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Showcasing the Black Inventors That Revolutionized Modern Heating and Cooling

The genius minds of black inventors have changed the world but are often unlauded by the masses because of the color of their skin. In this article, HVAC experts will share some insights into the minds of these inventors who revolutionized the way homeowners enjoy their homes today!

David Crosthwait

David Crosthwait became the leading authority in his time on heat transfer, ventilation, and air conditioning which was a massive undertaking for a black man to become a man of science during the late 1800s to mid-1970s. 

In the 1920s, Crosthwait invented a new version of the boiler, a thermostat control device, and a unique style of differential vacuum pump that was more effective for heating more significant commercial buildings. He was commissioned to design the heating map for Radio City Music Hall in New York City during the 1930s. 

He filed for and was awarded 39 US patents and 80 foreign patents for the design, testing, installation, servicing, and testing of HVAC power plants, heating, and ventilation. And he served as a technical advisor for Dunham-Bush from 1930 to 1971

alice parker

Alice H. Parker

Alice H. Parker is a black woman inventor that patented the natural gas central heating system in 1919. Fireplaces had been the most frequently used heat source in her hometown in New Jersey, but she felt they were inconvenient and inefficient. 

The furnace design allowed air to be drawn into the furnace and passed across a heat exchanger before delivering the air through ductwork to warm the home. The idea of using a central heating system was not new, coal and wood heating had been used in a significant capacity previously, but the natural gas component was new. 

Using natural gas was easier because cutting wood in the snow is complex, and improperly used chimneys that aren’t consistently cleaned can lead to whole house fires using wood to heat with.

Black women during the early 1900s were not often granted patents. This patent filing pre-dated the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Liberation Movement, so black women had many hills to climb as far as rights and liberties were concerned.

Lewis Latimerlewis latimer

Lewis Latimer was a self-taught African American inventor, draftsman, and patent expert that worked with Alexander Graham Bell, Hiram S. Maxim, and Thomas Edison. Latimer improved the light bulb that Edison had invented by encasing the carbon filament in cardboard rather than paper or bamboo. 

This helped the bulb last longer and reduced the cost, meaning that lower-income families could now afford them. There has been much controversy surrounding the invention of the light bulb, and some black history professionals argue that Latimer is not properly credited for his work. 

Latimer also filed a patent for an apparatus for cooling heated air, and disinfection said air. 

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