HOW HOT ARE YOU?
Have you ever stopped to think, who invented the automobile air conditioning system? Probably not until it doesn’t work and then all you care about is getting it fixed and riding in comfort on these hot summer days.
The automobile air conditioning system has gone thru a lot of changes and had many different inventors in the past 100 years.
In 1902 Willis Carrier, yep that Carrier, invented the first modern electrical air conditioning residential unit. It took more than a decade for the wealthiest Americans to start installing these large, bulky units in their homes.
To get colder air quicker, pressurized refrigerants were necessary. Along came the controversial inventor, Thomas Midgley Jr. Midgley found a way to use nontoxic, nonflammable refrigerant unlike previous chemicals like propane and ammonia. In 1928 Midgley along with Charles Kettering invented a “miracle compound” called chlorofluorocarbons are best known as Freon or R12, which powered the first automobile air conditioning system. R12 was used until 1994, at which time it was banned for environmental hazards and replaced with R134A.
It was in 1938 that Edward L Mayo made a serious attempt to provide air condition for automobiles. Mayo applied to patent the Bishop & Babcock Weather Conditioner. The system included both an air conditioner and a heater. Mayo’s design took up a considerable amount of room in the vehicle’s interior, mostly in the trunk, and was expensive with no temperature controls other than an on-off switch. It never gained widespread use and was discontinued.
Engineers Nils Eric Wahlberg and Joseph F Sladky applied for a patent in 1950, approved in 1954, that put all the A/C components under the hood and cowling. It was called the All-Weather Eye. Unlike its predecessors, the All-Weather Eye didn’t drive the air conditioning compressor continuously but used an electrically operated clutch to engage and disengage the compressor as needed. This meant less power was diverted from driving the car, improving gas mileage when the A/C wasn’t in use.
In 1939, Packard became the first automobile manufacture to offer air conditioning units in his cars manufactured by Bishop & Babcock Co.
The 1953 Chrysler Imperial was one of the first production cars in 12 years to offer modern air conditioning as an option. The system directed cool air towards the ceiling where it filtered down around the passengers instead of blowing directly on them, a feature that modern cars have lost.
By 1960 about 20% of U.S. cars had A/C increasing to 80% in warmer climates. American Motors made air conditioning standard equipment on all AMC Ambassadors starting with the 1968 model.
By 1969, 54% of domestic automobiles were equipped with air conditioning.
The air conditioning system is still undergoing upgrades with the introduction of a safer, more environmentally friendly R1234YF refrigerant. Mandated in all models by 2018 some manufacturers have made the switch back in 2014.
No matter who invented what we call the modern climate control in our vehicles, we can thank them for keeping us nice and cool during the dog days of summer.
Stay cool knowing that Griffin Muffler & Brake Center has the equipment along with certified ASE technicians to service and/or repair both the R134A and R1234YF air conditioning systems. Griffin’s can perform A/C recharge, leak detection, leak repair and complete A/C replacement with a limited lifetime warranty on parts and 100% labor for 36 months/36,000 miles honored Nationwide at over 9000 independent repair shops.
If you’re a little too hot, call Griffin’s at 319-372-2478 to schedule your appointment today. Check out our specials tab and let us help cool you down.