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Celebrate Black History Month: HVAC Edition

3 African American Inventors That Revolutionized Modern Heating and Cooling

Credit should be given where it is due. Below are three remarkably talented African American inventors who forever changed the HVAC industry. Whether these three people knew it or not, their inventions have helped create various systems we still have in place today!

Let's celebrate black history month by telling the stories of people who overcame adversities and excelled! On this list are David Crosthwait, Alice Parker, and Lewis Latimer.

David Crosthwait and his modern heating system

The biggest thing that this inventor is known for is his ambition. Once David Crosthwait was out of school, he started inventing and creating items, including creating a modern heating system that was easy to use. He wasted no time patenting them, so now they are attached to his name.

The most impressive thing that this black inventor created was a large-scale boiler system for more prominent buildings. It used designs and small features from his temperature regulation devices and vacuum pumps. Without his impressive work, homeowners would not have modern heating systems that are safe and efficient.

alice parker

Alice Parker and her gas furnace

Alice Parker is a legendary woman who not only invented a gas furnace with ductwork but did so during a time when women and African Americans were looked down on. She broke through barriers and walls to find a career in STEM and engineering.

Before the gas furnace with ductwork, there was only a small burner in homes. It was expensive to run, which meant that only the wealthy could afford the centralized heater. It used fire and coal, while Alice Parker’s invention used natural gas. The innovative thinking of this inventor is why homeowners now have easily accessible furnaces and heating devices.


lewis latimer




Lewis Latimer and his many inventions 

Lewis Latimer was a fascinating inventor that dabbled in many industries, including the HVAC industry. Through his schooling and experience, Lewis Latimer helped to invent life-changing devices like the telephone and lightbulb.

Without him, homeowners would not have high-quality indoor air because he was the first person to create an air condition and cooling system that used water and condensation to clean the air. It was made easily accessible because the materials were affordable.

His popularity grew, and he caught the attention of Thomas Edison. Interestingly, this black inventor was both a friend and a rival as he worked for a separate electrical engineering company. 

The completion and invention of the telephone is another story. Latimer was not the sole inventor but played a huge role in patenting the idea since he drew up the work and calculations.

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