air-conditioner (n.)

from air (n.1) + conditioner. Along with air-conditioning first attested 1909, originally an industrial process in textile manufacturing. The word conditioning was applied to the determination of the moisture content of textiles, control of which was essential to spin fine cotton yarns. The original purpose of air-conditioning was to purify air and regulate moisture. In 1906 Stuart W. Cramer of Charlotte, N.C., and Willis H. Carrier of Buffalo, N.Y., independently devised methods of using a fine spray of water to cool air. Self-contained air-conditioning units, complete with refrigeration equipment, were widely used to cool air in U.S. stores, restaurants, etc. from the 1930s. An earlier name for such a device (using ice and fans) was air cooler (1875).

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