The Humble Beginnings of the Thermostat Technology

The Humble Beginnings of the Thermostat Technology

It all started in a classroom, or so the story goes. We expect so much more of our homes today. Smart home technology is completely transforming the way we think about our house and what it could and should do for us. In fact, the future of HVAC hinges heavily on the way new technologies are changing people’s perspectives on what their homes should do for them. It’s why the term home performance exists with such growing importance for consumers and HVAC companies alike. We expect our homes to make things easier for us. We want convenience. Speed. Reliability. But there is one piece of technology we are all familiar with but might not think about all that often and it is the center of your home’s comfort level: the thermostat.

The thermostat is meant to detect a room’s temperature and control the heating and cooling to maintain that set temperature. Before the thermostat, regulating temperature meant manually moving around some coals in the furnaces that operated in basements. So in the 19th century when teachers felt a little chilly in the classroom, it meant they had to physically seek out the janitor and ask for the temperature to be regulated from below. For school teachers, this meant interruptions to their lectures. That is until Warren Johnson—a teacher in Wisconsin—got fed up with this and decided to do something about it.

The Humble Beginnings

Though Johnson often gets much of the credit, some of the preliminary technology was developed by a Scottish chemist called Andrew Ure, who patented the bimetallic thermostat in 1830. And like many now prominent technologies, it had to be re-imagine and revisited when the world was ready for it.

The question of how to regulate temperature has been at the forefront of human development since ancient times. People have always looked for ways to cool their houses in the summer and keep them warm in the winter. And in 1883, this determined school teacher received a patent for his thermostat technology. The patent claimed that the combination of a metallic thermometer fastened to a small apparatus with an oscillating beam, which resulted in the whole contraption to detect the temperature of the room. Johnson continued to work at the invention to improve automation that would be able to control the temperature.

In 1895, a new patent came along that further improved the technology. It claimed a combination of a three sets of valves that would be independently triggered. The primary valves regulated the heat supply, the secondary controlled the fluid pressure. This valve system helped apartment complexes have temperature control in individual rooms while being heated from a common source.

The thermostat has come a long way since those days. Today, we see smart thermostats able to control temperature from the commands given via mobile phone. People have the opportunity to turn on their heater as they leave work so they arrive at a toasty cozy house.

Today, smart home technology is completely transforming the way we think about our homes. In fact, the future of HVAC hinges heavily on the way new technologies advance and in people’s changing perspectives on what their homes should be able to do effectively and efficiently. It’s why the term “home performance” has made its way to the common homeowner’s vernacular. People expect their homes to perform, to make things easier, to be convenient. Homeowners today demand much more from their surroundings. But there is one piece of technology we are all familiar with but might not think about all that often. Unless it breaks. Or it doesn’t work right. Our good old thermostat friend. Now you know a little more about him.

Control Your Temperature with Omega

So whether you are looking to improve the performance of your heating or cooling system, you want to trust only HVAC professionals with your home’s temperature. Omega Electrical is here to solve all of your HVAC needs.


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