Women’s History in Heating and Cooling
Though the heating and cooling industry has been around for generations, only a small percentage of the HVAC technicians working today are women. Although it is a male-dominated trade, many women have been highly influential in the industry and the development of heating and cooling technology. There has been a recent push to increase the number of women in trade jobs, and the numbers are improving, but this article will look at the numbers today and at two women who impacted the industry for the better.
Women in HVAC Today and an Organization That is Helping
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 1.4% of the HVAC technicians in the field are women. One of the organizations that are trying to improve this statistic is Women in HVACR. They provide resources like scholarships and networking opportunities to connect women in the industry and provide educational and mentoring opportunities. This organization was founded in 2002, and with over 800 current members, they empower women in the industry to succeed through teamwork and education.
Alice H. Parker Patented a Gas Furnace
In the 1910s, an African American woman named Alice H. Parker came up with the idea for a central heating system for her New Jersey home, inspired by the cold winters. Though it was never implemented, she did receive a patent for her design in 1919, before the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. Though central heating was not a new concept at the time, several of her ideas were unique, including:
- She tried to create a design that would keep the home warm and prevent the need to go outside for wood to fuel the heater.
- Her design involved a furnace fueled by natural gas.
- The design included ductwork that would help the heat disseminate throughout the home.
- The groundbreaking model inspired more modern and practical designs used in gas furnaces today.
Pioneer in Mechanical Engineering and Air Conditioning, Margaret Ingels
Margaret Ingels was born in 1892. From an early age, she was fascinated with science and engineering and pursued a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Kentucky. She completed the program in 1916 and was the first woman to receive an engineering degree from the university and the second in the country. Some major highlights of her long and illustrious career are included below.
- Air Conditioning Improvements: She developed many things that improved the performance of air conditioners, including perfecting a machine that could measure dust accumulation in the air and a sling psychrometer that measured humidity.
- Spokesperson: She was a spokesperson for the heating and cooling industry and gave over 200 speeches throughout her career.
- Loyal Worker: She worked for Carrier Corporation, a major manufacturer of HVAC systems, from 1931 until her retirement.
- Prolific Writer: She wrote dozens of technical papers, two books, and a number of articles.
About Gillece Services
Gillece Services has over 40 years of experience serving Pittsburgh and the surrounding communities. They provide 24/7 emergency service, flat-rate pricing, and financing. Call them today for trustworthy technicians to perform air conditioning and heating services in Pittsburgh, PA.