July 17 was a scorcher in New York City. The week before, seven deaths tied to the heat were reported. People were desperate to find ways to cool off. That was the news that was fit to print in The New York Times regarding the heat wave — of 1902.
Yes, long before the summer heat became global warming and global warming became climate change, July could be quite hot in Gotham.
July 17 is the official birthday of air conditioning, one of the greatest gifts to humankind ever invented. An industrial area of Brooklyn is where Willis H. Carrier worked out a way to artificially chill the air. This July, 111 years later, the air conditioners in New York have been busier than the ones in Oklahoma City.
Carrier changed the climate of the indoors by controlling it. He couldn’t do a thing about conditions outside, but we’re ever so thankful that a man from more northern latitudes created something that has made our part of the country tolerable through the long slog of southern summers.