Who Invented Air Conditioning?

June 10th, 2019

Where would we be without air conditioning? We’d be out of a job, but everyone else would be miserable for a good portion of the year.  

As a matter of fact, it wasn’t too long ago that such a life was a reality. Electric air conditioning as we know it today wasn’t conceived of until 1902. It took many more decades for it to spread across the country.

Who do we have to thank for this miraculous invention?

That would be Willis Carrier. His story is an essential part of air conditioning 101.

How Did Willis Carrier Conceive of Air Conditioning?

Willis Carrier was living out his life just like anyone else until a local publishing company in Brooklyn was having trouble with moist air wrinkling their magazine pages. It was this incident that got Carrier thinking. Before long, he’d turn in drawings of a system that would eventually become the first air conditioning system.

While this was the beginning, it wasn’t until 1906 that Carrier was awarded a patent for his new invention. At this point, the device was known modestly as an “apparatus for treating air.” By heating or cooling water, Carrier’s system could dehumidify or humidify the air.  

That same year, Carrier made another discovery that led to air conditioning as we know it today. Carrier figured out that dew-point depression could allow for a system that automatically controls AC.

What Happened After Carrier Invented Air Conditioning?

When Carrier first conceived of air conditioning, it was designed for high-end business buildings. However, by the 1930s, electric air conditioning was gradually becoming a fixture of American life, spreading through the country and opening up new opportunities in the hotter south.

While Carrier is no longer with us, the Carrier Corporation continues to operate out of Syracuse, New York. The company’s reach has spread out far beyond America, bringing climate control to more than 150 countries.

Following his death, Carrier was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, joining such prestigious company as George Washington Carver (peanut products), Samuel F.B. Morse (telegraph), and Orville & Wilbur Wright (airplane).

Learn more about air conditioning in these posts Everything Homeowners Need to Know About Central Air Conditioning Installation and 3 Household Improvements that Improve Cooling Efficiency.

Air Conditioning 101 with Willis Carver

Modern civilization is standing on the shoulders of many ingenious men and women, but Willis Carrier deserves to be singled out. Without Carrier, our modern lives wouldn’t be nearly as comfortable.

Starting with a simple drawing, air conditioning has evolved from a business luxury to a standard feature of a home. Comfort aside, electric air conditioning also completely changed American migration, as the Sun Belt (Georgia to Arizona) could now be settled in with greater ease.  

Many people might take air conditioning for granted, but it’s completely changed the way we live our lives. While we can’t speak for everyone, it’s safe to say it’s for the better.