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Willis Carrier: 10 Stunning Facts You Might Not Know

You probably know that Willis Carrier is known as the “Father of Air Conditioning.”

In 1902, he worked for an engineering firm tasked with helping a printing company. The printing company was frustrated because the paper often curled or shrunk, making it impossible for the colors to line up on four-color press runs.

The humidity in the air is what caused the paper to misbehave.

So Willis Carrier, a young engineer with a degree from Cornell University, stepped in.

His air conditioning invention changed the world.

But as “cool” as that is, Willis Carrier did so much more than that single invention!

Here are 10 stunning facts you might not know about Willis Carrier.

ONE: The Circular Slide Rule

ONE:  More than twenty years before Willis Carrier invented air conditioning, he got a patent for a device he created:  The Circular Slide Rule.

The Circular Slide Rule, patented in 1881, laid the foundation for Carrier’s later invention because it could calculate dew point control.

TWO:  A New Mathematical Formula

After Carrier created the circular slide rule and designed the first air conditioner, he developed a special, new mathematical formula.  (Obviously, he loved calculations!)

His formula was called the Rational Psychometric Formula and it allowed scientists and mathematicians to accurately determine the temperature, humidity, and dew point of air.

From 1911 on, Carrier’s formula helped guide the HVAC industry and enabled understanding and control of the properties of air.

THREE: Sound Engineering

Willis Carrier was interested in the properties of air, and that led him to an interest in acoustics.

Sound waves, after all, travel through the air.

In 1919, Carrier invented the “sonic curtain.” He created a sound-absorbing material made of multiple layers of fabric. When hung, his sonic curtains could muffle sound.

Theaters, music studios, recording businesses, and factories use versions of Carrier’s sonic curtains for noise containment even now.

FOUR: Early Promoter of Sustainable Energy

More than a century ago, Carrier developed the first centrifugal refrigeration machine.

All the way back in 1922, Carrier was looking for ways to conserve energy. His centrifugal refrigeration machine helped pave the way for modern energy efficiency and eco-friendly cooling techniques.

FIVE: Navy Ships Got Cooler

The Carrier Company had been in business for several decades when World War II struck.

Carrier did everything he could to help the United States and its allies, including providing more than 250 Navy ships with cooling and refrigeration.

SIX: Duds and Dehumidifiers

Carrier’s field of study and expertise came in handy during the war.

He designed an advanced dehumidifier specifically for military munitions.

Since ammunition was now stored in a climate-controlled environment devoid of excess humidity, weapons were much more effective in combat with a huge decrease in “duds,” thanks to Carrier.

SEVEN: WWII production efforts

During the war, Carrier shifted the manufacturing efforts of his plants for the good of the nation. By 1942, 90% of the Carrier Company production supplied products to the government for the war effort.


Under Carrier’s leadership, the Carrier company earned 5 “E”s.

An “E” was an award from the government that denoted “Excellence in Production.

Throughout the war, only fourteen companies in the whole country earned 5 stars.

The Carrier Company was one of them.

NINE: Willis Carrier Earned a Medal of Merit

When you think of Willis Carrier, you probably don’t imagine him sporting a military medal.

But he did.

Willis Carrier was awarded the Medal of Merit for his efforts for the country during World War II.

TEN: Life-Saving

The number of lives Willis Carrier saved throughout his career is incalculable.

Once air conditioning was installed in hospitals, the death rate of patients decreased. Fewer germs and less bacteria could grow in the cooler, drier, environment.

Patient recovery increased, but it wasn’t just the hospitals that improved lifespans.

Before air conditioning, the mortality rate across the nation increased in the summer. Once air conditioning became commonplace, fewer people died in the heat.

One study suggested that Willis Carrier has prevented at least 18,000 heat-related deaths in the United States every year since 1902.

Plus, workplace productivity shot up with fewer absentee days and more productivity because employees were cooler with air conditioning.

What Elite Heating and Air Conditioning has in common with Willis Carrier

Elite Heating and Air Conditioning of South Jersey did NOT invent air conditioning, the circular slide rule, or a special formula to calculate the hidden principles of air.

But we do understand everything about commercial heating and air equipment. We’re experts with more than 25 years of experience keeping people cool. We follow the trends, utilize creative problem-solving, and are on the cutting edge of technology.

Call us. We can maintain, repair, or replace your system and make you as cool as Carrier intended you to be!

No excuses. Just results.

Elite Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.

Delivering Reliable Commercial HVAC Services Since 1996

Elite Heating and Air Conditioning New Jersey

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