Life separate from air conditioner is hard for us to imagine! As a child I’d watch those aged films (generally in a tropical setting) where caucasian folks sat on porches dressed in ridiculously slim clothes up to their chins, totally inappropriate to the heat, & wonder how dumb adults could be.
In the mid-1700s, the first attempt at air conditioner was made by John Gorrie, a scientist from FL, with the original put-ice-in-front-of-a-fan plan of cooling.
Which is quite a nice concept except, well, in FL ice was hard to come by, & you didn’t genuinely need air conditioner where there was ice one, but so the enterprising dentist invented a compressor to make fake ice. However its power sources were particularly diverse; water, or sails, or steam or a horse , if all the above failed. In 1851 his invention was patented, but never saw the light of afternoon due to the untimely death of the primary backer.
Notwithstanding, Dr. Gorrie’s goal to rid the world of “the evils of high temperatures” was the first step to today’s air conditioner & refrigeration. Then after a hiatus of fifty years Willis Carrier, an engineer from Buffalo, was hired by Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing & Publishing Company in Brooklyn to solve the humidity concern that caused magazine pages to wrinkle. Her plan of controlling humidity with cooling coils, or “Apparatus for Treating Air” not only solved the wrinkled paper dilemma, it would be used to cool other industries as well.
The first time the general public came in contact with the “apparatus” was while in the St. Louis World’s Fair, in 1904, to cool the Missouri State Building, with 35,000 cubic feet of air per hour.