Black History Month: HVAC Pioneers

Meet the Inventors Who Revolutionized Modern Heating and Cooling

Innovation is key to a healthy society, and these three game changers have redefined modern heating and cooling technology. In honor of Black History Month, it's time to meet three inventors responsible for revolutionizing how society keeps homes warm in winter and cool during summer months! This blog will explore the stories of invention behind some truly unique HVAC creations – uncovering what inspired each innovator, where they found success, and ultimately how their pioneering designs changed history.

David Crosthwait and the Vacuum Pump

david David Crosthwait contributed to modern heating and cooling systems by discovering how temperature regulation works. While he worked as a mechanical engineer, his expertise was originally air ventilation, but eventually, he branched out into heating transfer systems. 

David Crosthwait holds over 30 patents in the United States alone. He is known for inventing refrigeration methods, temperature regulation devices, and vacuum pumps. While vacuum pumps are not usually used on their own, their purpose is extremely important for the function of home cooling and heating.

Vacuum pumps are devices that are designed to remove gas molecules and air moisture from inside an air conditioning system. For maximum moisture removal, a very deep vacuum pump is necessary to suck up extra contaminants.

In 1975, Crosthwait was awarded an honorary doctorate from Purdue University. He retired from his engineering career in 1971 after working on heating systems for New York City’s Radio City Music Hall and the Rockefeller Center. 

Who is Alice H. Parker?

Alice Parker is known for inventing a new type of gas furnace. Before her invention, homeowners were required to burn wood or coal to heat an entire house. Once natural gas was used for heating purposes, Mrs. Parker’s gas furnace could successfully keep homes warm throughout the winter. 

This heating method was unique in the fact that it was controlled by a system of air ducts, which contributed to the modern central air systems in use today. This allowed heat to be evenly distributed in multiple rooms. By using an independent burner, cold air was passed through a heat exchanger before entering the ducts. At the time, this was known as “zone heating.”

In 2019 Alice H. Parker was recognized by the National Society of Black Physicists. The group referred to her as the “African American inventor famous for her patented system of central heating using natural gas.” 

The Contributions of Lewis Latimer

lewis Lewis Howard Latimer helped invent both the telephone and a new kind of lightbulb. As a patent draftsman, he also created the evaporative air conditioner for improved indoor air quality as well as a new toilet system for locomotives. His evaporative air conditioner was a forerunner of the modern air conditioner.

Alexander Graham Bell employed Lewis Latimer in 1876 to help with the drafting process. Mr. Latimer was then able to make a significant contribution to the invention of the telephone. This was a similar partnership to the one he had with Thomas Edison.

In 1884 Lewis Latimer worked with Thomas Edison to provide drafts for the lightbulb. In part, this was due to his previous patent involving carbon filaments. When the filaments were attached to electric wiring, this was able to process carbons later used in electric lighting.

Before Latimer improved electric lighting, the lightbulb was not always considered a reliable option. Bulbs were known to burn out at random, and their shelf life was much shorter. Lewis Latimer is now an inductee of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, thanks to his superior manufacturing capabilities. 

About JR Putman Heating & Air

JR Putman Heating & Air has over 40 years of experience serving the Sacramento, CA, community and the surrounding areas. They offer same-day services, no overtime rates, and a 24-hour answering service. Call them today for indoor air quality, AC, or heating services in Sacramento, CA.