Willis Carrier Got The World’s First Air Conditioner Patent

Willis Carrier Got The World’s First Air Conditioner Patent


Willis Carrier is the pioneer in air conditioning technology and is the one that invented and brought Carrier Air Conditioner.

Willis Carrier was born on November 26th, 1876 in New York in the city of Angola.

He earned his engineering BS degree in the year 1901 from the University of Cornell in his early twenties.

Immediately upon completion of his engineering degree, he was hired by the Buffalo Forge Company.

He began his work on the totally new concept of Air Conditioning at Buffalo Forge Company.

It took a little more than a year for Carrier to develop the first-ever Air Conditioning System in the world.

It was on January 2nd, 1906 that Carrier received his first ever recognition for his hard work.

He received United States Patent for his invention of Air Conditioning Technology marking the beginning.

Air Conditioning Brought About A Revolution

Many industries and lives benefited and prospered with his invention and he also took up the next biggest challenge.

The challenge of controlling humidity in an industrial environment seemed quite challenging with no answers in sight.

Carrier solved this challenge in 1911 by developing ‘Rational Psychometric Formulae’ connecting the dots between humidity conditions.

This gave rise to the fundamental calculations in the standards of Air Conditioning and humidity control in indoors.

Carrier founded his own Air Conditioning manufacturing unit in the year 1915 which was named ‘Carrier Corporation’.

Willis Carrier was honoured with a doctorate twice from the University of Lehigh in the year 1935 and in 1945 from the University of Alfred.

Willis Carrier made his debut by stepping into the list of ‘Hall of Fame’ for National Inventors.

Time magazine in the year 1998 recognized and honoured Willis Carrier placing him among 100 most influential people of the twentieth century.

  • Till date, Carrier has prominently occupied the position of the ‘Father of Modern Air Conditioning’.
  • Carrier made it possible to control the indoor temperature of almost any space, be it commercial or residential.
  • Much to the surprise to many, Willis wasn’t a born genius and rather had trouble with numbers as a kid.
  • He had plenty of trouble with recognizing and solving fractions and struggled his way through.
  • His mother helped him overcome this problem by giving him practical lessons by cutting apples into equal parts.
  • Carrier admitted that the practical lessons given by his mother proved to be the major breakthrough in his career.
  • It made it possible for him to solve complex problems and improving his critical thinking.

How The Idea Struck

Ideas always strike when one least expects it and the same occurred one early morning with Carrier at Pittsburg.

It was when he was waiting for his train while trying his best to peer through the thick fog and the idea was conceived.

It dawned on him that the fog could be generated by passing dry air through water and this marked an important milestone.

A significant invention for producing moisture, the air was conceived and later proved practically.

In the year 1902, Willis Carrier made the most remarkable inventions which were the Humidity Controller.

This solved one of the most critical problems faced by many manufacturing industries and printing businesses.

This invention gave a high boost to many industries such as printing, pharmaceutical, pastries, packaging, dyeing, yarn, textiles etc.

The advent of Air Conditioning and Humidifiers also gave a lavish boost to the moving pictures and the movie industry.

The audience loved the idea of a cool and dry movie theatre where they could enjoy movies while escaping the heat.

Many shopping complexes and Malls also saw huge crowds owing to Air Conditioning and Humidifying.

Printing industry the world over was almost ruined due to humidity which spoiled the end product.

Carrier’s invention brought about a permanent solution to this problem by pulling out humidity from the shop floor.

Once Carrier set-up his own Air Conditioning has produced a corporation called the ‘Carrier Corp’ he set up a robust Delivery System.

He identified a strong network of Dealers, Distributors, Stockiest, and Customer across US, Europe, and Asia.

His inventions spread like wildfire across all nations into offices, residences, commercial complexes, and factories.

To be precise, it was in July 17nth 1902 when Willis Havilland Carrier launched his first Air Conditioner.

Need For Air Conditioning Defined

The printing industry bags the credit for creating the ‘Need’ for inventing Air Conditioning and humidifying systems.

The printing industries just could not deliver in spite of their best effort because of humidity being their erstwhile enemy.

If was Sackett Wilhelms Lithography & Printing Co in Brooklyn who came to Buffalo Forge Co for help in de-humidification.

