How Women Revolutionized Heating and Cooling
It’s hard to imagine that less than 100 years ago, climate control in homes and businesses was limited basically to stoking a fire in the winter and opening a window during the summer. Of all the advances in the last century, home heating and cooling have been among the most welcome and well-received.
The truth is, no single person made indoor comfort what it is today. Hundreds of engineers and inventors have worked tirelessly to develop safe and effective heating and cooling systems. Progress continues today, with more reliable and efficient systems entering the market yearly. Women’s History Month is a great time to celebrate women’s contributions to heating and cooling homes. Here are some facts about women in the HVAC industry and some of the contributions they have made over the years.
Women in Today’s Industry
While women are a minority in the heating and cooling industry, the future looks bright. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2018, only 1.4% of HVAC mechanics and installers in the country were female. While historically, HVAC technicians and installers have tended to work long hours in harsh conditions; this has changed over the years with technological advancements. Now there are fewer barriers to entry for women than ever before.
With easier access to these jobs, women are poised to enter this workforce more easily than their trailblazing predecessors. Paid training is available through apprenticeships, and grants are available to help pay for education for those entering the field. HVAC jobs are among the highest paying in the trades, and the prospects are expected to grow as more homes are built and demand for comfort rises. There has never been a better time for women interested in making this career change.
Alice H. Parker’s Patent for a Gas Furnace With Ductwork
One of the early contributions to home heating was by Alice H. Parker. At the beginning of the 20th century, homes were heated by wood or coal fires. The job of hauling fuel and stoking fires fell largely on homemakers, namely the women of the house. Fed up with constantly lugging around dirty piles of wood and the lack of whole house heating that resulted from it, Alice H. Parker put inventing skills to use.
A graduate of Howard University, she obtained a patent for one of the first natural gas heating systems conceived. Her invention was a central heating system that uses natural gas and distributes the treated air throughout the house using air ducts. Her development used concepts still in use today, like ductwork and zone control, and was impactful to development in the heating industry.
Margaret Ingels, Another HVAC Trailblazer
Another trailblazer to follow closely on the heels of Parker was a woman named Margaret Ingels. Ingels was the first female engineering graduate from the University of Kentucky and the first woman nationwide to earn the distinction of receiving a professional degree in mechanical engineering. Her expertise was in air conditioning, and she was quickly put to work for the Carrier Corporation, the pioneers of air conditioning.
While at Carrier, Ingels worked on several devices. First, she perfected a device for reading the humidity. Next, she developed a system for improving air quality by capturing particles from the air. By her retirement, she had written 45 technical papers and given over 200 speeches encouraging women to follow in her footsteps.
About Gene’s Refrigeration, Heating & Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical
Gene’s Refrigeration, Heating & Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical has more than 60 years of experience serving Medina, OH residents. They provide straightforward pricing, same-day services, and 24/7 emergency service. Call them today for indoor air quality, AC, or heating services in Medina, OH.
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