The Invention That Changed The World
On July 17, 1902, Willis Haviland Carrier designed the first modern air-conditioning system, launching an industry that would fundamentally improve the way we live, work and play.
The Launch of Carrier Air Conditioning Company
In the opening decades of the 20th century, Willis Carrier established Carrier Air Conditioning of America as the worldwide leader, advancing the science and application of air conditioning across multiple industries around the globe.
Launched as an independent company in 1915 by Willis Carrier and six other courageous entrepreneurs, Carrier Engineering Corporation provided manufactured weather to over 200 industries with an unmatched promise of "the whole job, the whole responsibility, and a contract for results."
Beyond the Factory
The introduction of centrifugal refrigeration by Willis Carrier in 1922 was a landmark event, launching modern air conditioning from the factory floor into movie theaters, office buildings and department stores, and treating the general public to its first taste of cool, clean and comfortable "Manufactured Weather."
Weathermaker to the World
Despite the Great Depression, Carrier Corporation never stopped investing in the art and science of air conditioning leading the industry in railroad and marine applications, and pioneering the creation of efficient systems for business and home. The company extended its reach to markets in every corner of the globe, enhancing its unparalleled position as "Weathermakers to the World."
Carrier Corporation provided exceptional leadership throughout World War II even as it prepared diligently to meet the needs of a postwar world. In his final decade, Willis Carrier successfully completed one of the most satisfying projects of his storied career before becoming Chairman Emeritus and turning his company over to a new generation of leadership.
Growing With the Babyboomers
A half-century after his invention of modern air conditioning, Willis Carrier's rich legacy included the creation of a billion-dollar industry and founding of the preeminent global provider of commercial air conditioning. In the next 25 years, Carrier Corporation grew with the postwar baby boom to become the largest player in the flourishing market for residential comfort air that would change the face of the world.
Expanded Global Reach
The marriage of United Technologies Corporation with Carrier proved to be a formidable combination, resulting in creation of a Global Manufacturing Platform and market leadership in every region of the world, backed by an unparalleled commitment to environmental sustainability.
Built on Willis Carrier's extraordinary invention of modern air conditioning and his unyielding commitment to innovation, Carrier today is a lean, focused company meeting the needs of local markets with global resources, and leading the industry with products that delight customers while protecting our fragile envirionment—natural leadership for the 21st century.
The marriage of United Technologies Corporation with Carrier proved to be a formidable combination, resulting in creation of a Global Manufacturing Platform and
of the world, backed by an unparalleled commitment to environmental sustainability.
Expanded Global Reach
Beginning in the early 1980s Carrier launched a dual globalization strategy. The company acquired leading air-conditioning manufacturers and brands around the world, adding Delchi (Italy) and Springer (Brazil) in 1983, Daewoo (South Korea) in 1985, Interclisa (Spain) in 1986 and Miraco (Egypt) in 1992.
In parallel, the company completed a series of distributor acquisitions, joint ventures and greenfield initiatives that dramatically broadened its global footprint. By 1993 Carrier had more than doubled its revenue to $4.5 billion.
At the same time, technology created exciting new opportunities. In 1981 United Technologies (UTC) combined Carrier and Otis with a new Building Automation subsidiary to form the Building Systems Sector, designed to create a unified package approach to the building industry.
The new subsidiary was soon awarded a contract to develop an energy management system for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT) at Disney World in Florida. In 1983, a 38-story office center called Cityplace opened in Hartford, the largest commercial structure in Connecticut and, thanks to the Building Systems Sector, "the world's first intelligent building." All services were orchestrated by a computer system and linked by a fiber-optic network. Other intelligent buildings served by Carrier were Tower 49 in New York City and the LTV Center in Dallas.
In 1983, Carrier returned to Disney, but this time in Japan, providing much of the air conditioning for Tokyo Disneyland.
Carrier also continued its commitment to historical preservation. In 1981, the company installed heat pumps in the beautiful Abbey of St. Pierre de Solesmes, a monastery of the Benedictine Order in western France. In June 1984, H.R.H. Queen Beatrix officially opened the renovated public museum at Palace Het Loo in Apeldoom, Netherlands where the Dutch royal family lived and worked for 300 years. Carrier protected 93,000 square meters of space containing paintings, antique furniture, porcelain and tapestries.
