Daddy Cool – A Man of Many Firsts

The NY Times ran a great story recently on the pioneer of keeping things cool. Some 109 years ago Dr Willis H. Carrier invented the first modern air conditioning unit, a device he would later perfect and which would become an everyday part of our lives.

As a child he struggled with math, in particular fractions, and it was his mother who would slice apples into segments and teach him how to add and subtract the parts. This would later play a central role in his creation of the air conditioning unit.

The idea for Carrier’s defining invention came from a left field. He was asked to somehow control the temperature and moisture content of a Brooklyn, N.Y. printing plant, a challenge he did manage to master. This in itself was an achievement, but it was Carrier’s tenacity that created a global industry.

The printing plant was just the beginning, and set Carrier on a path to hone his creation and adapt it for countless applications. It took another 12 years before the Father of Cool installed his first air conditioning unit for the home. This was followed by many other firsts – the first air conditioning unit in a department store, a movie theatre, an office building, a ship, a railroad car, the chambers of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, even the bus from Baghdad to Damascus.

Carrier’s story exemplifies how great business improves lives everywhere and makes the world a better place. The key ingredients for aspiring entrepreneurs: an unrelenting passion for solving problems, creativity, courage, perseverance and a dream.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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