World FM Day – A Look At the Past to Focus on the Future

World FM Day – A Look At the Past to Focus on the Future

Happy World FM Day! For those who don’t know, World FM Day began in 2008 to raise awareness about the important role facilities management has on the health, safety, productivity, and well-being of building occupants throughout the world, according to IFMA. This year, World FM Day is on July 13 and the theme is “Empowering People for a Productive World”. Todco Mechanical believes that looking back on the past of facilities management as it relates to heating and cooling is an excellent way to see how people were empowered to make the progress we see today. By looking at the past, we can focus on how to improve in the future.

A History of HVAC for World FM Day

world fm day history of hvac todco

Ancient Times

Different cultures had ways to automate fans for cooling rooms for those in power, but the Romans had the first official HVAC system. Their heating system was called a hypocaust which utilized a furnace in the basement to generate heat that was directed through flues into rooms. This was also used to create steam baths for wealthy Romans.


Chimneys were used to create fires indoors without polluting rooms with smoke.


Galileo invents the thermometer and Ferdinand II improves it so the temperature can be read without air pressure influencing the measurement.

France began to use a ventilation system to push fresh air into mines using fans.

The first gravity exhaust ventilation system was invented for the House of Parliament in the United States.


The thermometer was further improved with the invention of mercury and Fahrenheit as a unit of measurement.

Benjamin Franklin invented the first stove that was used as a steam heating system.

A primitive version of direct fired heat exchanges was used in England. This was accomplished with a stove that used a furnace to provide heated air pushed through a system of pipes. The system could heat large factory spaces.

Nicolas Carnot founded thermodynamics, leading to the first and second laws of thermodynamics being created.

James Joule discovered the idea that friction and work produces heat, making heat a form of energy. This led to:

  • Hot water heating systems being used for large buildings
  • Water spray systems to humidify and cool homes
  • Supply air and exhaust systems powered by steam engines
  • Boilers with high capacity began being used


Furnaces systems came to be highly used with innovations like high pressure steam heating systems, centrifugal fans, high speed fans, and large fans utilized.

The company Buffalo Forge created the first fan coil dehumidifying system, the first spray air conditioning device, and a system to remove dust particles from the air streams in HVAC systems.

Sturtevant invented the first industrial air conditioning system that was also used in railways. This used a backward inclined blade centrifugal pump.

Boilers with oil and gas burners combined with induced or forced type fans began being used in the industry.

A centrifugal refrigeration machine was used to finally provide air conditioning to large spaces. From there, hydronic circulatory pumps and radiators were used to circulate cold air.

The refrigeration compressor was invented which led to the first residential air conditioning system. Refrigeration technology was put to good use to invent room coolers and to help provide life support and cooling systems to the first man who walked on the moon.

Heating pumps were invented as a further innovation to heating and cooling solutions.

Panels for heating floors and ceilings were invented.

The United Nations Montreal Protocol was invented to eliminate the overuse of refrigerants that were damaging the ozone layer. This began the research on air conditioning and refrigeration green solutions.


The research continues to provide energy efficient solutions to the HVAC industry for better energy bills and less damage to the ozone layer.

The invention and popularity of smart technology solutions are helping businesses monitor their energy uses, reduce energy consumption, and focus on spending their budget on profitable ventures.


- Preventative Maintenance is key to the longevity of your equipment
- Why leave your systems to chance?
- Is your water safe?



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