In 1902, Willis Carrier, a recent graduate of Cornell University, was working as an engineer for the Buffalo Forge Company. One of his clients, Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company, was having trouble with humidity affecting the paper and ink in their printing factory. Carrier considered the problem and went to work. He knew that steam could be used to heat objects and wondered how he could reverse the process. Rather than sending air through heated coils, he sent it through cold, water-filled coils. The process worked; the air was effectively cooled, and the amount of humidity in the air was controlled.
Carrier’s air conditioning invention succeeded in controlling the humidity in the printing plant. His technology was later used to improve workplace productivity and the demand for Carrier’s air conditioners increased. Soon, air conditioning was used in homes and cars to improve comfort.
Today, air conditioning is a staple in most homes, businesses, and automobiles. In effect, Carrier’s invention in 1902, made the world a cooler, more comfortable place.