Can you imagine a world without air conditioning? Well, anyone over seventy years of age can. For them, their first car didn’t have AC, and their second offered it as a pricey option. At home, air cooling was limited to fans like the Vornado, which combined the concept of a vortex with a tornado to create strong movement of air in and around a home. Tall office buildings had windows that opened and ceiling fans. Unfortunately, if the air outside was hot so was the circulated air inside.
For many seniors, their first encounter with air conditioning was watching a film. Movie theaters advertised their cool interiors during the summer, selling the idea of a large screen adventure combined with heat wave comfort. Afternoon triple-feature matinees were packed regardless of the movie quality.
Window air conditioning units were the beginning of home comfort. Most people over the age of seventy probably never enjoyed one as a child, as the prevalence of residential cooling was small during the 40s decade. If they were lucky, or born into wealth, they would begin experiencing climate cooling in their teens. Central air conditioning would have been an amazing luxury by the time they were adults. Initially, the cost of retro-fitting an older house was prohibitive. Even new homes in the early 60s didn’t provide central air as a standard.
Today, we leave our air conditioned homes to ride in air conditioned vehicles to get to our air conditioned work places, then stop at air conditioned stores on the way home. But it wasn’t always that way. Just ask a seventy year old senior.