Carrier, Willis Haviland

Carrier, Willis Haviland,

1876–1950, American engineer who played a key role in inventing air conditioningair conditioning,
mechanical process for controlling the humidity, temperature, cleanliness, and circulation of air in buildings and rooms. Indoor air is conditioned and regulated to maintain the temperature-humidity ratio that is most comfortable and healthful.
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, b. Angola, N.Y., grad. Cornell (M.E. 1901). Working for the Buffalo Forge Co. (1901–14), he developed (1902) a dehumidifier and discovered that circulating air over cold pipes not only removed water from the air but cooled it. He soon refined his concept, and his company set up (1907) a subsidiary to exploit his ideas. In a 1911 paper Carrier outlined the scientific underpinnings of air conditioning and explained its main design features. In 1915 he and several fellow workers founded the Carrier Corp., and he served as its president (1915–30) and chairman (1930–48). Often called the father of air conditioner, Carrier eventually held more than 80 related patents, and his company became one of the industry's major manufacturers.


See biography by M. Ingels (1949, repr. 1972).

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