NAPO - CEPA - Reading Type 4 - Text 1

Air Conditioning


     In 1902, only one year after Willis Haviland Carrier graduated from Cornell University with a Masters in Engineering, the first air conditioning was in operation in a Brooklyn printing plant. Prior to this, changes in heat and humidity in the factory caused problems with the printing paper and with the colored inks. The new air conditioning machine created a stable environment and good four-color printing became possible - all thanks to the new employee at the Buffalo Forge Company, who started on a salary of only ten dollars per week.

     Carrier said he received his 'flash of genius' while waiting for a train. It was a foggy night and he was going over in his mind the problem of temperature and humidity control. By the time the train arrived, Carrier had an understanding of the relationship between temperature, humidity and dew point. This formula, which he revealed in 1911, still stands today as the basis for calculations within the air conditioning industry. Carrier was granted a patent for the 'Apparatus for Treating Air' in 1906.

     Industries grew quickly with the new ability to control the temperature and humidity levels during and after production. Film, tobacco, processed meats, medical capsules, textiles and other products improved significantly in quality with air conditioning. Willis and six other engineers formed the Carrier Engineering Corporation in 1915 with a starting capital of thirty five thousand dollars. By 1995 their sales were over five billion dollars.

     Cooling for human comfort, rather than industrial need, began in 1924, with three Carrier chillers in the J.L. Hudson Department Store in Detroit. Shoppers went in large numbers to the 'air conditioned' store. The boom in human cooling eventually spread from department stores to movie theaters, most notably the Rivoli theater in New York.

     Although Carrier is known as the 'father of air conditioning', the term actually originated with textile engineer, Stuart H. Cramer. Cramer used the phrase 'air conditioning' in a 1906 patent claim for a device that added water vapor to the air in textile plants. Carrier didn’t even invent the first system to cool an interior structure; however, his system was the first truly successful and safe one that started the science of modern air conditioning.


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