The Conspiracy to Stop AC from Being Born
Everyone knows the story of how the humble, but dependable AC came to be. It all starts with the humble inventor Willis Carrier who, in 1906, found a need to keep the air in a printing warehouse cooler and less humid so the ink could dry properly.
Fast forward a hundred and eight years and the descendants of Carriers machines are in homes across the planet. Companies such as apexaircon.com.au now provide ducted air conditioning units to cool people on warm days and save them from the trials of sweat and stink. This success story has another side to it; one filled with conspiracy, intrigue, and back room deals.
Though the world will always be grateful to Willis Carrier for breathing life into cooling, he wasn’t the first. There have been many patents and inventions that strove to do the same thing, but failed for one reason or another. The most notable example is an invention that came fifty years before Carrier’s machine, and it was from a doctor by the name of John Gorrie.
Gorrie noticed that people who came from cooler climates weren’t as susceptible to infectious diseases such as yellow fever. The good doctor put his hypothesis to the test and suspended ice from the ceilings of the hospital room. The results were dramatic enough to encourage Gorrie to try to make a machine that would make a room cooler.
He built and patented an ice-making machine, which eventually became the biggest mistake of his career. Back then, the ice industry was unstoppable. The only way to get ice and get cool was through them, and nobody could do anything about it because nobody else could make ice on a large enough scale to be practical. That is until they heard about Gorrie’s ice making machine.
Ice tycoons paid newspapers to poke fun at Gorrie’s invention and make it lose all credibility in the market. The most active against the invention was the ice king of Boston: Frederic Tudor. After a massive campaign to stop the icemaker from seeing the light of day, Gorrie died penniless at the age of fifty-two.
Though Gorrie’s story ended in tragedy, it made way for Carrier to bring AC to the world. The ice kings never thought to stop him because his machine made the air less humid, and didn’t make ice. Don’t feel too bad for Gorrie though, his story is well known around cooling circles, and there’s a museum dedicated to his name and story.