How Commercial AC Revolutionized Movie-Going

Willis Carrier

Today, we almost take commercial air conditioning for granted. Trips to the mall, the supermarket or the movie theater in the summer provide a reprieve from the hot temperatures. We’re used to most businesses keeping indoor temperatures cool for their customers. And, we sure know when they don’t, or when their AC is on the fritz! You may be surprised to learn that air conditioning in commercial spaces is nothing new. As a matter of fact, commercial air conditioning has been in use for nearly 100 years.

When Willis Carrier first developed air conditioning, it wasn’t for the comfort of people. It was actually invented to help commercial clients keep stable temps during the manufacturing process. According to an article in The Economist, Carrier’s first installation of his air conditioning system was in a print shop in Brooklyn. There, AC was used to prevent paper shrinkage due to humidity, which led to misprinting. But in 1925, Carrier found a way to use commercial air conditioning to keep consumers comfortable – and help the movie industry enjoy better profits.

Carrier offered a cool solution to moviegoers – AC in the theater.

The Eyewitness to History website noted that Willis Carrier saw that theaters lost business during the summer months. As a result, he asked Paramount Pictures to install his commercial air conditioning system in the Rivoli Theater. The theater was being built in Times Square in NYC. It was tested on customers during the theater’s grand opening on Memorial Day, 1925. Moviegoers loved enjoying the film in cool comfort. Having AC installed in the Rivoli Theater made it a great success.

Over the next five years, Carrier went on to install commercial air conditioning systems in 300 movie theaters across the nation. As a result, summer months, which once had created a loss for the film industry, were now the most lucrative time of the year. As time went on, more and more commercial spaces installed air conditioning. Factory workers and office workers alike were found to be more productive when their spaces were cooled with air conditioning. In fact, a 1957 survey showed 90 percent of companies citing “cooled air” as most important to increased productivity.

Getting commercial air conditioning today is as easy as calling T.F. O’Brien.

Of course, there have been many advancements to commercial air conditioning since Willis Carrier installed his first system in 1902. Changing technologies mean modern air conditioning is much more efficient and better for the environment, and is easier to regulate. When you choose T.F. O’Brien help you get commercial air conditioning for your building, you’re choosing a company that’s been around almost as long as AC itself. For more than 80 years, we’ve been helping people get the cool comfort they need – both in their businesses and their homes.

When you need commercial air conditioning for your space, give us a call 516-488-1800, and we will be more than happy to help you.