Heating and Air Conditioning Pioneer: David Crosthwait Jr.

1 Posted by - May 21, 2020 - BLACK INVENTIONS, BLACK MEN

Tennessee is the home to a number of inventors, one of them–David Crosthwait–was responsible for a number of advances in air conditioning and heating.


Career and Education

Crosthwait was born May 27, 1898 in Nashville. At an early age, he focused heavily on his studies. He would go on to Indiana to study mechanical engineering at Purdue. Following his time in university, David Crosthwait would begin working for the C.A. Dunham Company in 1913. It would be at C.A. Dunham that he would engage in a number of projects around AC and heating.

Prior to Crosthwait’s work, HVAC was slow to reach a number of institutions and the general public. He focused on systems that could heat or cool buildings of all sizes. The main achievement of this was his system being used in units to heat New York City’s Radio City Music Hall.

The work and research of David Crosthwait have resulted in almost 40 patents. These include a thermostat and several related innovations, a steam heating system, a vacuum heating system, and a refrigeration system. His inventions have been applied to the general comfort the field provides among others.


Later Life

Towards the end of his career,  David Crosthwait wrote for a number of publications in regards to his work. He would also assist in the revision of important texts in the engineering field. The Purdue graduate would receive awards for his work before retiring with C.A. Dunham in 1969. He remaining in the field and became the first Black fellow of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers two years later.

David Crosthwait, Jr. would pass away on February 25, 1976 at the age of 77.



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