On Global Warming

The first air conditioning units were invented and installed by Willis Haviland Carrier in 1902 as a way of improving the manufacturing process in his printing plant. Unfortunately they weren’t all that effective as electricity had yet to be invented.

It wasn’t until 1928 when Franz Leon Gazz, working for the DuPont Company, discovered chlorofluorocarbons. DuPont, always one for a snappy marketing name, immediately began printing labels with “R-134A Hydrogenated Chlorofluorocarbon” on them. In mauve. Franz Leon Gazz, who suffered from permanent writer’s cramp and had very messy handwriting as it was, was required to put his name on all the bottles of his new concoction. He merely wrote Fr Leon Gaz. A shipping clerk mistook the “L” as the British pound sign and erased it, leaving “Freon Gaz” on the bottle. And that’s how the spell checker was born.

No, wait, that’s how Freon gas was born.

How it came to be that someone stuck it in an air conditioner has nothing to do with this story. Ok, it does, but let somebody else tell that part.

Gazz took a bottle of Freon home to his wife, Lotta, who immediately recognised that Freon was a wonderful heat sink and would probably work well as a refrigerant. She also recognised that one could get absolutely and totally wasted on the stuff so she knew she needed to keep it hidden from the help. She stashed it inside the air conditioner that they bought from the widow Carrier, which never worked anyways. And that’s how Freon gas got into air conditioners. Darn. I wasn’t going to tell you that.

Well, at least I won’t tell you that Lotta Gazz invented the electrical plug (the electrical outlet had been invented 6 years earlier, but no one knew what to do with it). For some odd reason she decided to attach it to the air conditioner. The help, trying to be helpful, saw the cord dangling next to the outlet and decided to plug it in, since it seemed to be such a nice match.

WELL! The combination of electricity and Freon inside Mr. Carrier’s machine caused it to whir and whoosh! Intrigued Mrs. Gazz stepped in front of the machine and felt the rush of cool air. The help stepped behind the machine and felt the flow of hot air, and immediately rushed to get the wet laundry. Mrs. Gazz had also just invented the clothes dryer.

After a few weeks of experimentation Mrs. Gazz was baffled as to why the room wasn’t getting any cooler. Out of frustration she pushed the machine out the window, but it got stuck. Serendipitously the room started getting warmer as Mrs. Gazz was cooling all of outdoors. Getting her wits about her she pulled the machine back in the room, reversed direction and put the hot part on the outside. Yes, air conditioning had finally been invented.

A short while after Mrs. Gazz’ air conditioning unit was running, her neighbour Mrs. Whiner, whose window faced the Gazz’ window, began to complain about how much hotter it seemed these days. On a chance visit to Gazz to borrow a cup of sugar, Whiner couldn’t help but notice how much cooler it was inside the Gazz’. “Oh yes,” explained Lotta Gazz, “when I point the clothes dryer out the window, the inside becomes much cooler!” Well, Mrs. Whiner just had to have one!

Mr. Whiner had the Gazz build two units, one for each side of the house. Mr. Whiner, recognising the commercial potential of Gazz’ invention, purchased the rights from Gazz to manufacture and sell Gazz’ machines, which they now called ‘air conditioners’. Very soon, their neighbours started complaining about how much hotter it seemed these days. And yes, they went and bought some of Whiner’s air conditioners.

And the cycle continued, every time someone else bought an air conditioner, the hot air being blown into the neighbours’ windows would cause those neighbours to go out and buy an air conditioner. Now, as you can imagine, this was starting to take up a lot of electricity. Not unnoticed by the utilities, the utilities soon began building more generating plants. But the plants put out of a lot of heat, and their neighbours began to complain. And buy air conditioners, which lead to more electrical generating plants being needed and putting out heat, which caused still more people to buy air conditioners. By this time whole apartment and office buildings were affected and were buying air conditioners. The whole Whiner clan got deep into the A/C business.

And then somebody invented the “shopping mall”.

Fortunately somebody else discovered ‘coal’ and many new electrical plants were built to provide electricity for all those air conditioners. Whole new towns, cities, and countries were installing air conditioners. While it was cool inside, it was getting hotter outside. It felt like the whole globe was getting warmer.

So basically you can blame global warming on a Lotta Gazz and a bunch of Whiners.


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