Posts Tagged ‘air-conditioning on the subway’

Before subways had air conditioning

July 19, 2010

This week, when you’re sweating it out on a hot and sticky subway platform, be glad that at least the subway cars are fortified with AC. 

Because of course, it wasn’t always that way.

The 1933 photo at left depicts city officials showing off what was then a major breakthrough, a ventilation system installed to cool down trains.

The ventilation system? Basically just ceiling fans.

Air-conditioning didn’t come to subway cars until the late 1950s, and even then only a few trains had it. 

Gradually more AC-equipped trains were introduced in the 1960s and 1970s.

Yet even by 1983, a subway rider had only a one in three chance of landing an air-conditioned train, according to a New York Times article from that year.


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