In 1914, Mr. Gates had air conditioning installed in his Minneapolis house. His 38,000 square foot mega-mansion sprawled across three city lots and was made of marble. His plumbing was golden and he had a working bathroom, among other impressive rooms. Mr. Gates was the child of John W. Gates, aka "Bet-a-Million" Gates (the barbed-wire promoter and steel baron).
Sadly, the younger Mr. Gates never saw the completion of his dream home. He died in 1913. His widow and children enjoyed the home after his death.
One of the first groups of businesses to adopt air conditioning technology were movie theaters. For a long time, theaters sat empty in the hot, humid summer months. In the 1930s, theaters saw an opportunity to draw crowds and installed A/C. The studios waited to release their mega-hits until the hotter months.
The term "summer blockbuster" really took off in the 1970s with the release of Jaws (and the sequels). Spending the afternoon out of the heat, enjoying snacks, and watching a film became a cultural norm.
Bonus Trivia: One of the first A/C systems was installed in the Rivoli Theater in Times Square in 1925.
President Hoover spent over $30,000 to install the system in the White House's Oval Office. While no one can fault him for wanting to stay cool in the humid capital city, his timing could not have been worse: the system was added during the Great Depression.
Bonus Trivia: The White House's A/C was upgraded years later for FDR, who disliked air conditioning and refused to use it!
Among all the other amazing inventions the Romans left us with, perhaps the most surprising is their heating systems. A "hypocaust" was a system of central heating in Roman buildings. Hot air was sent through hollow spaces in the floors and walls which warmed the rooms. The air warmed both the first and upper floors.
The Romans used this hypocaust technology throughout Europe and Africa, the remains of which can still be seen today!
The image shows ruins of a hypocaust from a Roman home