The 'Apparatus for Treating Air' (U.S. Pat# 808897) granted in 1906, was the first of several patents awarded to Willis Haviland Carrier. The recognized 'father of air conditioning' is Carrier, but the term 'air conditioning' actually originated with textile engineer, Stuart H. Cramer. Cramer used the phrase 'air conditioning' in a 1906 patent claim filed for a device that added water vapor to the air in textile plants - to condition the yarn.
In 1911, Willis Haviland Carrier disclosed his basic Rational Psychrometric Formulae to theAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers. The formula still stands today as the basis in all fundamental calculations for the air conditioning industry. Carrier said he received his 'flash of genius' while waiting for a train. It was a foggy night and he was going over in his mind the problem of temperature and humidity control. By the time the train arrived, Carrier had an understanding of the relationship between temperature, humidity and dew point.
Industries flourished with the new ability to control the temperature and humidity levels during and after production. Film, tobacco, processed meats, medical capsules, textiles and other products acquired significant improvements in quality with air conditioning. Willis and six other engineers formed the Carrier Engineering Corporation in 1915 with a starting capital of $35,000 (1995 sales topped $5 billion). The company was dedicated to improving air conditioning technology.
In 1921, Willis Haviland Carrier patented the centrifugal refrigeration machine. The 'centrifugal chiller' was the first practical method of air conditioning large spaces. Previous refrigeration machines used reciprocating-compressors (piston-driven) to pump refrigerant (often toxic and flammable ammonia) throughout the system. Carrier designed a centrifugal-compressor similar to the centrifugal turning-blades of a water pump. The result was a safer and more efficient chiller.
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