Many of the accomplishments of women, particularly in science and engineering, tend to go unsung. However, that doesn’t make what they did any less important – particularly in the field of heating and cooling. Here are some women in HVAC history you should know about and their inventions that changed home comfort forever.
Alice H. Parker
At the beginning of the 20th century, most homes were heated with wood or coal burning furnaces. Cumbersome, inefficient, and at times dangerous, Alice H. Parker knew there had to be a better way. So in 1919, she invented the gas powered furnace. Not only did it burn safe natural gas, it also incorporated a system of vents and ductwork, by which air could be distributed evenly throughout the house.
In fact, Parker’s original design contained an early plan for a zoning system. It was able to regulate airflow and temperature between rooms, making one warmer and one cooler, as needed. Sadly, that aspect of her design wasn’t implemented in the furnaces that ultimately went on the market, and zoning didn’t become common in HVAC until decades later.
Margaret Ingels was the first woman in the U.S. to earn a professional Mechanical Engineering degree. In 1920, she joined the American Society of Heating and Ventilation Engineers, and spent six years researching HVAC. She was integral in developing the modern air conditioning system.
Ingels had several major contributions to heating and cooling, but her most important was creating the effective temperature scale for home comfort. It factored humidity and airflow into the equation, to go beyond just a number on a thermometer and measure what the temperature actually feels like. This discovery was made possible by another of her innovations, the sling psychrometer, which measured moisture in the air and provided accurate humidity readings.
These are just a few of the women in HVAC history, who rarely get credit, but whose discoveries made possible the home comfort you enjoy every day.
For help with all your HVAC issues, contact us at Detmer and Sons. We provide quality home comfort solutions to the Dayton area.