These are all names that were given to the first types of air conditioning methods. Air conditioning no doubt has changed the way we work, play and build our structures. The first attempt to obtain a different environment, other then what Mother Nature was dishing out, probably dates back to when man lived in cool, dark caves to escape summer heat and protect himself from winter cold. The Japanese utilized a method known as azekurazukuri. This type of structure utilizes a principle of wood’s ability to expand and contract based on temperature and humidity. The walls are constructed of horizontally stacked cross sections of lumber that form triangles. Because of wood’s natural tendency to expand when it absorbs moisture, this building method resists weather, wearing and prevents moist air from entering, therefore, closing the building up tighter when moisture is present. When the air dries out the wood will shrink and provide ventilation. Talk about skilled craftsmen.
In 1901, The New York Stock Exchange served as one of the original testing grounds for the new “engineered air.” However, the general public had to wait a little longer. The public’s first access to this new manmade weather was in the mid 20’s when movie theaters began installing central cooling. The Rivoli Theatre on Broadway became the first to use central cooling in 1925. And when the temperatures outside spiked, the theater’s air conditioning became more of an attraction than the actual films they were playing.
Air conditioning has also changed the way we build the structures that we work, play and live in. Homes used to be built with large front porches, wide eaves and high ceilings. Luckily, we are reverting back to this style of home for aesthetics reasons. When mechanically cooled air became widely available, a great deal of these now desirable building features were done away with. Builders found that the cost of mechanical cooling was offset by eliminating the porches, wide eaves and high ceilings. And this is how the ranch home was born. Post-WWII homes took on a whole new style, becoming low, box-shaped dwellings with picture windows and sliding glass doors. There was no longer the need to landscape properties with shade in mind to keep a home cool. The new age of mechanical cooling took over that job. In closing, though I am happy that we have air conditioning available to us, I am also glad that the old style of building has come back into fashion.
Thanks for reading,
Bryan Hayes, along with his brother Todd, is a co-owner of a Sanibel Air Conditioning company on Sanibel, FL. They also own and operate an island-based electrical service company Sanctuary Island Electric, Inc. Bryan can be reached at Bryan@Sanibelair.com