This step marked the beginning of a whole new era which brought about a drastic change in this old world.

On behalf of his employer the Buffalo Forge Company, Carrier prepared the drawing for an Air Conditioning System.

Willis was just 25 years old then and very innovative as well as industrious with a passion to excel.

Carrier is not only known to pioneer Air Conditioning systems but also invented several other allied systems.

Some of his prominent inventions include – Coffee Dryer, Lumber Dry Kiln and Heating Plant.

The company that Willis Carrier worked for, Buffalo Forge was involved in the supply of Fans, Forges, blast heaters etc.

This company also dealt with heating plants, coffee dryer, and Lumber Dry Kiln as stock in trade.

Let’s see how this whole idea was conceived and how it was actually developed and how resourceful Carrier was.

  • It all began with troubles faced by the paper and printing industry and the year was 1902 when they needed a solution.
  • Walter Timmis was a smart engineer who was consulting for Sackett & Wilhelms when he was confronted with this problem.
  • Irvine Lyle was the Marketing Engineer and Sales Head for Buffalo Forge Company where Carrier worked.
  • Walter was tasked with resolving the issue of humidity which was ruining the business at Sackett & Wilhelms.

The Breakthrough In De-Humidification

The issue sounded quite critical and one of the major clients, The Judge Magazine’s delivery was at stake.

The issue looked quite critical and difficult to understand since it involved art as well as engineering.

During the printing and designing process, the printing applied just selected colour at a time which failed to align.

The problem seemed to be during the expansion and contraction of the paper pile which resulted in messing end results.

Walter was a highly resourceful and experienced engineer and hence, knew for sure a permanent solution.

All that he needed was engineering help and which he knew he could get from the Buffalo Forges Company.

This was the reason why he was meeting Lyle and discussing the issue in depth and also suggesting solutions.

Lyle was one of the best salesmen and outstanding engineer who was exceptionally good at sizing.

By virtue of his experience, his gut feeling told him that Willis is the right guy and will come out with a solution.

Willis did live up to the expectations of Irvine Lyle and did the job with such perfection that the world just watched in silence.

This marked the launch of an innovation in mankind that brought about a permanent solution.

It was July 18nth 1903 when the highly crafted and multi-coloured edition of Judge Magazine was released.

This date made history with perfection at its best in printing that gave credit to the Air Conditioning system.

Irvine with all his pride wired back to his company head office that they had finally made it and it works like magic.

Carrier’s this invention not only helped the printing industry but Rubber, Confectionary, Textile, Bakery etc industries as well.

The Founding Of Carrier Corp

This was the beginning of a whole new era and Carrier Corporation was founded jointly by Irving Lyle and Carrier in 1915.

Irvine had a specific skill that nobody else had and that was to identify a business opportunity in every situation.

This specific skill helped in the success of Carrier Corporation and they delivered above customer’s expectations.

It was a time when Irvine and Timmis were busy trying to come out with an idea to resolve the issue of the Sacketts.

  • Irvine was pretty sure about the skills possessed by his team of engineers and that they were able to humidify heat and cool.
  • But, this particular situation demanded some of these basic functions which are to control humidity in the printing area.
  • This required plenty of homework that needed to be done in order to arrive at a definite plan.
  • Lyle is an expert in sizing and delegating tasks was sure that Carrier was the right person and has the required skills.
  • Based upon a suggestion given by Lyle, Carrier worked on this, but the idea didn’t seem to work due to some constraints.
  • The idea of Lyle was solving the problems and brought humidity under control, but at the same time dissipating heat.
  • Along with the heat, it also emitted a pungent smell and salt that made the idea a failure but Carrier had better ideas.

The Developing Of Dehumidification System

Lyle’s idea consisted of using a chemical preparation Calcium Chloride on a roller towel which did work.

Willis worked out and implemented a brilliant plan and that was to use cold water instead of steam inside the coils.

This plan overcame the limitations of emitting the pungent odour and dissipating excessive heat and salt.

This resulted in pulling down the temperature as well as specifically controlling the percentage of humidity.

The ideal humidity for printing industry would be below 50% and that objective was well achieved.

This is how William Carrier worked out each plan meticulously and came out with brilliant ideas for every engineering challenge.

Willis Carrier never ceased to learn until the end of his life and his personal life too was very interesting.

