The Invention That Changed The World
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.
The Launch of Carrier Air Conditioning Company
In the opening decades of the 20th century, Willis Carrier established Carrier Air Conditioning of America as the worldwide leader, advancing the science and application of air conditioning across multiple industries around the globe.
Launched as an independent company in 1915 by Willis Carrier and six other courageous entrepreneurs, Carrier Engineering Corporation provided manufactured weather to over 200 industries with an unmatched promise of "the whole job, the whole responsibility, and a contract for results."
Beyond the Factory
The introduction of centrifugal refrigeration by Willis Carrier in 1922 was a landmark event, launching modern air conditioning from the factory floor into movie theaters, office buildings and department stores, and treating the general public to its first taste of cool, clean and comfortable "Manufactured Weather."
Weathermaker to the World
Despite the Great Depression, Carrier Corporation never stopped investing in the art and science of air conditioning leading the industry in railroad and marine applications, and pioneering the creation of efficient systems for business and home. The company extended its reach to markets in every corner of the globe, enhancing its unparalleled position as "Weathermakers to the World."
Carrier Corporation provided exceptional leadership throughout World War II even as it prepared diligently to meet the needs of a postwar world. In his final decade, Willis Carrier successfully completed one of the most satisfying projects of his storied career before becoming Chairman Emeritus and turning his company over to a new generation of leadership.
Growing With the Babyboomers
A half-century after his invention of modern air conditioning, Willis Carrier's rich legacy included the creation of a billion-dollar industry and founding of the preeminent global provider of commercial air conditioning. In the next 25 years, Carrier Corporation grew with the postwar baby boom to become the largest player in the flourishing market for residential comfort air that would change the face of the world.
Expanded Global Reach
The marriage of United Technologies Corporation with Carrier proved to be a formidable combination, resulting in creation of a Global Manufacturing Platform and market leadership in every region of the world, backed by an unparalleled commitment to environmental sustainability.
Built on Willis Carrier's extraordinary invention of modern air conditioning and his unyielding commitment to innovation, Carrier today is a lean, focused company meeting the needs of local markets with global resources, and leading the industry with products that delight customers while protecting our fragile envirionment—natural leadership for the 21st century.
Built on Willis Carrier's extraordinary invention of modern air conditioning and his unyielding commitment to innovation, Carrier today is a lean, focused company meeting the needs of local markets with global resources, and leading the industry with products that delight customers while
natural leadership for the 21st century.
Very few industries survive to the century mark. Fewer still can define themselves as "growth industries" more than a hundred years after their origin. Modern air conditioning, invented by Willis Carrier in 1902 and transformed over the decades into the business of air conditioning, heating and refrigeration, is one of those exceptional few.
What began as a flash of genius in a young engineer's mind has become a vibrant multibillion dollar industry. Since its founding, Carrier has led the world in commercial air conditioning applications and in residential year-round comfort. The company's equipment controls climates in the world's essential industries, tallest buildings and grandest theaters, and in homes of every shape and description. The company enables the international transportation network to ship and display for sale fresh and frozen foodstuffs globally.
Through it all, Carrier has focused—in the defining spirit of its founder—on continually innovating to create elegant technology solutions for what are fundamentally human problems. In short, Carrier invented the industry, and continues to reinvent it every day.
By the mid-1990s, for example, the company was expanding globally into adjacent segments of refrigeration. The result was a doubling of revenue to more than $8 billion. Then, as Carrier re-emphasized its core businesses, it added new growth platforms around controls and energy services. Today, Carrier is part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies.
From the first international sale of air-conditioning equipment in Japan in 1907, Carrier has achieved success in international markets by being first and building strong local partnerships. This strategy, practiced today in places like China, India, the Middle East and Latin America, continues to create growth markets for Carrier's products and services.
China is a shining example. By 1994 Carrier had signed agreements to form seven joint ventures in this huge, emerging market.
Within a decade, Carrier equipment was a vital part of some of China's most visible installations, including the Great Hall of the People in Beijing and, in 2005, the ancient Hall of Treasures and Hall of Clocks at the Beijing Palace Museum. With the company's success at the Barcelona and Athens Games, Carrier secured 70 percent of the climate control projects awarded at the 2008 Beijing Games.
India presents another exceptional growth market for Carrier in the new millennium. Carrier began manufacturing there in 1988, and by the mid-90s had established a formidable distribution network including 290 exclusive dealers. In 1993, Carrier Transicold began serving the transport refrigeration business in India, where today it enjoys a leadership position in the industry with a large network of service dealers and parts distribution.
In 1996, Carrier won an important order to air condition the new Sahar International Airport in Mumbai, followed by the contracts to provide refrigeration for the HyperCity superstore in Mumbai in 2006, air conditioning for the Delhi International Airport in 2008, and cooling for apartments that housed athletes participating in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Also that year, ITC Hotel Royal Gardenia in Bangalore became Asia's first and the world's largest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum-rated "green" hotel, thanks to Carrier.
