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Carrier Air Conditioning Past and Present: The Role of Willis Haviland Carrier in Home and Industrial HVAC Equipment

Carrier Air Conditioning: A Practical Past and a Cool Breeze for the Present

It is good to be practical. It is even better when practical people have vision. Willis Haviland Carrier, the “father of air conditioning,” graduated from Cornell University with a Masters in Engineering and a heart for future victories. By 1902, only one year after graduation, the Carrier vision of developing accurate methods of internal temperature and humidity control became a practical reality.

Where did this down-to-earth master of heating and cooling technology give birth to his vision?

Look toward Brooklyn, NY at a printing plant called Buffalo Forge Company. As a new employee working for a mere $10.00 per week, Willis Haviland Carrier recognized a need and took advantage of an opportunity. The printing plant wanted something that would reduce or control the fluctuations in humidity and heat that continuously skewered the dimensions of the printing paper. The Buffalo Forge Company needed internal “air conditioning” – a term that would not technically originate until 1906.

But hold the presses. Spend another moment in 1902.

The Buffalo Forge printing company had a serious need to regulate the condition of internal plant air flow. Willis Carrier had the education, the vision and the practical sense to do something about the problem. In 1902, he made the ability to maintain a stable printing environment into a practical reality. Willis Carrier’s new humidity control machine enable accurate colored ink printing by eliminating the heat and humility induced problem of random paper sizes.

A U.S. Patent, Expanding Visions and the First Air Conditioner

Originally called the “Apparatus for Treating Air,” Carrier’s first patented air treatment system, U.S. Pat# 808897, marked the start of a fruitful history of successful air conditioning advancements. The work of this simple man with a practical vision opened the doorways that many others would follow.

In fact, Stuart H. Cramer, a textile engineer, actually introduced and patented the first device that could induce water vapor into the textile plant air system. Thus was born the term “Air Conditioning.” Yet Willis Carrier also remained on the oars, rolling out ideas, concepts and air conditioning improvements year after year.

In 1911, he introduced the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to his formula concerning Rational Psychometric, a formula that still holds place in the modern world as the core of air conditioning calculations. In fundamental principle, the formula encompasses the relationship between dew-point, humidity and temperature. Today, the industries of the world reap the benefits of air conditioning methods devised by Carrier and those other great thinkers who followed his logic.

In 1915, Willis Carrier, along with six of his engineering subordinates, established the Carrier Engineering Corporation. From a meager $35,000 in start-up capital, the Carrier company is now a world supplier of heating and cooling air treatment equipment and it is a part of the United Technologies climate controls corporation.

The current net worth of UTC touches on $53 billion.

New Heating and Cooling Techniques Provide Consistent Growth

In 1921, Carrier and his staff designed and patented the world’s first centrifugal refrigeration compressor suitable for use in air conditioners. Tag-named the “centrifugal chiller,” the Carrier compressor was smaller, safer and more efficient than its predecessors.

In 1928, Carrier made air conditioning available to residential homeowners.

In the 1940s, the Carrier team merged the features of the centrifugal compressor into a system of lightweight finned coils. The design enabled Carrier to produce portable air conditioners.

Although not the inventor of the world’s first air cooling system for interior structures, Willis Haviland Carrier introduced society to safe air conditioning that actually worked. He also pioneered various components in the refrigeration industry.

In 1943, Carrier retired from the Carrier Corporation position of chairman of the board.

On October 10, 1950 Willis Haviland Carrier died.

The Vision Continues In Modern Carrier Air Conditioning Equipment

Willis Carrier’s efforts to improve the world in which he lived has not died. The practical comfort that accompanies his work in the field of air conditioning and air purifying benefits every member of modern society. Today, Carrier HVAC solutions are still keeping the world cool. Modern Carrier products include:

  • Air Quality Solutions
  • Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps
  • Controls and Thermostats
  • Fan and Evaporator Coils
  • Geothermal heat Pumps
  • Packaged Solutions
  • Split Systems
  • And More.

Carrier Sales and Distribution, LLC employs more than 45,000 workers in over 171 countries. They are one of the world’s foremost leaders in air conditioning, heating and ventilation equipment.

With Carrier Air Conditioning on your side, escape from the summer heat is as simple as closing the doors.

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