You probably know that Willis Carrier is called the “father of air conditioning” because he developed the first air conditioner while working to solve a humidity problem for a printing firm.
In the HVAC industry, we talk about Carrier’s invention a lot, but air conditioning wasn’t the only significant achievement he had.
What you might not know is that Willis Carrier’s brilliant mind contributed so much more to the world than cool air.
Here are 8 amazing contributions to the world – not counting air conditioning – that Willis Carrier gifted us!
ONE: A Circular Slide Rule
While we always talk about air conditioning, Carrier invented some other “cool” stuff, too.
Did you know he was responsible for a circular slide rule?
Patented in 1881, this device could calculate “dew point control,” a fundamental component of the air conditioning equipment he created later.
More than two decades later, in 1905, Carrier developed the “H-Scale,” a modification of the slide rule. This H-scale introduced logarithmic scales and made calculations more precise.
Engineers and scientists loved it!
TWO: Improved hospital environments and decreased mortality rates
Willis Carrier was responsible for the elimination of mold and bacteria in hospital environments.
After air conditioning was installed, hospital conditions improved because of the cooler, drier, air that didn’t encourage the growth of mildew, mold, and germs. This improved atmosphere decreased the patient mortality rate.
One study found that air conditioning has prevented 18,000 heat-related deaths in the United States since its invention.
Willis Carrier was only trying to keep paper from curling. He had no idea he would be saving lives in the process!
THREE: Enhanced worker productivity
Not only did Carrier save lives, but he also contributed a great deal to the U.S. economy because he made businesses and factories more productive.
Employees worked better, faster, and with fewer absences when they were cool and comfortable in air-conditioned environments. Increased productivity generated more goods and increased company profits.
FOUR: Construction of large buildings
Did you know that the construction of large structures – like the Empire State Building and the Panama Canal – would not have been possible without Willis Carrier?
Because of Carrier’s work on humidity control, concrete could be poured and cured without cracking. Carrier’s invention of air conditioning resulted in larger, multi-storied buildings.
FIVE: A new mathematical formula
In 1911, Carrier developed the Rational Psychrometric Formula.
Most of us are not mathematicians, but this formula was a breakthrough because it allowed engineers to accurately calculate the properties of air, such as temperature, humidity, and dew point.
The formula helped establish standards for the HVAC industry. More than that, it revolutionized the understanding and control of air properties.
SIX: Acoustic innovations
Willis Carrier’s interest extended to acoustics!
Today, if you go to a theater or a recording studio, your experience is improved by one of Carrier’s contributions. You may work in a factory where the noise is buffered with one of Willis Carrier’s inventions.
In 1919, he invented a unique sound-absorbing material known as "sonic curtains." These curtains, made of multiple layers of fabric, effectively reduced noise levels in enclosed spaces. Carrier's sonic curtains revolutionized the field of acoustic engineering and provided a solution for controlling sound transmission.
Seven: Military Munitions
Willis Carrier was a proud American, and he used his facilities to help the Allies during World War II. By 1942, 90% of Carrier’s production was used supplying products needed by the government.
Carrier’s company supplied more than 250 Navy ships with air conditioning and/or refrigeration.
He didn’t stop there.
Carrier developed an advanced dehumidification system that preserved the quality and lifespan of ammunition in storage. Because the weapons had been stored in cool dry conditions, there were fewer “duds,” and they were much more effective in combat.
The Carrier Company was one of only 14 companies in the United States that earned 5 “E” awards during the war. The “E” stood for Excellence in Production.
His contributions to the war effort earned Willis Carrier the prestigious Medal for Merit from the United States government.
EIGHT: Concern for the Environment
Willis Carrier was not only an innovator but also a pioneer in sustainable practices, one of the first manufacturers to promote the importance of energy efficiency.
Carrier introduced the first centrifugal refrigeration machine, a more efficient alternative to existing systems, in 1922. More than a century ago, Carrier was already touting conservation! This innovation led to reduced energy consumption and laid the groundwork for modern eco-friendly cooling technologies.
Carrier was cool in so many ways!
Willis Carrier was a pioneer in air conditioning equipment, but he was cool in so many ways. He made 8 magnificent contributions to the world in addition to air conditioning!
ServiceOne can make magnificent contributions to your world, too.
We may not have invented air conditioning, but we understand everything about it and can repair it, maintain it, or replace it. We can make significant contributions to your comfort and your peace of mind.