Today, it seems like we could hardly get along without air conditioning, especially in the sweltering days of summer.
Could you imagine? But in the early days of air conditioning, not everyone was so used to the idea. Here are 15 historical reactions to air conditioning.
1. FDR was not a fan. Roosevelt constantly complained about the White House’s new air conditioning. His speechwriter said, “The President did not like air conditioning. It seemed to affect his sinuses.”
2. After a Florida movie theatre installed air conditioning, the local paper said it “imparts the same physical exhilaration that you feel after a two-hour vacation in the naturally pure air of the mountains.”
3. In a 1954 survey in House Beautiful, a Texas doctor said, “There is no doubt that air conditioning is better for children.”
4. Senator John Rankin complained about the new air conditioning in the Capitol by saying, “The atmosphere is too cool in this room … and it is enough to kill anybody if it continues.”
5. Frank Markham, a notable politician from England, declared air conditioning “the greatest contribution to civilization in this century” in 1947.
6. The New York Globe scoffed an early air conditioning prototype, calling the man a “crank” and saying, he “thinks he can make ice by his machine as good as God Almighty.
7. A New York Times writer said in a 1925 article after going to a theater, “The change in temperature … was an actual relief. It was so comfortable that one dreaded going on into the hot sun.”
8. A Florida newspaper said, “This is not a fairy story,” when talking about how comfortable people’s houses could be with air conditioning.
9. After installing air conditioning, a Dallas theater owner reviewed it, saying, “Each patron exclaims with delight when he gets inside.”
10. Popular Science said in 1932 that with air conditioning “every day inside is a fine day!”
11. A cabbie quoted in the New Yorker in 1958 said pedestrians would see an “air conditioned” sticker on his car and would stop him and ask to be driven around.
12. One woman stated in the 1954 House Beautiful Survey, “Television and air-conditioning are bringing families together again.”
13. A visitor to a World’s Fair exhibit said in the Miami Times, “It’s always doggone cool in the Carrier igloo.”
14. A theater with new air conditioning had an opening that “was like a World Series crowd waiting for bleacher seats,” according to a book on the father of air conditioning.
15. During the 1904 World’s Fair, an air conditioner was installed in the building and, apparently, attendees who didn’t realize the building was cooled by artificial means were dumbfounded.