HISTORY OF AIR CONDITIONING AND HEATING IN AUTOMOBILES
In mid-1990, Givens (1990) presented the first of a three-part series of articles on the technical history of automobiles. Unfortunately, completed in succeeding months, the series did not address heating or air conditioning subsystems used in autos at any stage of their development. Other authors' works reviewed here are likewise directed solely to their own alleged improvements to heaters or air conditioners and are not even claimed to be for cars of one manufacturer or conglomerate or another -- foreign or domestic.
The history of automobile air conditioning, in particular -- as opposed to the history of vehicle heating, can be inferred from the biographical materials reviewed here concerning several pioneers of space air conditioning. Of particular interest is the return of modern researchers -- for thermodynamically compelling reasons -- to the use of carbon dioxide as a refrigerant, after many decades of its abandonment following its 1920's use in the earliest public-building air conditioners.
Curhan has claimed that "over the past several years . . . recent trends" in vehicle engine designs have led to efficiency improvements but consequent decreases in the availability of 'waste' heat for passenger compartment heating (Curhan, 1990, p. 55). Curhan asserted that three available options for overcoming the drop in available heat to be dispersed through conventional hot-water heaters were: 1) an added gasoline-fired preheater or auxiliary heater, 2) electrically heated seats, or 3) a supplemental Positive Temperature Coefficient, or PTC, electric-heater system (Curhan, 1990, p. 55). This author, working for Texas Instruments as a developer of a PTC heater, advocates the third option as the plausible choice and claims the innovation will be introduced in (unnamed) U.S. automobile models (Curhan, 1990, p. 59).
The PTC ceramic heater, claimed by Curhan to have bee...