Gilbert Carlson was born in 1922 and graduated from Purdue University in 1946 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Gil as known by his peers, went on to work for the Bell and Gossett Company in Morton Grove, Illinois where he spent his entire working career, retiring as their Director of Technical Services in 1988. He also served on the Industry Advisory Committee of Purdue’s Herrick Laboratories for 32 years. Mr. Carlson joined the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers (now ASHRAE) in 1953. Shortly thereafter he co-authored with Harold Lockhart a paper “Compression Tank Selection for Hot Water Heating Systems”, which at the time, greatly simplified sizing of the compression chamber. The paper led to the subsequent seminal paper that changed the hydronic system industry. As an author, Gil published more than 100 articles and papers which were published in the ASHRAE Transactions, Journal, and other leading trade magazines. Gil served for many years on numerous ASHRAE TCs. He was considered the “Dean” of TC6.1 and TC8.2 for many years. He was an ASHRAE Fellow and a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award and the Life Member Award. He held seven U.S. patents on balancing devices and other hydronic control specialties and gave the design community the round slide rule nomograph, the “System-Syzer®”. Mr. Carlson’s talent was to reduce large, complex systems into small manageable components that would work together in harmony through the “common pipe” principle. He would get his audience or readers thinking with cryptic, cleaver expressions like “a difference isn’t a difference unless it makes a difference” and the principle of the tee, which was “all of the water flowing into a tee must flow out of the tee and all of the water flowing out of a tee must have flowed into the tee.” He was a mentor to generations of engineers. Gil traveled the world lecturing and performing his diagnostic skills on major systems that could not perform – he was a hands-on engineer of the highest order. Gilbert Carlson was recognized as an ASHRAE Pioneer of the Industry at the Society’s 2013 Winter Conference in Dallas, Texas.
William E. Fontaine
William Ellsworth Fontaine was born in Chicago, Illinois on May 5, 1905. He graduated from Lane Technical High School and attained his Bachelor of Arts in Science degree at Central YMCA College, later called Roosevelt University, in Chicago in 1935. He received a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1942 followed by a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1944, both at Purdue University where he went on to teach and remained on faculty for 35 years. Prior to that William worked as a draftsman and signal engineer for Western Electric Company, and the Burlington and Quincy Railroad in Chicago from 1924-1937. Following his retirement Mr. Fontaine earned the designation of Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. Professor Fountaine’s milestone contribution to the HVAC&R Industry was establishing the Ray W. Herrick Laboratories at Purdue University, the first of its kind. Its successes have had a great influence on expanding industry support of graduate student research that in the 1950s was usually limited to supporting fellowships. The outcome has been tangible advancement of the arts and sciences of HVAC&R. The way that the Herrick Laboratories under Professor Fontaine’s leadership handled such issues became a role model for the way industry and many other universities do directed research. More than 700 students have graduated from the laboratories since Fontaine’s dream became a reality; close to half of them were specifically relevant for the HVAC&R industry. He was a regional director for the American Society of Refrigerating Engineers (ASRE) in 1959 when the society merged with the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers (ASHVE) to form today’s ASHRAE. Mr. Fontaine was selected as an ASHRAE Fellow and served on the ASHRAE Board of Directors. Professor William Fontaine was recognized as an ASHRAE Pioneer of the Industry at the Society’s 2013 Winter Conference in Dallas, Texas.
Dr. John Gorrie (1802 – 1855) is the first documented American to propose and construct a mechanical refrigeration machine for making ice. But he was also the first American to use mechanical refrigeration for comfort cooling.
Dr. Gorrie was a medical doctor practicing general medicine beginning in the 1830s from his home in Apalachicola in the panhandle of Florida. He became so interested in the connection of heat and humidity to disease that he proposed, in an 1842 article, to cool entire cities using mechanical refrigeration. Within two years, he constructed an air cycle refrigerating machine to provide refrigerated air. At that time, he wrote, “Let the houses of warm countries be built with an equal regard to insulation, and a like labor and expense be incurred in moderating the temperature, and lessening the moisture of the internal atmosphere and the occupants would incur little or no risk from malaria ... high atmospheric temperature ... prevents a large portion of the human family from sharing the natural advantages they possess.”
By 1850, he had constructed a couple of refrigeration machines, performed numerous scientific experiments on them and published another article, “On the Quantity of Heat Evolved from Atmospheric Air by Mechanical Compression.” In an attempt to finance his ambitions, he adapted his machine for ice making, obtaining a British and U.S. Patent. His U.S. Patent is the first to be issued for mechanical refrigeration. One of his machines was installed in Havana, Cuba and another in London.
He published a promotional pamphlet for an ice making system in 1854, but unable to successfully launch his machine, he become despondent and died in 1855. He applied for another U.S. Patent on a comfort cooling system which was never issued. His air cycle system ideas were later refined and produced by others.
Dr. Gorrie’s publications include: Refrigeration and Ventilation in Cities, On the Prevention of Malarial Diseases, On the Quantity of Heat Evolved from Atmospheric Air by Mechanical Compression, and On the Nature of Malaria and Prevention of its Morbid Agency.
Dr. Gorrie was recognized as an ASHRAE Pioneer of the Industry at the Society’s 2014 Winter Conference.
Alfred R. Wolff
Alfred R. Wolff (1859 – 1909) was considered the leading consulting heating and ventilating engineer at the end of the 19th century. Based in New York City, working with the leading architects of the time, he designed the H&V systems of many of the major buildings in New York, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Columbia University, New York Hall of Records, Metropolitan Life Building, Carnegie Hall, Gimbel Brothers Department Store, Bellevue Hospital, National Coty Bank, New York Athletic Club, residences of Cornelius Vanderbilt and Andrew Carnegie, Plaza Hotel, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, and the New York Public Library, as well as dozens of others.
He was a pioneer in design of comfort cooling systems, devising the first co-generation heating-cooling systems for Cornell Medical College, the New York Stock Exchange, Hanover National Bank and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Mr. Wolff earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1876 at age 17 from the Stevens Institute of Technology. He became interested in the science of heating and ventilating large structures and introduced the use of calculations of system load using heat transfer coefficients into U.S. practice. He was the first engineer to divide heating plants into units spaced on multiple floors for high-rise buildings. Realizing the importance of humidity regulation in buildings, he convinced Warren Johnson to develop the humidistat control. He also was the first to incorporate air filters in his designs.
In 1901 Mr. Wolff proposed the largest cooling plant ever attempted for the new building of the New York Stock Exchange. The 300 ton co-generation system used absorption chillers powered by electric plant exhaust steam, providing summer cooling at no additional energy cost. The system operated successfully for 20 years.
His engineering thesis, later published as The Windmill as a Prime Mover, is still considered one of the foundation engineering texts for windmill technology. He was a charter member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Mr. Wolff’s publications include The Value of the Study of the Mechanical Theory of Heat, Ventilation of Buildings, and The Heating of Large Buildings, Some Moral Factors in the Engineer’s Career.
Mr. Wolff was recognized as an ASHRAE Pioneer of the Industry at the Society’s 2014 Winter Conference.