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Willis Haviland Carrier was an American engineer who invented the world’s first air-conditioning system and founded the Carrier Corporation.
See the fact file below for more information on the Willis Haviland Carrier or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Willis Haviland Carrier worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Early Life & Personal Life
- Willis Haviland Carrier was born on November 26, 1876, in Angola, New York. His parents were Duane Williams Carrier, a civil war servant, and Elizabeth R. Haviland, a birthright Quaker.
- He attended Buffalo General High School.
- In 1901, he got a scholarship and graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
- In that same year, he joined the Buffalo Forge Company, a heating system manufacturing company, where he worked as an engineer and expert on commercial heating systems.
- He was a Presbyterian who married three times. His wives were Claire Seymour, Jennie Martin, and Elizabeth Marsh Wise. Howard Carter Willis was his only son.
- In 1902, Sackett & Wilhelms Lithographic and Printing Company commissioned Buffalo Forge to design a system that would bring the humidity down in their printing rooms. This project was handed to Willis.
- The system that Carrier designed for Sackett & Wilhelms is considered the world’s first air-conditioning system.
- “We went at the subject backwards. A more normal approach, the front way, would have been to humidify the air and control its moisture content at a level higher than in outdoor air. But here we were, designing a system to hold the moisture content at a specified level that was lower than in air out of doors. We started the hard way.”
Willis Haviland Carrier
- The system Carrier invented was the world’s first spray-type air conditioner that worked to both wash and humidify or dehumidify air.
- On September 6, 1904, he applied for a patent on his invention, which he called an “Apparatus for Treating Air.”
- The patent was issued on January 2, 1906, and became patent No. 808897.
- Carrier’s air-conditioning system created cool fog, which was called coolth air.
- Air conditioning was defined by Carrier as ”the artificial regulation of atmospheric moisture.”
- In 1906, Carrier discovered that “constant dew-point depression provided practically constant relative humidity.” Air-conditioning engineers called this the Law of Constant Dew-point Depression.
- In 1911, Carrier introduced the science of air conditioning to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He called this “Rational Psychometric Formulae.” The psychometric formulae and charts became an essential and foundational tool of the air-conditioning industry.
- In 1913, the Carrier Air Humidifier was the first self-contained unit to humidify the air in one room.
The Carrier Corporation
- In 1915, Carrier left Buffalo Forge Company and founded the Carrier Engineering Corporation with six of his subordinates from Buffalo Forge.
- They designed the first centrifugal compressor used in air-conditioners.
- The corporation’s first offices were located in Buffalo, New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago.
- Their first factory was opened in Newark, New Jersey, in 1920.
- In the 1930s, Willis transferred the company’s facilities to Syracuse, New York.
- Air-conditioners became a must-have not long after World War II.
- In 1926, Carrier introduced the first home air-conditioner.
- Along with air-conditioning, the refrigeration industry was also pioneered by the Carrier Corporation.
- In 1930, after the Wall Street Crash, the Carrier Engineering Corporation merged with Brunswick-Kroeschell Company and York Heating & Ventilating Corporation. The companies formed the Carrier Corporation, and Willis was named Chairman of the Board.
- Carrier’s manufacturing facilities are now located in Indiana, Tennessee, Texas, Mexico and North Carolina.
Titles & Achievements
- Willis Carrier was awarded the John Scott medal by the city of Philadelphia in 1931.
- Carrier also received an honorary doctorate from Alfred University in 1942 and an engineering degree from Lehigh University in 1935.
- He was also awarded a Frank P. Brown medal in 1942. This medal was awarded to outstanding contributors in the fields of science and engineering.
- In 1949, the Newcomen Society of Great Britain regarded him as the father of air-conditioning.
Death & Legacy
- Willis retired as Chairman of the Board in 1943.
- He died on October 7, 1950, in New York City.
- In 1985, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
- Willis was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of the Century in 1998.
- In 2008, he was inducted into the Buffalo Science Museum Hall of Fame.
Willis Haviland Carrier Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Willis Haviland Carrier across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Willis Haviland Carrier worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Willis Haviland Carrier who was an American engineer who invented the world’s first air-conditioning system and founded the Carrier Corporation.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Willis Haviland Carrier Facts
- Father of Air-conditioning
- Where it all Started
- Willis’ First Patent
- A/C Blueprint
- Carrier Corporation Crossword
- Carrier Locator
- Fact or Fake
- Match the Medals
- Tweet! Tweet!
- Professor Carrier
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