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Features, History, Technology, Williamsburg

Willis Carrier, Air conditioning, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, inventions, history

Shown in the Carrier plant in 1922, the first centrifugal chiller opened the door to large-scale comfort air conditioning. Image courtesy of United Technologies/Carrier.

It figures, but history shows us yet another way Brooklyn was cool, like, forever–though this particular example is a bit more literal. A classic New York City heat wave was just enough to turn up the Brooklyn ingenuity in a junior engineer named Willis Carrier, who devised a system of fans, ducts, heaters and perforated pipes that became the world’s first air conditioner. The problem: blistering temperatures that were literally melting the equipment in a Williamsburg printing house. The solution was one that had eluded centuries of inventors through sweltering summers. The system was installed in the summer of 1902, according to the New York Times, and Carrier went on to found Carrier Corporation. He had hit on the idea while walking in the fog.

It’s the humidity

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