Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Air conditioning owes its start to a damp magazine

A cool magazine
In a sense, we have magazines to thank for air-conditioning which has been welcome in the recent heat wave gripping North America. I know I'm inclined to give magazines credit for a lot, but this time I have a story in the New York Times to back me up. And the paper says that Willis Carrier, the inventor of air conditioning, did it to allow a long-gone weekly magazine called Judge to be printed in the midst of a sticky Brooklyn summer in 1902. Apparently the sheetfed magazine's ink wouldn't dry and the pages would absorb humidity, ruining registration.
Junior engineer Willis Carrier -- who went on to the create the Carrier Corporation, well known for air conditioning and furnaces -- cooled the plant by forcing air across pipes filled with cool well water and later added a compressor-run refigerating machine to cool the pipes faster. Ultimately, he figured out even better ways that began to cool places like movie theatres and Madison Square Gardens.
[H/T to Alastair Cheng]



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