Legends of HVAC

August 14, 2019


As you escape the heat of August in the cool of air conditioning, do the legends of HVAC ever cross your mind?

Before the invention of air conditioning and heating, human lives were limited by the fluctuations of the outside weather. People napped indoors or in the shade during the heat of an August afternoon. Families huddled around the hearth on a winter evening. Today, however, heating and air conditioning have allowed humans to continue working (or playing) in spite of the changes in weather.

Check out some of the people responsible for the most amazing HVAC inventions.

James Harrison

James Harrison was an Australian journalist who invented the first practical mechanical cooling system in 1851. His device pushed refrigeration gas through a condenser to cool down the air around it. He tried to refrigerate meat and ship it from the United States to the United Kingdom, but his first attempt failed, and shipping meat long distance with refrigeration techniques would have to wait another 20 years.

Willis Carrier

Willis Carrier was an engineer who is now credited as the father of modern air conditioning. The Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company hired Carrier to solve the problem of humidity that caused magazine pages to wrinkle. In 1902, he invented a machine with constant dew-point depression that effectively controlled the humidity level. He wrote and presented the most significant document ever written on air conditioning, the Rational Psychometric Formulae. These air conditioners were for commercial purposes rather than individual families in their homes.

H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman

Schultz and Shermann created the first window air conditioner in 1932, making it possible, though not easy, for people to have air conditioning in their homes.

Frederick McKinley Jones

McKinley patented a portable cooling unit that allowed perishable items to be transported by trucks. His invention allowed important supplies, like food, medicine, and blood, to be transported during World War II.

Henry Galson

Later, Galson created a version of the window air conditioner that was smaller and easier to move, and by 1947, these new window air conditioning units brought cool air to more people's homes.

Alice Parker

Parker's 1919 design for gas heating is the ancestor of modern central heating. It worked by drawing cool air into a furnace, pushing it through a heat exchanger that then pushed the now-warm air into a room. Her design increased the safety of home heating methods because people now no longer needed an open fire to keep warm in the winter.

David Nelson Crosthwait, Jr.

Crosthwait brought heating to Radio City Music Hall in New York.

What's Next?

Thanks to the persons listed here, as well as many others who have made important contributions to HVAC technology, we can live in comfort regardless of the weather. As science discovers more about how to use renewable energy, scientists are discovering ways to use solar and wind power to heat and cool our homes. Movement-activated air conditioning as well as geothermal heating methods are all things that may continue to revolutionize heating and cooling technologies.

Want to make sure your air conditioning and heat stay amazing all year long? Make sure to schedule your annual maintenance with A.J. Perri by phone or schedule service online.

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Last Updated: June 07, 2024