Tall, complex buildings—a trademark of Carrier for more than a half-century—continued to demand the company's expertise.
In 1981, Carrier cooled Sydney Tower, the tallest building in the southern hemisphere. Carrier also booked contracts for record numbers of big-building air-conditioning systems in Asia, among them Singapore's Raffles Centre, and Marina Centre, the largest mall in Southeast Asia. Carrier provided eight centrifugal chillers to Kuala Lumpur's 58-story Malayan Banking Headquarters, the tallest building in the city. In April 1986, the company installed 8,400 tons of cooling for New York City's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, designed to hold up to 85,000 people. In 1990, the company air conditioned three buildings in Europe's largest commercial development, Canary Wharf in London, and the following year shipped 160 chillers to Thailand—60 years after the King of Siam first visited with Willis Carrier in Newark, New Jersey. These were used to supply cooling for the World Trade Center in Bangkok, the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center and the Thai Farmer's Market, among others.
Carrier also celebrated its history when, in 1983, its oldest distributor and licensee in Latin America, Lix Klett, marked its 50th anniversary.
In 1985, Carrier Transicold manufactured its 25,000th container unit. Just three years later, with demand for container units doubling, the company produced its 50,000th unit.
During this period Carrier Transicold also introduced microprocessorbased temperature controls on its container refrigeration units, while its Phoenix trailer refrigeration system received the 1987 Industrial Designers Society of America award for design excellence.
In 1988, Carrier made the most sweeping series of new product introductions and manufacturing improvements in its history. The company introduced 32 lines of residential and commercial air conditioning, heating and refrigeration products under the Bryant, Carrier and Day & Night lines, with an emphasis on increased efficiency, improved quality and reliability, more precise electronic controls and quieter operation. These included units that already met 1992 U.S. energy-efficiency standards. For the commercial market, Carrier introduced new rooftop units for schools, shopping centers and low-rise office complexes, an advanced control solution known as the Carrier Comfort Network, and a new generation of ductless air conditioners and heat pumps.
By 1990 Carrier was more than 40 percent larger than its nearest competitor, and the industry's only company with double-digit shares in most major markets worldwide.
The company generated half of its revenue and manufactured nearly half of its products outside the U.S. Carrier chillers had accounted for 36 percent of all installations (excluding Japan) in the prior five years. Guests at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, travelers staying at the Cairo Marriott Hotel and visitors of the Caracas National Culture Centre in Venezuela all enjoyed the benefits of Carrier air conditioning. After inventing and leading the industry for 75 years, Carrier remained the best-known and most global air conditioning, heating and refrigeration company in the world.
Similarly, Carrier Transicold's presence around the world was growing, with equipment aboard France's bullet train, offshore drilling rigs and Jacques Cousteau's experimental ship, the Alcyone.
Carrier's impact on global growth continued to be extraordinary. In 1990, when Lee Kuan Yew stepped down as prime minister in Singapore—having turned a small territory at the tip of the Malaysian peninsula into one of the world's richest countries—he hailed the air conditioner as one of mankind's greatest inventions. "The humble air conditioner has changed the lives of people in the tropical regions," Yew said, leading some observers to call Singapore "the air-conditioned nation."
Growth and success also brought great responsibility, and Carrier embraced its leadership role in environmental sustainability. In 1988, the company introduced the Carrier Refrigeration Management System, developed to safely recycle CFC-11, a refrigerant linked to ozone depletion. In 1991, the company unveiled the industry's only centrifugal compressor that used HCFC-22, an environmentally-sound alternative to CFC-11. The following year Carrier was named a partner in the Environmental Protection Agency's Green Lights program to reduce energy use and pollution, and in 1993 it became the first company at the U.S. Green Building Council®.
As the 100,000th container unit rolled off the line in 1993, Transicold introduced environmentally-sound R-134a refrigerant to the industry, soon to become the standard.
In 1994, Carrier offered the first commercial and residential air-conditioning systems using non-ozone-depleting refrigerants, leading the phase-out of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) for the air-conditioning and refrigeration industry two years ahead of U.S. requirements and 16 years before mandates in developing countries.
And, when the company placed 10 large commercial chillers in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, they were among the first units in the world to use alternatives to ozone-depleting CFCs.