Car Air Conditioning Systems

How Has Car Air Conditioning Systems Evolved Over the Years?

These days, we take it for granted that every car comes fully equipped with a proper air conditioning system to keep us cool on the hot summer days. Even if we do roll down the windows to let in some air, chances are that it isn’t because the car doesn’t have an air conditioner – more likely that its aircon is simply broken. But it wasn’t too long ago that air conditioning was a dream, or a privilege enjoyed only by those who could afford it. Let’s take a look at the history of the car air conditioning system and discover just how much technology has evolved to bring us our current modern conveniences.

1886: The Very First Automobile

The first patent for a production automobile is issued. While it does serve the function of carrying people and objects across great distances on wheels, it lacks many distinguishing features of today’s cars, such as a windshield, rearview mirrors, doors, roof, steering wheel, and gas pedal. As you can imagine, this humble mechanism also does not boast an air conditioning system.

1919: The Kool Kooshion

A seat cover called the Kool Kooshion is introduced, which uses small springs to hold drivers about a half inch above the car seat, allowing for circulation of air underneath them and behind their backs. This cushion is actually still sold today at major retailers.

1921: The Knapp Limo-Sedan Fan

A small fan is added to the inside of a car, to help create a breeze within the enclosure (since most cars are now enclosed).

1930: The “car cooler”

A machine that evaporates water and blows it through the open passenger-side window. This is the first product to actually lower the temperature of your car. However, it only works if humidity levels are very low.

1939: The First Air Conditioner

Packard is the first car manufacturer to offer inbuilt air conditioning, which was installed in the trunk and not the dash. It requires manual installation or removal of the drive belt from the A/C compressor to turn the system on or off. It costs $274 at a time when average yearly income was $1368, hence was not a popular option.

1954: The Modern Air Conditioner

Pontiac and Nash are the first two companies to install the air conditioner under the hood instead of the trunk. The Nash system combines heater and air conditioner into one in-dash system, a standard which remains until today.

1964: Temperature Control

Cadillac introduces Comfort Control, to adjust the temperature to a setting you prefer.

1969: Mass Adoption

Air conditioning is now present in over half of all cars driven in the United States.

We hope you have enjoyed learning about the history and evolution of the car air conditioning system. If you would like to learn more about your car’s air conditioning, feel free to contact an air conditioning specialist at a location near you. Alternatively, if you simply need spare parts to fix your car air conditioning, you can search our online catalog for compressors and other parts.