This 1902 schematic drawing shows the likely air-conditioning system installed at Sackett & Wilhelms, a Brooklyn, New York, lithographer desperate to find a solution to the humidity problems plaguing its printing processes.
This drawing, the result of Willis Carrier’s groundbreaking design, was submitted to Sackett & Wilhelms on July 17, 1902 and provided the basis for the invention that would change the world, the first modern air conditioning system.
The invention of modern air conditioning in July 1902 was just the beginning for Willis Carrier, whose contributions to efficient industrial production and enhanced human comfort over the next 50 years were so comprehensive that he became known as “the Father of Air Conditioning.”
Willis Carrier’s Rational Psychrometric Formulae brought science to what had been the often hit-or-miss design of air-conditioning systems, in the process making Carrier an international name. The chart would be updated and reprinted regularly, serving as an essential tool to generations of engineers.
The experience gained in providing modern air conditioning for some 200 industries would allow Carrier to make a smooth transition into public air conditioning. The work done in movie theaters, including the celebrated installation at the Rivoli Theatre in New York, was especially important in introducing comfort air conditioning to the general public, greatly improving the fortunes of Hollywood and the theater industry.
Confectioners were among the first to adopt modern air conditioning, revolutionizing the manufacture of candy and sweets.
Margaret Ingels began work with Willis Carrier in 1948, recording 96 separate interviews that resulted in his biography, Willis Carrier: Father of Air Conditioning.
Shown in the Carrier plant in 1922, the first centrifugal chiller opened the door to large-scale comfort air conditioning.
On the same day in 1950 that Carrier Corporation completed its 2,000th centrifugal refrigeration machine, Dr. Willis H. Carrier, Chairman Emeritus, visited the Onondaga Pottery Company in Syracuse, N.Y. to inspect his first centrifugal, completed in 1922. The Chief found it in perfect working condition. This picture is thought to be among the last taken of Dr. Carrier.
Passengers dine in style and comfort on the Martha Washington, the Baltimore and Ohio’s dining car made famous as the first railcar cooled by Carrier air conditioning.
When launched in 1937, the S.S. Nieuw Amsterdam was the largest liner ever constructed in the Netherlands and boasted the largest Carrier air-conditioning installation ever afloat.
From the first sale in 1907 of Willis Carrier’s air-conditioning equipment to an international customer, the Fuji silk spinning Company of Yokohama, Dr. Carrier and his company maintained close ties with Japan. shown here in 1937, Carrier invited members of the Japanese trade Commission to Newark Airport for a flight over the Metropolitan area in a United Air lines Mainliner. United Airlines was once owned by United Aircraft Corporation, which became United Technologies Corporation in 1975.
Above, San Antonio touts “The World’s First Air-Conditioned City Bus” in 1946, based on (below) the pioneering work done by Carrier engineers for the Nairn Transport Co. of Beirut in 1937.
Carrier Corporation was a prominent industrial leader during World War II. Here, Willis Carrier is interviewed by NBC Radio about his company’s wartime operations.
On October 7, 1950, shortly before his 74th birthday, Willis Carrier died while on a trip to New York City. It was the end of a rich and remarkable life, the close of an era for both an industry and a company, but just the start of an enduring legacy.
Few pictures demonstrate the breadth of Carrier’s capabilities better than this 1957 shot from the Mobile homes show in the New York Coliseum (at the site of today’s Time Warner Center). A hostess turns the control dial on a tiny one-horsepower Roomette air conditioner for mobile homes, while behind her a Carrier centrifugal chiller provides cooling for the nine acres of exhibit space at the show.
Air conditioning arrived at the Vatican in the summer of 1959 when Carrier centrifugal machines began delivering 10 tons of cooling capacity to combat Rome’s intense summer heat. This gift from a visiting Chicago businessman made Pope John XXIII the first “comfort cooled” Bishop of Rome in the long history of the Catholic Church.