History of Air Conditioning talk celebrates the formation of the IOR!

3 Dec 2020 16:00 to 17:00

A historical talk exploring The History of Air Conditioned Buildings


Register to join this free webinar here. 



Join us on the 3rd December for this IOR Anniversary Networking Event in association with the London Refrigeration Society.  

On the 8th December 1899 the IOR was formed at a meeting chaired by R Leonard with 16 interested individuals. Initially known as the Cold Storage and Ice Association reflecting the early days of refrigeration in the UK, which was based on ice imports. 

This celebratory meeting will take place online. You can join fellow RACHP professionals and hear an informal talk and take part in the discussion that will follow. 



The History of Air Conditioned Buildings

Air conditioning, in the sense commonly used today, to provide thermal comfort, was not invented nor did it begin, as often portrayed in the early 20th century.

Modern air conditioning developed, in the late 19th century, from the “hot blast” system invented by Benjamin Sturtevant. What were called “blast” fans drew in, often heavily polluted outdoor air and blew it through cheesecloth filters. The dust was removed by sweeping the cheesecloth which was then swept back into the street. Some early systems blew the air over trays of ice to provide some cool comfort in a few music halls and theatres.

This presentation traces the development of mechanical air conditioning in buildings, from the early 20th century, when it was mainly used to provide conditions of temperature and humidity suitable for manufacturing processes, through its popularisation in movie theatres promoting “mechanical cooling” to sell seats in summer, to the air conditioned office building and hotels and the post World War II building boom when air conditioning seemed to become essential for most types of building irrespective of climate. It touches on key inventions, inventors, and the pioneer engineers who in the early days became “celebrities”



David Arnold FREng PhD is a partner of Troup Bywaters + Anders Consulting Engineers and has been actively involved in the design of air conditioning in buildings since the mid-1960s. The buildings included the Parliamentary Offices in Whitehall, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, IBM Manufacturing Plant, Greenock, 1 Victoria Street, and the Barclaycard Headquarters in Northampton.

He has been interested in the history of air conditioning for the last 25 years and has written several papers on the subject published by ASHRAE including two on Air Conditioning and the Evolution of Modern Office Building Design to celebrate the Society’s 100th Anniversary. He is currently completing a new book, “The History of 20th Century Air Conditioning” due to be published shortly.


Joint meeting with 

London Refrigeration Society square


By booking to attend this meeting you are agreeing to the IOR terms and conditions.