Carrier Celebrates 108 Years of Air Conditioning

July 19, 2010
Innovations continue in residential, commercial, and refrigerated systems

Most historians mark 1900 as the birth of the "modern age," and the beginning of tremendous global innovation and invention. One of the major participants in that era was Dr. Willis H. Carrier. It was on July 17, 1902, that Dr. Carrier developed the first system to provide man-made control over temperature, humidity, ventilation and indoor air quality for a Brooklyn, N.Y. printing plant. The system passed air through a filter, then over coils containing a coolant (the same basic design persists in air conditioners today). Once Carrier's device removed humidity from the workshop, the printing inks stopped bleeding and running. He later obtained a patent for the "cool" invention.

It's virtually impossible to overstate the value air conditioning has brought to modern life and health. Carrier's invention revolutionized nearly every aspect of life, and helped entire regions of the world that once were uninhabitable due to heat and humidity to grow and prosper. Today, Carrier Corp., a unit of United Technologies Corp. is among the world's leaders in HVACR solutions, engineered innovation, and environmental stewardship.

"This marks the anniversary of a tremendous milestone for Carrier Corp. and Willis Carrier -- a humble but determined engineer who solved one of mankind's most elusive challenges by controlling the indoor environment. The genius of Willis Carrier enabled incredible enhancements to healthcare, manufacturing processes, research, building capacities, food preservation, transportation, art and historical conservation, general productivity, indoor comfort, and much more. His foresight has allowed for over a century of previously impossible innovations," stated Geraud Darnis, president, Carrier Corporation.

Carrier Corp. employs more than 30,000 people around the world. With increased concern over environmental issues, it strives to accomplish more with less to preserve natural resources for future generations. This requires continual innovation and research, a specialty of Willis Carrier that continues in the company today.

Sources from Carrier provided a short list of recent company innovations:

  • Carrier's AquaForce® 30XW chiller is up to 20% more efficient than its predecessors and uses a non-ozone depleting refrigerant.
  • Carrier's CO2OLtec™ supermarket refrigeration system lowers global warming emissions by using carbon dioxide as a natural refrigerant and delivers up to 10% higher energy efficiency in cooler climates compared to systems using conventional refrigerants.
  • The PrimeLINE® marine container refrigeration unit is the most energy efficient unit ever offered in the industry.
  • In residential air conditioning, Carrier has pushed the performance of its Infinity™ models to 21 SEER, requiring 40% less energy to operate than today's minimum efficiency systems.

"As an avid outdoorsman, Willis Carrier recognized the power of the natural environment. As a life-long inventor, he understood the resolution of complex problems through continuous improvement. That pioneering spirit remains today in Carrier Corp.'s approach to environmental innovation," says Darnis. "We're proud of more than a century of accomplishments -- but are always looking for ways to improve. Following Willis Carrier's lead, we realize it takes a willingness to develop new technology, the confidence to revise proven designs, and the ability to deliver results with every new installation. At Carrier we look forward to continued leadership in sustainable innovation in this second century."

Ed note: On July 17, 2002, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the invention of air conditioning, Carrier Corp. dedicated the Willis H. Carrier Academy at W.E. Grady High School in Brooklyn, New York.

Ed. note: Some claim John Gorrie to be "the father of air conditioning." For this viewpoint, visit