The Man Who Invented Air Conditioning:
On July 17, 1902, Willis Haviland Carrier designed the first modern air-conditioning system, launching an industry that would fundamentally improve the way we live, work and play. July 17, 2016 will mark the 114th year anniversary of what Time Magazine voted “100 most influential people of the 20th century.”
Genius can strike anywhere. For Willis Carrier, it was a foggy Pittsburgh train platform in 1902. Carrier stared through the mist and realized that he could dry air by passing it through water to create fog. Doing so would make it possible to manufacture air with specific amounts of moisture in it. Within a year, he completed his invention to control humidity – the fundamental building block for modern air conditioning.
Although the train platform Carrier as standing on was in Pittsburg, it easily could have been a train platform in Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights or University Heights back in the day. Air Conditioning was the next train due into town. And Verne & Ellsworth Hann was there at the beginning to help usher in this life-changing technology.
The “Father of Air Conditioning,” Willis Carrier’s invention gave rise to numerous industries that power our economy today. Manufacturing of everything from baked goods to wartime supplies was made possible by air conditioning. Air conditioning led directly to summer movie blockbusters as people came to cooled theaters to escape the heat. The precise control of temperature and humidity made possible by his invention even enabled shopping malls, transatlantic flight, and the computers and servers that power the Internet.
Some of the Grand Old Playhouses in Cleveland were early adopters of climate controlled systems developed by the companies Carrier founded. Among those Playhouses were the Hanna Theater, The State Theater, The Palace and the Hippodrome.
It’s hard to imagine today that once upon a time there was no air conditioning in hospitals, schools, universities or most work places. Back then there was only the ubiquitous electric fan moving hot air around.
It seems as if there is a national day of interest for every day of the week during the calendar year. There are actually a National Fruitcake Toss Day, Clean off your desk day and even a hot sauce day. One of our favorites is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day.
But maybe one of the most significant days should be National Air Conditioning day. But wait, there is a National Air Conditioning day! It’s July 17th. That’s when Willis Carrier invented air conditioning. He is the original Father of Cool.
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