A fundamental theme of Carrier's natural leadership in the 21st century is its continued commitment to environmental sustainability. In 1996 the company launched the Evergreen® chiller, the first centrifugal chiller to use non-ozone-depleting refrigerant. In 1998 Carrier introduced the Puron® brand, also a non-ozone-depleting refrigerant—six years before the next competitor.
Carrier was instrumental in launching the U.S. Green Building Council® in 1993 and was the first company in the world to join the organization. Carrier became the first heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) manufacturer permitted entry into the "Climate Leaders Program" by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2003.
Later, the company was appointed as a formal international advisor to the China Green Building Council and sponsored the Moscow 2008 Green Buildings Conference. In 2009 Carrier was invited to be a founding member of the Singapore Green Building Council, and the next year pledged more than $1.5 million to establish the Willis H. Carrier Total Indoor Environmental Quality lab, a 10,000-square-foot facility in the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems designed to provide cutting-edge research into the factors that affect human health and performance in building environments.
In 2004, Carrier introduced its first CO2 system for commercial refrigeration and today supports more than 300 stores in northern Europe using CO2OLtec™ systems, while in 2010 the company announced NaturaLINE, the container refrigeration industry's first natural refrigerant technology.
In another equally transformative initiative, Carrier's Internet home page opened for business in August 1996.
Today, Carrier is fully involved in using Web-based commercial tools to improve operating efficiency and enhance the customer experience, and has launched social media tools to complement its traditional advertising channels.
Throughout this entire period, Carrier continued to complete high-visibility, pioneering installations around the world. In 1996, the company captured contracts for the tallest building in Hanoi, Vietnam, the largest commercial complex in Hong Kong and the busiest casino in North America. It helped to preserve John Lennon's guitar and Elvis Presley's black leather stage outfit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum in Cleveland, and cool 22 tanks with more than 4,000 fish at L'Aquarium Barcelona, the most important man-made underwater sanctuary for Mediterranean species. In 1999 Carrier won the order to air condition the largest commercial building ever built in Ghana—the Millennium Plaza in Accra—that would become the most energy-efficient and environmentally responsible in the country.
Carrier also continued acquiring and partnering to build its presence around the world. In 1999, Carrier acquired International Comfort Products Corporation, a Nashville, Tennessee, maker of residential and commercial HVAC systems. On April 1, 1999, Carrier and Toshiba, the largest air-conditioning player in the Japanese market, formed a joint venture—Toshiba Carrier—that provided significant product and distribution advantages to both companies and their customers globally. In 2004 Carrier acquired Linde Refrigeration, adding the commercial refrigeration expertise, brand and reach of this storied company, and in 2008 added NORESCO, a leading energy services company, and Environmental Market Solutions, Inc., a green building company that helped the Beijing Olympic Village become the first project in China to achieve LEED® Neighborhood Development certification.
On July 17, 2002, more than 300 million people around the world opened their newspapers or turned on their televisions to learn about the 100th anniversary of Willis Carrier's invention of modern air conditioning. Fittingly, it was a sunny, warm and humid day in Brooklyn, New York, about 10 miles from that first installation, where Carrier executives gathered with New York education officials at the W.E. Grady High School to dedicate the new Willis H. Carrier Academy. Supported with a $100,000 grant from Carrier, the academy offered high school students a three-year program in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration technology. Carrier Corporation's support of the academy honored Dr. Carrier's lifelong appreciation of and commitment to education.
In the centennial year of 2002, Carrier grew to $8 billion in revenue, completing a century as the world leader in heating, cooling and refrigeration.
As the first decade of the 21st century came to a close, Carrier established ventures with partners in Australia, Europe and the Middle East.
In 2010, Carrier introduced the CO2NSERVATION Meter, designed to calculate avoided greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since the year 2000 as a result of the installation of high-efficiency Carrier air conditioning, heating and refrigeration systems by customers around the world. In September 2011, the company announced that the CO2NSERVATION Meter reached 100 million metric tons of greenhouse gases saved. This is the equivalent of removing more than 19 million cars from the road for one year, or the electricity used by more than 12 million homes for one year. Also that year, Carrier's Monterrey Commercial Plant became the first facility in the global heating, ventilation and air-conditioning industry to be LEED Gold certified.
Carrier also continued to innovate, expanding into the growing sports complex industry with important indoor venues in Beijing, Shanghai and throughout Europe, cooling the new Muscat International Airport in Oman, and launching the Vector 1550 trailer refrigeration unit featuring all-electric technology to lower energy consumption and enhance environmental performance.
In the new millennium—110 years after the historic installation of modern air conditioning at a printing plant in Brooklyn—the prospects for Willis Carrier's invention have never been so promising.