I live in Georgia.
I remember when we got air-conditioning for the first time. We were living in Ohio, and I was already in High School, or possibly, Junior High. It seems it was 1966.
Prior to A/C, we lived with the heat, a few fans, and spent a lot of time outdoors in the summer.
I don’t remember being terribly miserable without it, but I do remember walking into stores and relishing the cool air inside.
These days, well, we’re spoiled. Problems with the air are not only expensive, they are a major issue, and in some cases, a health hazard.
A/C had been around for a while prior to coming to our house. It was actually invented in 1902 on July 17 by Willis Haviland Carrier.
Carrier was born in 1876 in the town of Angola, NY. He went to Cornell and graduated in 1901 with a BS in engineering.
The following year, he came UP with a plan for A/C when he presented a drawing for a solution to a problem at a publishing company in Brooklyn.
His installation in the same year is considered the birth of modern air conditioning as it added humidity control.
You know, they always say, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”
Well, it’s both, and Carrier figured that out.
The air conditioning gods deemed that A/C should do four things: 1. Control temperature. 2. Control humidity. 3. Control air circulation and ventilation. And 4. Cleanse the air.
After about four years of tweaking and tuning and a field test or two, Carrier received U.S. Patent 808,897 for an “Apparatus for Treating Air.”
Around the same time he discovered that “constant dew-point depression provided practically constant relative humidity,” which created the Law of Constant Dew-Point Depression. He used this principle to design automatic controls. He got a patent for that too.
In 1911 at the Nerd Prom annual meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, he presented a paper that became known as the Magna Carta of Psychometrics. It wrapped it all UP in a neat little package tying together the concepts of relative humidity, absolute humidity, and dew-point temperature, which made it possible to tailor make A/C; prior to that it was one size fits all.
This was a pretty big deal, it allowed A/C to come home, not just go to giant work places.
The Great War and the Great Depression slowed things down in the A/C field. People were busy wiping out the Gerries in Europe and trying to stay alive back home in the Dust Bowl. It was hot and everyone realized though there was A/C out there, it would have to wait.
Carrier did start his own company with a group of engineers in 1915 calling it Carrier Engineering Corp. It merged a couple of times during the Great Depression and would UP as the Carrier Corporation with Willis as the Chairman.
Sales were bleak during the depression.
But all was not lost. After spreading things out to stay afloat, Carrier moved to Syracuse in 1937, and became one of the largest employers in NY State.
Willis debuted his Igloo at the 1939 World’s Fair giving folks from the farm a look into the future, but before it could take off, those darn Germans stirred things UP again in Europe, the boys went off to war, and well, things would have to cool down over there before they could really cool down back home.
Once the Hun had been harried into submission, A/C became bigger than bobby socks at Boarding School.
The 1950s showed a tremendous boom in A/C sales, and nowadays, well, stores, homes, and cars without it, well, they just aren’t too popular.
Carrier globalized his company in the 1930s taking his trade to Japan and Korea. South Korea is the largest producer of A/C in the world.
His cooling machines changed the way we live.
By making temperatures bearable, factories were able to work in the hot summer, increasing production. Places like Florida and Arizona became much more attractive for year round living and the migration to the Sunbelt began.
Carrier married three times, was twice a widower, and died in 1950.
Frankly, now that I know this, he’s my new hero!