Summer Heat Wave Before AC: History of Air-Conditioning
John Gorrie Museum State Park
HowStuffWorks: How Air Conditioners Work
The Writings of Benjamin Franklin: Cooling by Evaporation
As much of the United States suffers through another heat wave, it seems like a good idea to pause and thank the inventor of modern air conditioning: Willis Carrier. On July 17, 1902, a rather momentous event took place on the second floor of a Brooklyn printing plant. Carrier, a junior engineer from a furnace company, had figured out that if you could keep humidity at a balanced rate, it would not seem so sweltering. Interestingly enough, the solution was developed to help print the humor magazine, Judge. The problem in the printing plant was that the ink on the publication would not dry quickly enough, and subscribers were anxious to receive this jocular weekly. Thinking on his feet, Carrier devised a solution that incorporated fans, ducts, heaters, and perforated pipes. He was able to force air across pipes filled with cool water from a well, and the following year, he added a refrigerating machine. Today the same building in Brooklyn is now the home of the International Studio and Curatorial Program, and appropriately enough, the building does not have central air conditioning.
The first link will take visitors to a great piece from the New York Times' "City Room" feature about this most efficacious invention. The second link will whisk users away to a piece from Time magazine by Katy Steinmetz which recounts the history of air conditioning. Moving along, the third link celebrates the work of Dr. John Gorrie,a physician who pioneered early air conditioning advances in the sweltering heat of Florida's panhandle. The fourth link takes users to the homepage of the John Gorrie Museum State Park, which is located in downtown Apalachicola, Florida. The fifth link will lead visitors to a very informative site from the folks at HowStuffWorks about how air conditioners work. The final link will take users to a letter written by Benjamin Franklin in 1758 about his experiment "for cooling bodies by evaporation" (scroll down to find it).