Air conditioning is one of the most important inventions of humanity, as it has allowed people all over the world to improve their quality of life. In this article, we will talk about the life and work of Willis Haviland Carrier, the inventor of the modern air conditioner, and how his invention has changed the world.
What is the origin of air conditioning?
Air conditioning is not a recent invention, as it dates back to ancient Egypt, where techniques were used to cool the pharaoh’s chambers. The Egyptians used wet curtains and fans to cool the air, and also built houses with thick walls and high ceilings to keep the interior cool.
However, air conditioning as we know it today originated in 1842 thanks to Lord Kelvin, who created a hermetic refrigeration system capable of absorbing heat thanks to a refrigerant gas. This system was mainly used to cool food and drinks, and it was not until the early 20th century that it began to be used to cool indoor spaces.
Who invented the air conditioner and in which country?
In 1902, Willis Haviland Carrier laid the foundations for modern refrigeration and designed the first air conditioning machine capable of controlling humidity and temperature. Carrier was born in Angola, New York, in 1876 and studied mathematics and electrical engineering at Cornell University. He worked for the Buffalo Forge Company, where he designed heating systems to dry wood and coffee. In 1902, Carrier came up with his first major invention, a system to control heat and humidity for Sackett-Wilhelms, a lithographic and publishing company in Brooklyn. Carrier received a patent for his method in 1906.
He worked on other refrigeration and humidity control inventions, and eventually became head of a part of the company named Carrier Air Conditioning Company in his honor, a subsidiary of Buffalo Forge. In 1914, he installed the first home air conditioner in a house in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With six colleagues, he invested $32,600 in his own company, Carrier Engineering Corporation, after Buffalo Forge eliminated its air conditioning division during World War I. Some of the company’s early customers were Madison Square Garden and the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Carrier moved his company to Syracuse, New York in the 1930s, and the company became one of the largest employers in New York. In 1930, he opened Tokyo Carrier in Japan, which is now the world’s largest air conditioning market. The company pioneered the design and manufacture of large space refrigeration machines.
How was the first air conditioner invented?
In 1915, Carrier founded the engineering company Carrier and in 1921 patented a centrifugal refrigeration machine capable of cooling large spaces. It was not until 1928 that domestic air conditioning units began to be developed, although their success was affected by the Great Depression in the United States. From World War II onwards, air conditioning units spread throughout the world.
Willis Haviland Carrier designed his first air conditioning machine to control humidity and temperature in 1902. The machine used an evaporative cooling system, which involved passing hot and humid air over a cold surface, causing the water to condense and the air to cool. Carrier also developed a humidity control system that allowed the relative humidity of the air to be kept constant, improving air quality and reducing the formation of mold and fungi.
In 1921, Carrier patented a centrifugal refrigeration machine capable of cooling large spaces, such as theaters and cinemas. This machine used a refrigerant gas to cool the air, and was the precursor to modern air conditioning systems.
The impact of air conditioning on society
Air conditioning has had a great impact on society, as it has allowed people all over the world to improve their quality of life. One of the first uses of air conditioning was in cinemas and theaters, where it was used to keep the environment cool and attract more spectators. This became a marketing tool, as cinemas and theaters with air conditioning attracted more audiences than those without it.
In addition, the democratization of the industry made the acquisition of an air conditioner more affordable, which allowed mobility to sparsely populated areas due to the climate and had an impact on the birth rate. Air conditioning has also allowed for improved productivity at work, as workers can work in a cool and comfortable environment.
Air conditioning is an invention that has changed the world, and has allowed people all over the world to improve their quality of life. However, it is also important to consider its impact on the environment, as the refrigerant gases used in air conditioning systems can be harmful to the ozone layer and contribute to climate change. Therefore, it is important to use air conditioning responsibly and look for more sustainable alternatives.