Printing problem led to first air conditioner

In 1902, Willis Haviland Carrier did for indoor climate control what Alexander Graham Bell did for communication and Henry Ford did for transportation. And he profoundly changed the way we live.

While trying to figure out a way to solve a printing company’s humidity problem, this young engineer invented mechanical air-conditioning.

The Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company of Brooklyn were having difficulty with its printing jobs during the summer. The paper it used absorbed moisture from the air and expanded, so colors printed on humid days didn’t line up with those printed on drier days. The result was blurry images.

Carrier, then 25, theorized he could control the troublesome moisture in the printing plant by chilling the air. He designed a machine that blew air over artificially cooled pipes . and the process controlled both humidity and temperature.

The term ''air-conditioning'' didn’t come into use until 1906, however. That’s when textile engineer Stuart Cramer patented an apparatus that released moisture into the air to condition yarn.

Carrier had called his invention ''Apparatus for Treating Air''. But Cramer’s name was considerably catchier and was the one that eventually stuck for cooling equipment.

Names aside, Carrier`s invention was soon being used in many industrial buildings, including the Celluloid Corporation that made film for the movie industry . a portent of things to come.

The first use of air-conditioning for the sole purpose of human comfort came in 1914, when Carrier designed special equipment for the Charles Gates mansion in Minneapolis, Minnesota. That first home conditioner was 20 feet long, 6 feet wide and 7 feet high!

Carrier also developed Dielene a safer refrigerant than ammonia. This allowed the air-conditioning of public places, not just industrial plants.

In 1922, air-conditioning made its public debut at Grauman`s Metropolitan Theatre in Los Angeles. In 1925, the Rivoly Theatre in New York lured patrons in from the heat with the promise of a ''refrigerating plant'' to keep them cool.

Air-conditioning was real life safer for the movie industry, since business traditionally dropped off during the hot summer month. This way especially true in the South, where theatres advertised ''cool and clear'' weather inside as relief from oppressive heat.

The first department store to be air-conditioned was the J.L. Hudson Co. in Detroit in 1924. That solved the problem of people fainting in the crowed basement on sale days!

Willis Carrier air-conditional the U.S. Representatives in 1928 and the Senate in 1929, making summer sessions feasible in muggy Washington D.C. The White House got its air-conditional system in 1930.

Yet another invention made it possible to cool skyscrapers. Conventional methods of air-conditioning required large ductwork along walls and ceilings. In 1939, Carrier developed a system that distributed conditioned air at high velosity throught small conduits and offered room-by-room control, making it practical for the first time to cool tall buildings.

It was also in the late `30s that the availability of Freon, a nonflammable refrigerant, made room air conditioners possible. The units could be made safer and for less money, since Freon was especially suitable for small units with less capacity. Carrier played no part in the development of Freon, but he was quick to make use if it as a pioneer in the field of small units.

Willis Carrier died in 1950, before home air-conditional systems became common. That was a development he likely could not have foreseen back in 1902 when he set out to find a way to improve printing.

Реферат опубликован: 4/04/2007