A look at the history of air conditioning from a historical and sociological perspective is found in a new book, "Cool Comfort: America's Romance With Air Conditioning," published by the Smithsonian Institution Press.
Author Marsha Ackermann isn't an engineer, nor does she work for a manufacturer. Instead, she lectures in history at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Mich. This book isn't about the nuts and bolts of early attempts at air conditioning, although there is some of that in there, too. She recounts, "Before 1920, air-conditioning was used almost entirely in factories where its role was to produce not human comfort but manufacturing consistency."