Today is the 114th anniversary of modern air conditioning, courtesy of Willis Carrier. It was on this day in 1902 that Carrier signed a set of design drawings that would become the world’s first modern air-conditioning system, installed at the Sackett-Wilhelm printing plant in Brooklyn.
This year also happens to be a milestone of sorts because it's the first anniversary on which no American alive today was alive then; the country's oldest supercentenarian, Adele Dunlap, was born on December 12, 1902, a few months after Carrier's design was installed. The gentle passage from current event to history is complete.
Over the course of Adele Dunlap's life, the global HVAC market has grown to more than $90 billion annually. It’s responsible for untold productivity--including keeping the Cloud up and running so you can read this blog post. It’s also made millions of people more comfortable and happier—including me as I write this post on a 92F New England day.
In Weathermakers to the World we trace this remarkable story, the full trajectory of modern air conditioning from Brooklyn to the Vatican, the Sun Belt to Singapore.
But Who’s Your Daddy?
Willis Carrier is called the Father of Air Conditioning, in part, because of this famous 1902 design. But he really earned his claim to fatherhood in 1911 when he gave to the entire industry a decade of intellectual capital in the form of his Rational Psychrometric Formulae, and a series of foundational equipment designs. Carrier and his engineering teams had come so far, so fast--and saw so much opportunity they couldn’t possibly address--that by 1911, if they really wanted to lead an “industry,” they had to invent an industry by putting some competitors in business.
That’s one way to build a $90 billion legacy.