A Timeline of HVAC History

A Timeline of HVAC HistoryHVAC history is also the history of a more comfortable, healthy indoor environment. It’s the timeline of developments that have brought a higher living standard to greater numbers of people at a lower overall cost. As current concerns such as climate change drive still more research in heating and cooling technology, new pages of HVAC history are being written every year.

Here are some of the standout developments of the past that paved the way for advancements of the future.

Ancient Roman HVAC

Roman baths and some expensive villas were frequently kept warm by central heating of a sort. Wood-fired bonfires in an enclosed area outside circulated hot air through channels beneath the marble floors and/or inside wall voids.

Early American Comfort

Indoor wood stoves were the state-of-the art heating method in pioneer times. Ben Franklin, designed one himself, in fact—made of cast iron that very efficiently radiated heat from the stove firebox outward into rooms.

The Fan Draws Fans

The first fan powered by an electric motor was invented in New Orleans in 1882. It wasn’t an immediate consumer hit, however, as virtually no homes had electricity. As electrification projects spread at the beginning of the 20th century, however, the fan became history’s first powered comfort device in widespread use. By the 1920s, large ceiling fans were common in residences. They’re still in use today to efficiently augment cooling and heating inside 21st century homes.

Conditioner And Cooler, Too

In 1902, a 25-year old engineer named Willis Carrier was contracted to solve the problem of excessive humidity inside a Brooklyn, NY printing factory. The “conditioning” system he developed that circulated refrigerant through coils to extract moisture from blower-driven air had a pleasant side effect—it also cooled the air inside the sweltering building. Carrier is now known as the “Father of Air Conditioning.” Today’s A/C units still operate on basically the same theory, circulating refrigerant in a loop to extract both heat and humidity from indoor air.

Helping homeowners stay comfortable for almost 100 years, Paitson Bros. has been part of HVAC history in the Wabash Valley since 1922.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Terre Haute, Indiana about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 812-645-6859. 

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    By Jeff Paitson
  • About Jeff

    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

    Jeff’s belief is that the business belongs to Jesus Christ; therefore 10 percent of the company’s profits go toward the Maryland Community Church.

    Jeff is a Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce member and in his spare time, he enjoys photography.
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  • About Ethan


    Ethan Ethan Rayburn is a lifelong resident of Terre Haute and a 2005 graduate of Purdue University.

    An Eagle Scout, Ethan spent four years as a non-profit executive with the Boy Scouts of America before joining Paitson Bros. as a comfort advisor and later General Manager. In that role, Ethan has brought a renewed enthusiasm for customer care, integrity, value, and service to Paitson Bros. Heating & Air Conditioning.

    Ethan enjoys singing and was a member of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club. He also enjoys playing and coaching soccer, spending time with his family and two young boys, and volunteering his time and resources with his church, Terre Haute First Baptist Church, which he has attended from a very young age.
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