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Who Invented Air Conditioning?

by Techcool| July 21, 2020

who invented air conditioning

Image courtesy of Carrier.

One of the highest in-demand appliances in the market ever since its launch is air conditioning.

There is no doubt that most people are investing in this type of device because it can provide a more comfortable environment than usual.

Alongside the fact that it saves people from moist air, which causes hotness, it also has some proven benefits.

It improves the air quality, reduces different types of allergies and asthma, prevents heat strokes and dehydration, and keeps away other appliances from overheating.

In general, air conditioning fundamentally improves the way people work, play, and live.

With this in mind, have you ever asked yourself: Who was the person behind this smart air conditioning?

Willis Carrier, the mind behind air conditioning

willis carrier 1915

Image courtesy of Carrier.

You probably stumble on this familiar brand, namely Carrier. Yes, Carrier is not just a brand; he is the intelligence behind the world's coolest invention until today.

The first functioning air conditioning came from the idea of Willis Carrier on July 17, 1902, when he noticed an air quality problem at the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing & Publishing Company in Brooklyn.

In response to what he experienced in the publishing company, he immediately proposed and submitted illustrations that became the world's first modern air conditioning system.

Carrier went on to invent a more efficient air conditioning unit the centrifugal refrigeration machine, or "chiller."

His invention debuted on Memorial Day weekend in 1925 at the grand opening of the Rivoli Theater in Times Square, treating many movie theater patrons to their first taste of indoor "cool comfort," as advertised by the theater managers.

Willis Carrier's Biography: Who is he?

Willis Haviland Carrier, also known as the Father of Modern Air Conditioning, was born on November 26, 1876, in Angola, New York.

He is the son of Duane Williams Carrier and Elizabeth Haviland. He spent his early education at Angola Academy for two years before starting another journey at Central High School in Buffalo, New York.

Fortunately, Carrier won a scholarship that made him eligible to attend Cornell University.

He finished his electrical engineering degree in 1901 and soon became a research engineer at the Buffalo Forge Company.

Five years later, he became the chief engineer of the company.

He worked at Buffalo Forge Company and helped develop, test, and rate pipe-coil heaters and blowers.

Likewise, he also published the first scientific system of rating tables with defined capacities, resistances, and heaters' speeds involved in different steam pressures and air velocities.

He also developed the spray-type dehumidifier and soon applied this invention when he analyzed the de-humidification process through mechanical refrigeration.

There is no doubt that he became familiar with humidification's essentials during the studies and applications of Carrier on his work. He put concepts into practice for inventions.

Carrier as a research engineer then saw and experienced an air problem at Sackett-Wilhelm Lithography and Publishing Company in 1902.

After he witnessed the problem, he immediately worked and proposed the basic concepts and formulated the first air conditioning system that controls temperature and humidity in the same year.

By 1907, he introduced air conditioning to various plants and cotton mills. The Buffalo Forge Company then led the way to establish a subsidiary called the Carrier Air Conditioning Company.

For the following six years, Carrier acted as the vice-president, research director, and chief engineer of the subsidiary company.

The company was able to market and engineer air conditioning systems to several industries such as tobacco, rubber, pharmaceuticals, and food processing facilities until Buffalo Forge limited its service to manufacturing and left the engineering business in 1914.

who is willis carrier

Image courtesy of Carrier.

After that, Carrier formed the Carrier Engineering Corporation in 1915. Its first offices were located in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, and Buffalo.

Followed by this accomplishment, he developed a new refrigeration machine that uses non-toxic refrigerants and offers a standard installation. The objective of his new invention is human comfort.

The 1920s paved the way for the complete installation of air conditioning systems.

Some of the notable installations were the J.L. Hudson department store in Detroit and the House and Senate Chambers of the American Capitol in 1928.

By 1930, he was able to install air conditioning systems for more than 300 movie theaters.

However, just like any other company, Carrier's company experienced depression during the 1930s.

The company fought for its survival wherein Carrier needed to cut the costs and limit his operations.

1939 brought back the company's success when he invented a system where conditioned air coming from a central station was peeped through tiny steel conduits at high velocity meant for individual rooms.

After World War II, his business flourished again when there came a boom in air conditioning. At that time, all office buildings were forced to install this air conditioning system as a requirement.

In 1948, Carrier was forced to file for retirement due to a heart attack. On October 7, 1950, Willis Carrier died while on his way to New York City.

His remarkable journey ended at this time. He was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo together with his three wives.

Moreover, he was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of the Century.

Likewise, Carrier Company introduced its first CO2 commercial refrigeration in 2004 and celebrated its 111th anniversary in 2013.

Even though Willis Carrier was gone, he left a legacy and an invention that changed the world.

What Happened After Carrier Invented Air Conditioning?

carrier international news

Image courtesy of Carrier.

Once air conditioning was first invented by Carrier it was planned for high-end business buildings. By the 1930s, however, electric air conditioning slowly became a staple of American life, spreading across the country and opening up new possibilities in the hotter south.

The Carrier Company continues to work out of Syracuse , New York, but Carrier is no longer with us. The reach of the company has stretched far beyond America, bringing climate control to over 150 countries.

Carrier was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame after his death, joining such famous companies as George Washington Carver (peanut products), Samuel F.B. Morse (telegraph), and Orville & Wilbur Wright (airplane).

Air Conditioner Working Principle

Typically, an air conditioner will collect hot air in the room and then process it in exchange for a cool atmosphere.

An air conditioner works with five components known as the evaporator, compressor, condenser, expansion valve, and refrigerant.


It is the component known as the heat exchanger coil that takes responsibility for collecting heat present in the room through refrigerant gas.

The liquid refrigerant absorbs the heat and soon evaporates to become gas, which is the compressor's total opposite.

Some of the refrigerant gases in air conditioning systems include HFCs or hydrochlorofluorocarbons and hydrocarbons.

These gases are the ones that absorb heat and travel to the compressor. Note that when the heat enters the evaporator, its pressure decreases, and its heat content is reduced.


This component is responsible for raising the temperature and the pressure of the refrigerant gas that came from the evaporator.

This component needs to increase the temperature so it can accomplish heat removal inside the condenser. The compressor that raises the pressure will also raise the temperature.


This component converts pressured and heated vapor refrigerant that came from the compressor to cool liquid state.

The conditioned liquid then runs on the air conditioning system that helps cool the room or the environment.

Aside from this, the condenser also immerses up the heat collected from the room and transports it back to the condenser. A quality condenser is key to an efficient, cool environment.

Expansion Valve

This component monitors the amount of refrigerant that enters the evaporator. Likewise, it would typically permit small amounts of refrigerant to go through the coil to avoid overflowing.

There are different types of expansion valves, such as an automatic expansion valve, thermostatic expansion valve, capillary tube, and float valve.

In a nutshell, air conditioning work includes collecting and decreasing the heat in an environment, transforming it into cold air then releasing it through different components' actions.

What is the first air conditioner?

The first modern air conditioner was invented by Willis Carrier in 1902. He formulated the idea after he experienced the air problem in a printing plant in Brooklyn.

This is the first time that the world was introduced to a device that improves air quality. Carrier experimented in the laws of humidity and was able to control the temperature inside a given space.

His main idea is to remove the moisture inside a room and control the humidity. Moreover, this device became the model of the recurring air conditioning units throughout the years.

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