In which country was the air conditioner invented

Air conditioning: It was this box that made globalization possible

Kaspar Almayer suffers. The Dutch sales representative on Borneo dreams of returning home for the rest of his life, to European comfort - and, above all, to a moderate climate. The oppressive, suffocating evening heat of the tropical island troubles him. Even his escape from the house to the veranda does not help him. Almayer is the title character from Joseph Conrad's first novel, and every now and then the author lets the inescapable sultriness evaporate from the pages. As a literary vehicle with which he drives his protagonist crazy.

“Almayers Wahn”, as the bestseller first published in 1895 is called, was just fiction. But anyone who worked in real life as a businessman in the tropics a hundred years ago or earlier had to be willing to make sacrifices, accept extreme conditions, and expect a loss of performance.

Travelers in the far north have always had access to achievements with which they could shake off the hostile cold: the stove, the fur coat. But where it was about unbearable heat, with the bailiff in the colonies of Black Africa, with the trader in humid Southeast Asia, with the missionary in the Amazon basin - there was no escape from the sweaty temperature until well into modern times.

The air conditioning triggered mass migrations

But then came July 1902, a summer that created one of the most important prerequisites for globalization: air conditioning. A device that, within a few decades, was to separate life in the tropical, arid and semi-arid zones into two parallel worlds: a pleasantly cool, isolated inside and a hot, uncomfortable outside. The air conditioning system was supposed to change the world, to transform world-forgotten tropical nests into booming industrial and commercial zones, whose prosperity, like a magnet, attracted people from the countryside where their work was no longer needed. It triggered mass migrations.

It was unbearably warm in New York that year. So brooding that the machines in the Sackett & Wilhelms lithography plant stopped. The house in Brooklyn was known for high-quality color prints; the masters applied each color in a separate process. But now, in the heat, the humidity fluctuated so much that the paper warped, the contours blurred. Misprints en masse. The manager turned to the Buffalo Forge Company, which actually made fan heaters, asked if there was anyone there who could think of something against high humidity.