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The Unexpected History of the Air Conditioner

It’s summertime, which means you’re probably looking for somewhere with air conditioning right now.

via Smithsonian

Today, almost 75 percent of U.S. homes have air conditioning, but for an appliance that has become a near necessity for Americans, one of the first of its kind was surprisingly unconcerned with human comfort.

At the turn of the 20th century, humidity threatened the reputation of Brooklyn’s Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographic and Publishing Company’s high-quality color printing. After two summers of extreme heat disrupted business and caused swelling pages and blurry prints, the printing company found that a nascent cooling industry could offer help.

Read more.


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