In retrospect, this is no surprise, given the larger economic and technological events around this time — the relatively recent development of air conditioning, especially for homes, and the American economy’s convalescence from the Great Depression.
Willis Carrier developed the centrifugal refrigeration machine (a.k.a., centrifugal chiller) and the Carrier Engineering Company began manufacturing them in 1922. It was the first practical method of air conditioning large spaces.1
In the late 1920s, Carrier took his larger air conditioning units and made them smaller for small businesses. In 1928, he made air conditioning units for residential installations.1
The next year, the stock market crashed, beginning the Great Depression. In 1932 Franklin Delano Roosevelt ran against and defeated Herbert Hoover. With Roosevelt’s inauguration, he put in place such programs as the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority). One of the intended results of these projects was to put some unemployed people back to work, giving them money to spend, thus helping revitalize the U.S. economy and giving air conditioning sales a boost.
A union attempting to move into this arena was the Building Service Employes International Union Local 32-E. The New York City building janitors were the heart of this union. With control of the janitors, it was simple for Tommy Lewis, head of Local 32-E, to pressure workers who had to enter a building to perform installation or service work. Lewis was murdered on August 28, 1953, but his two lieutenants were said to be attempting to organize refrigeration and air conditioning installation and service workers into an independent union called Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, Appli-ance Installation, Service, and Production Employes Union Local No. 1 (Independent). It was also stated that the Teamster’s union was attempting to organize refrigeration and air conditioning workers under its banner.
Few court cases on IAQ had been decided at this point. This decision worried some in the industry that a barrage of court cases on building IAQ would arise. Jim Dinegar, vice president for government and industry affairs, Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), said that he was concerned that the “body of science is not there” on IAQ, especially in ascertaining safe levels of CO2, VOCs, and other contaminants. Said Dinegar, “We’re not trying to poison our tenants, but we feel frustrated in not knowing what we will have to do” to avoid being sued in the future.
At that point, ASHRAE continues revising Standard 62-89, as disputes mulitply about ventilation’s role in ensuring proper IAQ.
Carrier Corporation website: http://www.carrier.com/ghpnew/about/history
Publication date: 01/08/2001