One hundred and twelve years since the invention of the air-conditioner—yes, it’s that old—and we’re still coming to terms with its uncool effects.
Back in 1902, Willis Carter only intended to control temperature and humidity inside a printing press to prevent paper from warping. It was a reasonable enough purpose for a new radical invention. Before long, AC crossed over from commercial and industrial use to our very homes, and life was never the same again.
Actually, I can’t be sure; I grew up in a home where it never occurred to us to install an AC unit. Maybe my parents realized the monthly bill would fry us. The only time I experienced air-conditioning is whenever I’d step inside a mall or get on the bus. Back in our house, we had low-tech ways to combat the heat—a dependable electric fan, open windows, high-ceilings, and a lush garden outside.
The Power of Coolness
In many ways, I delight in the fact that our monthly bills have never amounted to more than thirty dollars. There must be some sort of trickery going on, if not some serious Scrooge-like belt-tightening. Yes, there are, but we don’t feel like deprived at all. We still watch our TV, we still use the PC and washing machine and the fridge, but we also know when to turn off the LED lights and the fan, and curb our use.
They say air-conditioning empowered people, freeing us from the burden and limitations of the weather. Air-conditioning …