In addition to its stunning architecture and iconic skyline, New York City is recognized for its innovation. As a major cultural and artistic hub, it’s constantly fostering the exchange of ideas; unsurprisingly, the city has gone down in history as the birthplace of some noteworthy innovations that are now recognized around the world. This includes the recipe for Red Velvet Cake, born at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, to the beloved children’s toy, Mr. Potato Head. The list is extensive, but here are 11 of our favorite inventions that have their origins in New York City. (Also, check out our previous list of foods invented here).
11. Air Conditioning
The experience of being stuck in a crowded subway car during rush hour is already brutal. Add summer heat and body odor to the equation, and your ride can be excruciating. Luckily, we have air conditioning to (somewhat) mitigate the pain.
Invented in 1902, the idea for the air conditioner was first conceptualized by a young engineer named Willis Carrier. At the time, employees at Sackett & Wilhelms Lithographing & Printing Company were fed up with working in the conditions of the printing plant. The heat and humidity would warp its paper, and change the way ink appeared on the page.
Carrier began experimenting with cooling methods by sending air through cold, water-chilled coils rather than hot coils, which were used to heat objects. The process allowed him to successfully cool air and regulate the humidity in the room — thus resolving the company’s printing issues. With the addition of some tweaks for size and efficiency, the invention was later made available to other companies, as well as for installations in homes and automobiles.