He married thrice and was widowed twice but never had children adopted two children in his life.

None of the children survived his life and he was all focused on his passion which was engineering and HVAC.

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.

Even though Willis Carrier had a monopoly in the markets of Air Conditioning systems, but, he also had gone through bad times.

It was during the outbreak of world war –I and world war – II, when he saw a terrible depression at one stage had to close down.

Then the depression when the stocks crashed in the year 1929 and this time Carrier’s company took a very bad beating.

Carrier Corporation hired more than 45,000 technicians and engineers who manufactured and assemble air conditioners.

The Legacy Of Willis Haviland Carrier

During his lifetime from November 26th, 1876 to October 7th, 1950 which was 73 years, Carrier spent most of his time researching and gaining knowledge.

His focus had always pivoted to air conditioning engineering and innovate his cooling system.

Even though the concept of air conditioning and cooling did prevail for centuries and different methods were prevalent.

It was only after Willis Carrier invented the system for controlling humidity did the revolution come up.

This concept of controlling humidity in air revolutionized the way people live and work all over the world.

In the year 1934, Willis was awarded an honourable medal from the Associate Society of Mechanical Engineers (AMSE) of the United States.

This award goes for his unique contribution in inventing Heating, Ventilating & Air Conditioning (HVAC).

Willis Carrier was born to Duana Williams Carrier his father and Elizabeth R Haviland, his mother who helped him with Fractions.

During his tenure with Buffalo Forge Company, Carrier edited and rewrote the Engineers Hand Book thus adding value to it.

In his theory he elaborated that an Air Conditioner must perform the following functions to be able to deliver;

  • Condition the air.
  • Cleans the air.

It is only when the machine is able to efficiently deliver the above four functions will it able cool and comfort the zone.

It was on January 2nd in 1906 when Carrier was granted the US patent 897 and 808 for a machinery system that can Treat Air.

It was also the world’s first ever sprayed or spread type Air Conditioning system that could circulate air.

This apparatus worked by heating water for humidifying air and cooling water for de-humidifying the indoors.

This was the first of its kind of technology that was ever conceived as an idea and made the biggest ever hit and a great system.


Magna Carta Of Psychometrics

Willis Carrier discovered the much-awaited theory of Relative Humidity based upon which humidity can be controlled.

It was called the ‘Constant Dew Point Depression’ and provided the base for controlling humidity in any space.

It later came to be termed as ‘Law of Constant Dew Depression’ and became a world standard for air conditioning indoors.

It leads to the discovery of Automatic Control System for humidity which marked another milestone in air conditioning.

A patent for Carriers design was granted in February 3rd1914 based on his patent requisition on May 17th, 1907.

On December 3rd, 1911 Willis Carrier presented the humidity theory called Rational Psychometric Formulae to the AMSE.

This presentation he made during the Annual Meeting and which was later on called as the ‘Magna Carta of Psychometrics’.

In spite of the fact that Willis Carrier never ceased to contribute and innovate his own innovations and discoveries, his company saw tough times.

This happened due to the outbreak of World War – I in the year 1914 due to which the Buffalo Forge Company altered its operations.

Willis Carrier had been working for the Buffalo Forge Company twelve long years by now and had other plans now.

  • As per his further plans, Carrier roped investments out of life savings of his fellow engineers to find the Carrier Engineering Corp.
  • This was made possible with an investment of $32,600.00 which was an investment share from Willis Carrier’s colleagues.
  • This marked a whole new era in the field of Air Conditioning with the birth of Carrier Corporation in 1915 and his own company.
  • Five years later in the year 1920, Carrier Corp developed the first ever Centrifugal System for Air Conditioning.
  • This was an innovation in itself, which made Centralized Air Conditioning possible and marked a commercial milestone.

The HVAC Concept

Carrier’s Company the Carrier Engineering Corp was one of the most prosperous corporations in the US until 1929.

The Wall Street crash during this period adversely affected Carrier Engineering Corp and ran into operational constraints.

It was then that Carrier decided to merge his company with Brunswick Kroeschell Co, NY, and Heating & Ventilating Corp.

This marked the advent of Carrier Corporation with Willis Carrier as the Chairman of Company Board.

This gave a huge boost to the dreams of Willis Carrier because he had just expanded his business to several folds.

