Willis Carrier: The Father of Cool, Inventor of the modern-day Air Conditioner

Essay by tarheel_06 January 2003

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Throughout history, many people have aided in society's undying strive to achieve the most comfortable and relaxing lifestyle possible. They work endlessly to come up with some sort of luxurious creation from which we all can benefit. A first-class example of such a character is Willis Carrier, the inventor of the scientific air conditioner. His life-long hard work has resulted in many of us today enjoying hot summer days indoors. Because of this, Willis Carrier is a legend and he will never be forgotten.

Throughout the 19th century, textile manufacturers made the first attempts at air conditioning. They wanted to heat their factories and mills and keep the air moist. To do so, they boiled water in huge pots near their vents. Unfortunately, this type of heat, mainly the humidity, put the health of the mill workers at risk, so this method was rejected. To cool the workers, water was lightly sprayed at them.

Although this method of cooling eventually became used less often because of the dampness created by continuous sprays of water, it was still considered a decent form of cooling the air.

By 1889, central station refrigeration was beginning to be used as a means of preserving food. By surrounding food and perishable items with a cool atmosphere, they could be kept for longer periods of time. At that time, conditioning the air was used for this purpose only.

Then in 1902, Willis Carrier solved the environment management problems of the past by creating the first air conditioner that also handled the issues of humidity. He figured out how humidity and heat were related, and as a result, invented the most efficient air conditioning machine.

Carrier was born on November 26, 1876 in Angola, New York, on the eastern shore of Lake Erie. He grew...