1919 | New York City

Made to Order

Meet the Mechanical Weather Man.

Permit me to introduce myself. I am the Mechanical Weather Man, and I manufacture weather to order.

The boss says I’m a figment of the imagination—that an artist made me by endowing a control valve, or some such thing, with a pair of legs, a pair of arms, and a smile. But I like to think that I’m the visualization of an idea—the idea of manufacturing weather, to make “Every Day a Good Day.”

Nearly two hundred distinctly different American industries, from chewing gum to aeroplanes, have profited by that idea. Two men named Wright had an idea about aeroplanes, and today they are carrying United States mail and flying across the Atlantic. Two men named Carrier and Lyle had an idea about making weather mechanically, and today their apparatus is manufacturing more than 400 million pounds of made-to-order weather every working day. The Wright Brothers said, “Birds, which are heavier than air, can fly in the air, so we can build a machine heavier than the air that also can fly in the air.”

Carrier and Lyle said, “Some days nature makes perfect. Some days are good days, everything just right to make everybody feel full of life and to make it possible for these vigorous people to produce the things that contribute to our health and happiness. If nature can make a good day once in a while, we’ll manufacture weather and make ‘Every Day a Good Day.’ If we can find out how nature makes such wondrous days in early spring, we’ll build machines to reproduce those days anywhere, anytime.”

They realized, of course, that what might be a good day in one case might be entirely different from the requirements of other cases. Some products must be made in a hot, damp atmosphere, and some must be manufactured in a cold, dry atmosphere.

Since air is the medium that conveys to us, and to our materials, the effects of weather, the science of manufacturing weather was called “air conditioning.”

About This Text

Carrier Engineering Corporation, from The Story of Manufactured Weather. Known as “the father of air conditioning,” American inventor Willis Carrier designed the first system to regulate temperature and humidity in 1902 while working as an engineer for the Buffalo Forge Company. In 1915 he cofounded the Carrier Engineering Corporation. As part of its marketing efforts, the company issued humorous pamphlets featuring the Mechanical Weather Man, a cartoon character shaped like a control valve.