USA: The famous Carrier air conditioning and Otis lifts brands share a family connection that goes deeper than just being part of the same UTC Building & Industrial Systems division.
It seems that Willis Carrier, credited as being the founder of air conditioning, was related to Elisha Otis, founder of Otis Elevators and the pioneer who invented the safety device that prevents elevators from falling if the hoisting cable fails.
Experts at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston have confirmed that Willis Carrier’s great-grandmother, Lydia Otis, was cousins with Elisha Otis, making Carrier and Otis fourth cousins.
The company’s they founded have been part of United Technologies Corp for many years and now both make up part of UTC’s Building & Industrial Systems division.
Willis Carrier was born in Angola, New York, near Buffalo in 1876. Less than a decade after inventing modern air conditioning in 1902 to solve a production problem at a Brooklyn print shop, he solidified his role in history as the “father of air conditioning” with the Rationale Psychometric Formulae. It is the most famous and enduring document ever prepared on the topic and Carrier’s equations still form the basis of air conditioning design calculations. Today, 112 years later, Carrier is the world’s leader in high-technology heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions.
Elisha Otis was born in Halifax, Vermont in 1811 and later moved to Yonkers, New York. Two years after inventing the “safety elevator,” Otis famously promoted it at the 1854 World’s Fair in New York City. With the help of circus legend PT Barnum, Otis stood atop an elevator platform as the rope was cut to demonstrate the springs that snapped into place and kept the elevator from falling. Today, Otis Elevator Company is the world’s largest manufacturer and maintainer of people-moving products, including elevators, escalators and moving walkways.
“The creative thought running through the Otis and Carrier families enabled buildings to rise higher and become more comfortable, increasing productivity, making urban life possible and creating the skylines of today,” said Geraud Darnis, president, UTC Building & Industrial Systems. “People often joke that ‘it must be in the water,’ but in this case, that inventive spirit was in their blood.”
“I think both Elisha and Willis would be pleased to see their pioneering spirit alive and well today,” said John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer, UTC Building & Industrial Systems. “Their legacies of innovation have inspired our engineers to create advancements in energy efficiency to support the world’s move to greener buildings. It’s not surprising that they were family long before their brands became part of the same company.