Just how hot was it at the beach?
This is the view from the patio at our hotel room of Virginia Beach about 11am, July 22. It was predicted to be a very hot day. VERY hot.
Our patio was 90 yards from the edge of the water. Notice how close people are to the water?
The hotel weather station and the news said it reached 105F that day! It was so hot you could only walk about 10' on the sand before burning your feet! Everyone put their umbrellas and tents really close to the water!
We were crowded together.
Getting there about 10am, by 1pm it was so hot that we left the beach for lunch. Usually we ate there under our tent, but not that day!
During lunch my daughter and her friend thought that it might be best to do something else.
What did they decide? The movies! And Harry Potter...
As a home inspector I was interested by their wanting to go to the movies.
Why you ask? Because, aside from the movie, what they really wanted was to take advantage of air conditioning.
Air conditioning has been around since the days of ancient Rome, and maybe before. They circulated aqueduct water through the walls of certain houses to cool the rooms.
In 1902, a young man working for $10/week at a printing plant had an idea to keep the machines cooler by lowering the humidity in the plant. Heat and humidity were causing the paper to wrinkle and move, and that made the color printing not turn out properly as it required many passes. The young man found that his process to reduce the humidity also cooled the air! This serendipity showed him that enough cool air could make a whole house or even a building comfortable. It worked in the printing plant!
The young man was Willis Haviland Carrier. And you have all heard of Carrier air conditioners! His further-developed process worked so well he applied for a patent in 1907. It was accepted in 1914, and his formulas are STILL USED TODAY by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers!
Why the photo of the Biograph Theater above? What do you notice about it?
Air conditioning was slow to take off. The movie industry, however, recognized its benefits, and in the 1920s and 1930s many prescient movie theaters equipped themselves with air conditioning. Notice the marquee - "COOLED BY REFRIGERATION" and "ICED FROM THE AIR." Those letters are bigger than the movie title!
What better way to get people off of their stiflingly-hot front porches and into the movies. Capitalism at work! Theaters were packed.
At the Biograph theater above, located in northeast Chicago, on the night of 22 July 1934, Public Enemy #1, John Dillinger, was watching a movie. Like everyone else, he loved air conditioning and went to the movies often! On that night, coming out of the theater, he was met by the FBI, ran into an alley nearby and was shot dead. John Dillinger was finally brought down, by air conditioning!
So the next time you take advantage of the movies on a hot summer day, remember, it was the theaters that really introduced air conditioning to our country! AC did not take off residentially until the 1950s and 60s, but in the theaters it has been popular for quite some time!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560