invention

EP# 031: Willis Carrier and Modern AC

EP# 031: Willis Carrier and Modern AC

For ages man has tried to control the weather, be it to keep cool or warm. Most early ways to cool was open windows and mechanical systems. And to deal with summer heat before air conditioning, most people would sit on their stoops or fire escapes, eat or drink cold foods and beverages or even sleep in parks, or other places outside.

The early applications of air conditioning were for consistency in manufacturing, not for the comfort of people. Factories were brutal “sweatshops” – built for profit not for comfort or employee well-being.

Air conditioning was the hybrid of two technologies – electricity and refrigeration. It did not immediately take-off with the public due to its costs and space needed for the large amount of equipment. Also, most people thought AC was a dream, not a possible reality. Pioneers like Willis Carrier envisioned a world of manufactured weather to allow people to escape the challenges of heat and cold and poor internal environments.

EP# 013: Chester Carlson and Xerox

EP# 013: Chester Carlson and Xerox

The ultimate game changer in the history of making copies was xerography, developed by a quiet, unassuming man who was sick of being bent over a desk for hours at a time making copies by hand. This man, Chester Carlson who grew up under unimaginable poverty, never stopped dreaming of inventing a machine to automatically make copies.

As an assistant to a patent attorney and later as a law school student, the nearsighted Carlson spent hours bent over his desk. With his muscles cramping and his back aching, he dreamed of a better way to make copies. He was never interested in money. He wanted to help society with an invention that would change the world.