Sunday, April 17, 2022

Is It Getting Hot? Turn On That AC!


There, I typed "AC" but in real life, I always say "air conditioning", honest, I do! I live in Georgia and let me tell you folks, it gets HOT in Georgia! Here's the thing about air conditioning, like so many things we take it for granted.  We just switch it on when it gets hot, we expect it to be in all buildings and vehicles and if it breaks, we plead with the repairman to come out and fix it! (Maybe you don't, but I do!) Now, how many of you know who invented it? Anybody?  Ha! Maybe you all know and I am the last one to find out but that won't stop me from telling you about Mr. Willis Haviland Carrier and his wonderful invention...

Willis Haviland Carrier was an American engineer born in Angola, New York on Nov. 26, 1876. He graduated from Angola Academy in 1894 and from Buffalo High School in 1897. He then attended Cornell University and graduated with a Master of Engineering degree in 1901.  Alright, got those dates in mind? Now, I am going to tell you that in the summer of 1902, a publishing company was having great difficulties with the humidity and heat in Brooklyn, New York. The paper to be used in printing would grow and shrink in the humidity.  Mr, Carrier to the rescue! He submitted drawings for what would become the first modern air conditioning system. We may think of it as just cooling the air, but it must do these four things:

1.  Control temperature

2. Control humidity

3. Control air circulation and ventilation

4. Cleanse the air


After more refinement, Mr. Carrier was granted a patent for his invention in 1906. (He called it "an apparatus for treating air".)   He received another patent in 1907 for the "law of constant dewpoint depression".  I have read that he stepped off a train station in the early morning in a dense fog and that started his mind turning! He learned that getting rid of the humidity was the way to cool the air. The key was to dry the air by producing artificial fog.

The first use of his air conditioning was for businesses such as the publishing company that I told you about. The first building to be air conditioned just for comfort was the New York Stock Exchange Building in NYC which was also in 1902. The first time that it was used in a home was in 1926.   The following video explains how it is used in the Sistine Chapel, "The Art of the Invisible"....




Fast forward to the early 1960's in Georgia...which was MY childhood.  I well remember stepping into a drugstore with my Daddy and the cold air that blasted out as I crossed over the threshold is something I will never forget! "What is that?!", I remember asking him.  "Tee, hee, hee....THAT is air conditioning!", he replied.  Ah, don't worry, it didn't take me long to get used to it and I didn't want to leave! It was so lovely and cool and you know I sat at a counter and had a Cherry Coke before we left! (With a paper straw, of course!) We didn't have air conditioning in our homes or schools.  I don't think that came as a standard thing until the late 1970s.  I have tried to explain to our son that things like watermelon and ice cream were such an important part of summer for us, they were cooling and very, very welcome in the Georgia heat!



RATIONAL PSYCHROMETRIC FORMULAE

THEIR RELATION TO THE PROBLEMS OF METEOROLOGY AND OF AIR CONDITIONING

By Willis H. Carrier

ABSTRACT OF PAPER

In many industries such as the manufacture of textiles, food products, high explosives, photographic films, tobacco, etc., regulation of the humidity of the atmosphere is of great importance. This paper deals with the subject of the artificial regulation of atmospheric moisture, technically known as air conditioning. It gives a theoretical discussion of the subject in which formulae are developed for the solution of problems. These formulae are based upon the most recently determined data and in order to establish a logical basis for the presentation of these data and the derivation of the formulae, the principles governing atmospheric moisture are reviewed and the present methods of determining atmospheric humidity are discussed.









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 Most of the dogwood trees have now lost their blossoms and underneath them you may see a carpet of white petals.  If you ever find yourself underneath one on a sunny day, make sure you take a photo. I asked Richard to do so and here it is!

Hope you are all doing well these days, my friends!

And next time you find yourself on a foggy day, think of our hero, Mr. Carrier and how grateful we all are for his invention.














17 comments:

  1. I remember that black GE fan that was my air conditioning as a kid! Now it's a collectable! We had a window AC in the 60's but it was in my folks bedroom. On super hot nights we would all sleep in that room on the floor! I'm very grateful for AC and I know Jack wouldn't survive the summers without it. Even in the North the heat and humidity are killers here in Ohio. So a big thanks to Mr. Carrier! We won't need any cool air yet. Mother Nature is sending some our way along with snow tomorrow. Then by next weekend it will be almost 80de here! The ups and downs of Spring here! Happy Easter Kay! Our dogwood trees haven't bloomed yet but I'll certainly take a pic when they do!

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    1. We had a window AC in our living room but not until 1980, I think! 😊Our Spring has been unusually cool but I like it!! Won't be long til we have our 90+ temps and we will all be sweating all over the place!! Take care!

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  2. How we do love our conditioned air. Thank you, Mr. Carrier!

    Dogwoods are so beautiful, i just don't get to see many around here and i miss them.

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    1. You are in Louisiana so you know how heat plus humidity can make you miserable!

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  3. Over here, we were not used to particularly long and hot summers until a few years ago. Only recently, many people have had AC installed in their homes (those who have enough money and are willing to pay high electricity bills and don‘t mind their carbon footprint to be a bit on the large side), and only the most modern office buildings will have them. Shops, especially food selling places, have been having AC for much longer. I must admit I don‘t like the contrast of extremely cool air inside a building or vehicle on a hot summer‘s day. It makes my nose clog up and my eyes dry, and I am much rather warm than cool. But then of course our climate is nothing like Georgia!
    And your account of how it all came about is, as always, interesting and entertaining.

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    1. I think what you describe is very similar to England but with climate change over the years, I notice more and more air conditioned places there! I just found Mr. Carrier's story interesting but then, I do find most invention stories pretty fascinating.

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  4. Air conditioning! How I love it on a hot summer day! Thanks for the background info!

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  5. I enjoy your nods to history and learn some interesting things. Before Mr. Carrier there was another pioneer who invented the first 'ice machine' which was the primitive basis for refrigeration and air conditioning. In the 1800s in the charming town of Apalachicola, Florida, a man named John Gorrie invented the first known air conditioning machine. It was for the purpose of cooling down patients suffering from Yellow Fever. Mr. Gorrie died before perfecting his invention, but Floridians still bless his memory every sweltering Summer.

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    1. Oh me, I looked up John Gorrie and I am thankful to him for refrigerators and ice machines! And I'm sure his AC was great at the time! Florida heat is intense,I know!

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  6. Got me toe tapping this morning as I sip my coffee. LOVE Martha Rreves and Vandals. Love Motown still. Much better than lots of the new music in my opinion. Yes, I sorta knew about Mr. Carrier, but love history so enjoyed your post. Ice cream, watermelon yep huge part of summer and trying to cool off, as was running cold water on your writs, taking a ride in the car in the country to cool off before going to bed. Kids today really don't understand.

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    1. Hey Sandy! That's the kind of thing I would answered in a trivia contest just to be funny!! (Who invented the AC? Mr. Carrier? Even I have heard of Carrier AC Company!) And how I agree with you about Motown! My 30 yr old son does too, he just loaned me several books on Motown that he truly enjoyed!! Ah, summers of my youth when I just wanted to dive into a cold watermelon!! And beg to be squirted with a water hose!!

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  7. Great post, another thing I've learned. Didn't realize Carrier was the inventor of air conditioners.

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    1. Like I said above, it's something I would have guessed in a trivia contest to be funny! I love learning how people invent things, I find it fascinating. Stay cool! ☺

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  8. Captcha in effect here? Not sure.

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  9. Really interesting history of the inventor of AC, something that many countries take for granted now but with ever rising global temperatures more essential now than ever before.

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