Do you know the history of the industry?


In order to know where you're going, it's important to know where you came from.

From the first use of the phrase "air conditioner" to the creation of the modern technical terms we use daily, the history of HVAC is beyond interesting, and vital to the future of the industry.

Here are a few key HVAC terms and the fascinating history behind their name.

  • Amp - An amp, or ampere, is a reference to electron flow or measurement of electric current. It is named after Frenchman André-Marie Ampère who discovered the amp, or the relationship between voltage and how many electrons would flow past a given point at a given time.  Fun fact: 1 amp of current is equal to 16.2 quintillion electrons in a second.
  • Hermetic compressor - Abbreviated as "HERM" in the HVAC industry, the phrase "hermetic" actually refers to Homer's The Odyssey. In the story, Odysseus is traveling to get home to his family and the Greek gods send Hermes to protect him. Hermes then encapsulated Odysseus in a special incantation to prevent weapons from the outside world of hitting him. With the hermetic compressor, we are paying tribute to Homer's The Odyssey because the units are hermetically sealed, meaning nothing can get in them.
  • Volt - The volt, which refers to the electrical flow of energy (or EMF, electro motive force), was named out of respect for the creator of the battery, Alessandro Volta.
  • Air conditioning - The original patent for what we now know as an air conditioner was originally called "an apparatus for the conditioning and treatment of air." Then a cotton farmer by the name of Stuart W. Cramer, while at a big agricultural convention, stood up and said, "If only there was a way to air condition our warehouses, our cotton would last longer." This was the first reference to the phrase "air conditioning."
  • Ohm - The word ohm is named after German scientist Georg Simon Ohm, who discovered the relationship of different materials and their ability to resist electron flow. Fun fact: Without Ohm, we wouldn't have been able to create electronics, since we wouldn't know whether an element was an insulator or conductor of energy. 

D.W. Norris, who purchased Lennox Industries from Dave Lennox in 1904, once said, "Build the best product to get me the best salesmen. The best salesmen will get me the best dealer. And the best dealer will give me the most business."

Keep the history of the industry alive in your dealership and educate your comfort advisors and technicians on stories behind the products, technical terms, and industry we love so dearly.

For more lessons on the HVAC industry and technical training, check out my videos on YouTube at

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