Buffalo Inventor Wilis Carrier: Air Conditioner

Willis Haviland Carrier is the subject of this edition of our series on Buffalo area patents and inventors.

As we get into these warm months of summer, remember to thank Willis Haviland Carrier, a Western New York inventor, for keeping your indoors cool.

Born on his family’s farm in Angola, New York in 1875, Carrier invented the first modern Air Conditioner. At a young age His father, Duane Carrier taught Willis problem solving which lead to Willis’ interest of becoming an engineer.

After winning a state scholarship, Carrier graduated from Cornell University in 1901 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

While working at the Buffalo Forge Company in 1906, Carrier built “Apparatus for Treating Air” and received US patent number 808,897 (.PDF).This invention controlled heat while lowering humidity to as low at 55% by using chilled coils.

By 1911 Willis Carrier came up with the ‘Rational Psychometric Formula‘  which is still used today. He formed the Carrier Engineering Corporation on June 26, 1915.

Some of first places that received air conditioning systems from Carrier Air Conditioners were: Madison Square Garden, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and the White House, as well as many other important buildings.

Another important contribution of Willis Carrier was the refrigeration technology used to help Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s trip to the moon. The space suits worn when the men walked on the moon in 1969, were equipped with cooling systems to protect them from the negative effects of outer space.

Carrier was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1985.

These are just a few of Willis Haviland Carrier’s great achievement that all started in a little farming town in Western New York.