Now, Carrier Corp was spread over four cities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania with more than 45,000 strong workforces.

The company with a vision to expand and grow its capacities decided to migrate and relocate to Syracuse in New York.

After this, the new Carrier Corporation grew to be known as the largest company in New York with the largest workforce ever.

Carrier introduced a revolutionary Air Conditioning product in the year 1939 which he named ‘Igloo’.

But, things didn’t seem to work well for Carrier since the demand for Air Conditioner dropped drastically with the outbreak of World War – II.

It was not until the year 1950 post the period of World War-II, when once again Carrier Corp came out strong.

The demand for Air Conditioners shot up and Carrier Corporation was in full swing with huge revenues.

Again, there was a set-back due to the Oil Crisis in the year 1973 and lead to depression and demand for Air Conditioners and Repair Carrier AC came down.

During this same period, the advent of ceiling fans brought about an alternative for the Air Conditioners which consumed huge power.

The Major Expansion

People began to go for the inexpensive and convenient alternative for the expensive air conditioners which was a saver.

Carrier did not stop here and went for expansion by founding the Toyo Corp in Japan in 1930 which manufactured Air Conditioners.

In the same period, Carrier also founded the Samsung Applications Corp in South Korea for manufacturing Air Conditioners.

After this South Korea became the largest producers of Air Conditioners and Refrigeration Systems in the world.

Carrier Corp led by Willis Carrier is the pioneer in Refrigeration meant for centralized air conditioning systems.

This new system for centralized air conditioning by Carrier Corp revolutionized the lives of people and brought about prosperity.

This new system of centralized air conditioning not only revolutionized offices but also boosted industrial production.

It’s only after the introduction of residential air conditioning systems in the year 1920 by Carrier Corp that migration to Sunbelt became possible.

The year 1980 saw a revolution when Carrier Corp was aligned with United Technologies as its subsidiary.

Carrier Corporation became one of the richest companies in the year 2007 recording a sales turnover of over $15 Billion.

  • Carrier Corp was awarded the prestigious Frank P Brown award for its outstanding contribution to the world.
  • Willis Carrier was in all senses a visionary who believed in hard work and never-ending innovations throughout his life.
  • In spite of several downs during his leadership of Carrier Corp, he led the company with great zeal projecting outstanding leadership.
  • His company never lost its sheen and true to its label as the pioneers of air conditioning systems they still are the leaders.
  • In spite of still and stiff neck competitions, they had survived to the extent that carrier AC Repair in Vadodara is prominent.

The Path To Career Success

In his early days, Carrier had to struggle a lot for finance for his research and projects of air conditioning systems.

This struggle dragged furthermore during his struggle to make a system for humidity control and Carrier proved his focus.

He came out of all his tough paths with flying colours to give this world the most useful and innovative cooling systems.

It was due to his efforts and endless and untiring efforts that brought about huge prosperity in the world.

Production in all industries went beyond targets during hot summers only with the advent of air conditioning.

Nations across the world saw tremendous growth only with the help of air conditioning and it would not have been possible otherwise.

Long before Willis Carrier invented the air conditioning dehumidification system many countries had a system of cooling.

Many countries, such as Egypt, China, and South Africa had devised systems for cooling with forced air overflowing water.

Many countries even used to preserve ice that was available during freezing winters to be used to cool during hot summers.

These systems though were good enough but failed to eliminate humidity which is the main cause of discomfort during hot summers.

It was only after the invention of de-humidifiers hooked with air conditioning systems by Willis Carrier did the cooling effect become complete.

The cooling apparatus invented and developed by Willis Carrier could carry out all functions like heating, cooling, humidity as well as de-humidify.

This brought about a revolution in the way this world comforted workplaces, residences and shop floors in all cities.

The Conclusion – Carrier Air Conditioners

In order to complement the circulation of air and air conditioning affect the ceiling fan is used in conjunction with air conditioning.

This helped in lowering energy consumption by air conditioners and at the same time boosted the effect of this system.

Carrier Corporation has always been a very prosperous company right from 1915 when it was founded by Willis.

It has seen continuous growth by way of becoming the largest producers of air conditioners in the world.

They have always brought about innovations in air conditioning systems and have little competitions in Centrifugal air conditioning systems.

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