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Notable Women in HVAC History

When we talk about the great technological achievements throughout history, we tend to focus on the accomplishments of men. However, in any field, there are always plenty of women whose contributions are just as important, but often go unsung. The field of HVAC is no exception. Here are two women in HVAC history who helped define home comfort as we know it.

Alice H. Parker

For years, homes were heated primarily using wood or coal burning furnaces. Heat would eminate from the unit, which would then spread to the rest of the house. Then in 1919, African American inventor Alice H. Parker changed all that, by inventing a new, safer furnace that burned natural gas instead.

Furthermore, the furnace would heat up the air and distribute it throughout the house via a system of ducts and vents. This way, heat could spread through a home more evenly. Her furnace even allowed homeowners to set different temperatures for different areas of the house according to their individual needs - a concept that wouldn't become widespread until decades later, with the introduction of zoning systems.

Margaret Ingels

Another of the important women in HVAC history was Margaret Ingels. One of the first female engineers in America, she was the first woman to receive a professional Mechanical Engineering degree.

Spending six years in the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers research lab beginning in 1920, Ingels researched how to measure the amount of dust and contaminants in the air in public places. Her crowning achievement, though, was the sling psychrometer, which measures the amount of moisture in the air.

In so doing, Ingels was able to develop the "effective temperature" scale. This scale considers factors like relative humidity and air movement in order to determine the "feels like" temperature when it comes to home comfort.

These are just a few of the women who helped define home comfort as we know it today. To learn about other women in HVAC history, contact us at Air Assurance. We've provided Broken Arrow with quality home comfort solutions since 1985.