Bikers and Inventing Coolness

Warm summer days are perfect for motorcycle riding and the first full week of August every year brings hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts to Sturgis, South Dakota for an annual motorcycle rally.  The rally commenced 67 years ago in 1938 and was started by Clarence “Pappy” Hoel and the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club.


The first year the event was held it was called the Black Hills Classic and consisted of a motorcycle race with 9 participants and a small audience.  Throughout the years, the rally evolved into a seven-day event.  The only year the rally did not take place was during World War II due to gas rationing to support the war effort.  The highest attendance ever noted for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally occurred in August 2000 with around 600,000 people. Attendance figures since have remained above 500,000 people. 


The 2007 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will take place August 6-12 with a full schedule of bike shows, races, charity events, rock concerts, and more.  This year a variety of musicians will perform at the related Rock ‘n the Rally including:  Tanya Tucker, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, .38 Special, Godsmack, Ted Nugent, Smashmouth, Joan Jett, Randall Zwarte Band, and Eddie Money.


August also marks National Inventors Month, an event established in 1995 by the United Inventors Association of the United States, The Academy of Applied Science, and Inventor’s Digest.  The purpose of National Inventors Month is to teach children about inventing as well as provide information about the process of inventing for those with ideas for new products. 


Speaking of inventions, have you ever stopped to wonder on a hot, summer day as you stepped into a cool, air-conditioned building how air conditioning was invented and who thought of it?  The creator of the air conditioning process, Willis Haviland Carrier, was granted a patent entitled “The Apparatus for Treating Air” (U.S. Patent No. 808897) in 1906.  While Carrier is know for developing the air conditioning process, Stuart H. Cramer is given credit for coining the phrase “air conditioning” in a 1906 patent claim for a device that added water vapor to air in textile plants with the intent of conditioning yarn.  In 1911, Carrier shared his basic Rational Psychometric Formula with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.  This formula is still used today as the basis for all fundamental calculations in the air conditioning industry. 


The creation of a safe and successful air conditioning process allowed many industries to prosper because they finally had the ability to control temperature and humidity levels during and after the production of their products.  Cooling for human comfort began in 1924 with the installation of centrifugal air chillers (also invented by Carrier) in a department store in Michigan.  Demand for smaller units increased and, in 1928, Carrier developed the first residential air conditioner for home use. With the onset of the Great Depression and World War II, demand for non-industrial air conditioning units slowed.  After the war, consumer sales grew and air conditioning became a luxury many people wanted for their own homes.  Now, it is common practice for homeowners to use some type of air conditioning system (whether central air or window units) to cool their homes.


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