mercer09

what is this called?

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A friend has one on his 47 Buick sedan and hopefully will give us more information although I believe the one on his car is a bit smaller in size.

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I've heard it called a Swamp Cooler.  The air is drawn in through the front opening and flows over moistened pads to cool it, then it discharges air into the passenger compartment.

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From the net-

It's a window mounted automobile air cooling unit.  To cool the air it used a process known as latent cooling of vaporization,  in other words, cooling by water evaporation.

Water inside the cooler evaporates and in the process transfers heat from the surrounding air to evaporate the water, giving in return cool moisture-laden air inside.  The lower the humidity, the better it works. Because of the dry desert air, they were popular in the southwestern US in areas like California, Arizona, West Texas, New Mexico and Nevada, or anyone traveling through those areas. They were affectionately known also as "swamp coolers."

220px-Thermador_Car_Cooler.JPG

The technology was an after-sale add-on product for cars and has been around since 1930. It was popular from the 1930s through to the 1960s.  The basic unit looked like a canister-type vacuum cleaner.  You could use them on just about any car.

220px-Car_cooler_front_view.JPG
 

There were several manufacturers of car coolers, examples being Thermador, Classic Aire,  Sears (Allstate brand), which also carried the Thermador brand, and Star Mfg. The car cooler came in different models from "ram air" to "fan-powered" types. The "ram-air" type mounted on the passenger side window. It would only work when the car was in forward motion as the air was forced into the tube. It had a water reservoir that held about a gallon of water, which would provide "air conditioned" cooling for about 100 to 150 miles. The "fan-powered" model was designed to work when the car was not in motion or when moving at low speeds.

The car cooler is an outdated technology as refrigeration methods used today are more effective. I've seen them occasionally mounted on cars at local shows,, along with drive-in window trays with plastic hamburgers on the.  A cute novelty.

Terry

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15 minutes ago, mercer09 said:

is this some sort of AC?

 

have never seen one in my lifetime................image.png.18c46ff410b09bf439448ea21548aee9.png

By the decal, looks like a Thermador..

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Back in the day these could be purchased or rented. At a gas station on one side of the SW desert you would rent it and then drop it off in the other side of the desert. There is a rotating screen; the air passes through the exposed half. When it stops cooling a string was pulled to put the other half  of the material, often straw, into the mainstream. Probably helped keep the kids busy pulling strings. If it was overfilled it sprayed water on the wife giving her another thing to complain about. Although it did avert her attention from the speedometer meter allowing the driver to reach speeds approaching 60 mph!

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Has to be used in a dry climate to work.  Not so good in FL or Gulf of Mexico states.

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My parents had one when my father taught a course at the university in Austin TX.  My brother and I figured out that a fast pull on the rope would scoop a bunch of water into the evaporation screen

and the excess would drench the person in the right rear seat.  What fun!

A slow pull was fairly efficient and kept more harmony in the car.  We kept it until we owned cars with real A/C.  My brother and I used it on our trip to the Seattle Worlds Fair from FLA in 1962 in our $275 

56 Ford.

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We called them swamp coolers because of the water they held. We used much larger versions to cool rooms in the house out west where it was dry. They worked great as long as the humidity was around 30% or less. Never knew what true AC was until I was almost grown. They are still sold today in some areashttps://www.gamut.com/p/window-evaporative-cooler-600-sq-ft-estimated-cooling-capacity-ODQ4MDIy

 

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I think you can still buy that automotive cooler as well.

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