patented an A/C unit that could perch on a window ledge. However, their high cost meant they weren’t immediately popular.
Then, our unsung hero Henry Galson came onto the scene. Galson designed a compact and less expensive version of the window air conditioner and established production lines for various manufacturers. By 1947, 43,000 of these units were sold, marking the first time homeowners could enjoy air conditioning without needing a small fortune.
Fast forward to the late 1960s. Most new homes were now equipped with central air conditioning. Window air conditioners also became more affordable, sparking population growth in warmer states like Arizona and Florida.
Today, of course, air conditioning is a standard feature in our homes. But it didn’t get that way without a lot of genius thinking on the part of many people! So the next time you turn on your A/C on a hot day in the Inland Empire, take a moment to appreciate the journey these amazing machines have been on. At Ballard, we’re proud to be part of this history, providing you with the latest and most efficient air conditioning systems. Stay cool, Inland Empire!