1902: First Modern Electrical Air-Conditioning Unit
Innovation: First Modern Electrical Air-Conditioning Unit
Location: Brooklyn, New York
By: Willis Carrier, built for the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Co.
Air-conditioning had been in existence before electricity. Dr. John Gorrie (1803-1855), an American physician in Florida, built a machine that used ice-cooled air to control the temperature of his patient’s rooms. Later, naval engineers constructed an ice-water contraption for President James Garfield, which was capable of significantly lowering the temperature of a room at the expense of half an million pounds of ice in two months . Neither of these inventions was practical for extensive usage nor for wide-spread consumption.
In 1902, Willis Carrier invented the first modern air conditioner, which he called an “Apparatus for Treating Air”. Unlike its predecessors, this machine was capable of modifying both the temperature and humidity of its environment. After refinements, Carrier was able to patent and release his project on a large scale in the 1920s, allowing office buildings, movie theaters, and crowded skyscrapers to establish comfortable environments for workers and patrons. Following the end of World War II (1945), air-conditioning became universal in many building designs, and is used today for both industry processes and human comfort . `