The term air-conditioning originated in the United States and it is usually assumed that the first air-conditioned buildings appeared there after the introduction of refrigeration into building services. This paper aims to demonstrate that air-conditioned buildings first appeared in the United Kingdom in the middle of the nineteenth century and that the prime instigator was David Boswell Reid (fig.1).

Biographical Material



Cooke, R. 1987. The Palace of Westminster: Houses of Parliament. London: MacMillan.

MacKenzie, W. 1863. "On the Mechanical Ventilation and Warming of St George's Hall, Liverpool", Proceedings I Mechanical Engineering (1863): 194-208.

Reid, David Boswell. Brief Outline Illustrations of the Alterations in the House of Commons. London (publisher not known): 1837.

Reid, David Boswell. "Diagrams of the Ventilation of St George's Hall and the New Assize Courts, Liverpool." 1855. Manuscript in Liverpool City Record Office.

Reid, David Boswell. Illustrations of the Theory and Practice of Ventilation. London: Longmans, 1844.

Reid, David Boswell. Ventilation of American Dwellings. Intro. E. Harris. New York: Wiley, 1858.

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Last modified 10 June 2009