The main goal of most homeowners in Easton, Pennsylvania, is keeping their house as comfortable as possible, and in this regard, there’s no more important tool than an air conditioner. Most people use their air conditioner on a daily basis for some of the spring and all summer, without giving this equipment a second thought. If you’re a history buff, however, then you might like to know more about the origins of the air conditioner and the man who invented it: Willis Carrier.
Like many inventors, Willis Carrier probably had no idea that his invention would change the world, but that’s exactly what it did. Learn more about Willis Carrier and discover how his invention, the air conditioner, changed the way we think about comfort.
Willis Carrier’s Early Life
If you examine the beginnings of Willis Carrier’s life, you probably wouldn’t guess that he would eventually become one of the world’s most famous inventors. Carrier was born in Angola, New York in 1876, and as a child, he struggled with math, particularly fractions. In 1901, he graduated from Cornell University with a degree in engineering. Later that year, he was hired at the Buffalo Forge Company, where he would eventually invent the air conditioner.
The Invention of the Air Conditioner
When he first started designing what would become the air conditioner, Carrier was simply attempting to solve a work problem.
Oddly enough, the invention of the air conditioner was a result of a problem in the printing business. Sackett & Wilhelms, a publishing and lithograph company in Brooklyn, found that humidity was interfering with their printing process. The problem was so severe, in fact, that they were at risk of missing a publication deadline. Walter Timmis, who worked at Sackett & Wilhelms, came to J. Irvine Lyle, who worked at the Buffalo Forge Company, with the problem.
Lyle was aware that engineers had sometimes been able to control humidity, and as it just so happened, there was a young engineer working at Buffalo Forge Company with a knack for problem-solving. Lyle handed the project to Willis Carrier, who immediately set to work gathering data and testing ideas.
After a few failed attempts, Carrier eventually discovered a method of adjusting dew point temperature by passing cold water through metal coils. Although he knew the process could be refined further, he provided his blueprint to Walter Timmis, who quickly implemented it in his printing operation. The air conditioning apparatus was installed in late summer of 1902 and proved successful at reducing the humidity problem.
Further Air Conditioning Innovations
Willis Carrier was pleased with his initial invention but almost immediately set out to improve the process. After working for several years on his air conditioner idea, Willis Carrier was granted his first patent in 1906. A year later, Carrier was granted another patent for an automatic control system that was based on his discovery of the law of dew-point depressions.
In 1911, Carrier documented the Rational Psychometric Formulae, which is the most important air conditioning discovery in history. With this formula, air conditioners could be made to fit specific requirements, which is the main reason that today we can build air conditioning systems for homes, office buildings, and almost any other structure imaginable.
Willis Carrier’s invention changed the world in a variety of ways. In addition to being the foundation of an air conditioner manufacturing company that still exists today, the air conditioner has been a boon to several other industries throughout the world, including manufacturing, baking, and even the production of military supplies. It’s safe to say that without Willis Carrier, the world would be a much less comfortable place.
Install a Carrier Air Conditioner in Your Home
Willis Carrier’s influence is still felt today, as many homes across the country are cooled with Carrier air conditioners. If you’re considering the installation of a new air conditioning system in your home, schedule an appointment with Sullivan Oil & Propane by calling (610) 810-3992. We can help you choose and install a high-quality Carrier system that will keep you and your family cool and comfortable for years to come.
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