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|Subject: The Father of Cool 14/11/2010, 12:26 pm|| |
In 1902, only one year afterWillis Haviland Carrier graduated from Cornell University with aMasters in Engineering, the first air (temperature and humidity)conditioning was in operation, making one Brooklyn printing plant ownervery happy. Fluctuations in heat and humidity in his plant had causedthe dimensions of the printing paper to keep altering slightly, enoughto ensure a misalignment of the colored inks. The new air conditioningmachine created a stable environment and aligned four-color printingbecame possible. All thanks to the new employee at the Buffalo ForgeCompany, who started on a salary of only $10.00 per week.
The 'Apparatus for TreatingAir' (U.S. Pat# 808897) granted in 1906, was the first of severalpatents awarded to Willis Haviland Carrier. The recognized 'father ofair conditioning' is Carrier, but the term 'air conditioning' actuallyoriginated with textile engineer, Stuart H. Cramer. Cramer used thephrase 'air conditioning' in a 1906 patent claim filed for a devicethat added water vapor to the air in textile plants - to condition theyarn. In 1911, Willis Haviland Carrier disclosed his basic Rational Psychrometric Formulae to theAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers.The formula still stands today as the basis in all fundamentalcalculations for the air conditioning industry. Carrier said hereceived his 'flash of genius' while waiting for a train. It was afoggy night and he was going over in his mind the problem oftemperature and humidity control. By the time the train arrived,Carrier had an understanding of the relationship between temperature,humidity and dew point. Industriesflourished with the new ability to control the temperature and humiditylevels during and after production. Film, tobacco, processed meats,medical capsules, textiles and other products acquired significantimprovements in quality with air conditioning. Willis and six otherengineers formed the Carrier Engineering Corporation in 1915 with astarting capital of $35,000 (1995 sales topped $5 billion). The companywas dedicated to improving air conditioning technology. In1921, Willis Haviland Carrier patented the centrifugal refrigerationmachine. The 'centrifugal chiller' was the first practical method ofair conditioning large spaces. Previous refrigeration machines usedreciprocating-compressors (piston-driven) to pump refrigerant (oftentoxic and flammable ammonia) throughout the system. Carrier designed acentrifugal-compressor similar to the centrifugal turning-blades of awater pump. The result was a safer and more efficient chiller.Cooling for human comfort,rather than industrial need, began in 1924, noted by the three Carriercentrifugal chillers installed in the J.L. Hudson Department Store inDetroit, Michigan. Shoppers flocked to the 'air conditioned' store. Theboom in human cooling spread from the department stores to the movietheaters, most notably the Rivoli theater in New York, whose summerfilm business skyrocketed when it heavily advertised the cool comfort.Demand increased for smaller units and the Carrier Company obliged. In1928, Willis Haviland Carrier developed the first residential'Weathermaker', an air conditioner for private home use. The GreatDepression and then WW2 slowed the non-industrial use of airconditioning. After the war, consumer sales started to grow again. Therest is history, cool and comfortable history. WillisHaviland Carrier did not invent the very first system to cool aninterior structure, however, his system was the first truly successfuland safe one that started the science of modern air conditioning. Youcan read about the earlier history of air conditioning in the recommended reading material listed in the left sidebar.