Today in labor history: air conditioning patented by black inventor


Today in 1949 African American inventor Frederick McKinley Jones submitted 3 patents: for an automatic refrigeration system for trucks; the starter generator; and a generator for cooling gas engines - and hence air conditioning was born!

Jones who hailed from Cincinnati, in his early years did not complete high school. His inventor's expertise included such diverse fields as cars, electrical engineering, refrigeration, and cinema. As a new inventor he failed to apply for patents for several early designs, including a portable x-ray machine, nevertheless he went on to submit over 60 patents which had wide application.

The National Medal of Technology was posthumously awarded to Jones.

Photo: Minnesota Historical Society