In 1902, Willis Carrier designed the first modern air conditioner, paving the way for the production of air conditioners specifically designed to cool our homes, and changing the way we live – especially those of us in Phoenix, Arizona – for all time!
Questions about an air conditioner? Call us. (602) 273-7473
Willis was 26 years old, and just one year out of college. He graduated in 1901 from Cornell University with a degree in mechanical engineering, and went to work for the Buffalo Forge Company in their newly created Experimental Science Department.
Willis wasn’t the first to design an air conditioner.
But up to that time air conditioning systems were large, expensive – and dangerous! (Because the ammonia used as a coolant was extremely toxic). Carrier’s design was the first truly safe, as well as effective, system.
Air Conditioners as a way for millions to live comfortably in the Phoenix desert
was not, however, the main reason for his development. Rather, he was tasked by his employer to find a solution for a problem at a Brooklyn printing plant: fluctuation in moisture levels of the air was causing the paper to expand and contract, hindering the printing process.
Conditioning the air consisted of controlling not only temperature but also humidity.
Willis’ air conditioner design included the ability to provide nearly constant relative humidity, which solved the printing plant’s problem – and marked the advent of the science of modern air conditioning.
Air Conditioners for comfort, rather than for industrial use,
did not begin in earnest until 1924, when three Carrier ac units were installed in the J.L. Hudson Department Store in Detroit, Michigan. Shoppers flocked to the store – more to check out the air conditioning than to buy merchandise! The idea of using air conditioners for cooling our interior environment spread from stores to theaters, and eventually smaller air conditioning units for residential use were built. The introduction in the 1920s of residential air conditioners opened up the western states (including Arizona) for development, as the availability of air conditioning for homes was a primary contributing factor in the “great migration” to what’s now known as the Sunbelt.
The rest, as they say, is history. And, now you know.
Questions? Give us a call! An experienced air conditioning tech is always available during business hours to answer your questions.
Stevens Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning
Most information courtesy of wikipedia.org/wiki/Willis_Carrier