ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 46

ASHRAE - CELEBRATING 125 YEARS

FIGURE 9 The chlorofluorocarbon FREON could be safely used in packaged
air-conditioning equipment located in private or public places. (From: Kinetic
Chemicals ad, Heating Piping and Air Conditioning, July 1934, p. 67).

assistants, chemist Albert Henne
and chemical engineer Robert
McNary, a new refrigerant was proposed after a remarkable Saturday
afternoon brainstorming marathon.
Midgley had thought that it was
unlikely that one compound could
fulfill the specified requirements
and that some type of blend would
be needed. However, the team
decided to try for a single compound
using an unusual approach. The
Periodic Table of the Elements was
consulted to explore relationships
between elements that might yield
something useful. The thought processes resulted in one compound,
dichlorodifluoromethane, which
seemed to be an ideal refrigerant.
One of the most important
requirements was that any new
refrigerant be non-toxic. Prevailing
thought was that any compound
containing fluorine would likely
be toxic. A small batch of the new
refrigerant was prepared and
tested on a guinea pig, with no ill
effects. Another batch was prepared, but this time the guinea pig
died. Investigation showed that the
catalyst used to prepare the new
46

ASHRAE JOURNAL

ashrae.org

FIGURE 10 Before comfort air conditioning, one had to resort to using an electric

fan. (From: Bulletin of the Philadelphia Electric Company, June 1914, pp. 12-13).

sample was contaminated, resulting in deadly phosgene gas being
mixed with the refrigerant. In fact,
another four vials of the catalyst,
antimony trifluoride, were found to
be contaminated. The fact that only
five vials of catalyst had been available to the researchers-four of them
contaminated with a phosgene-producing agent-meant that the odds
were greatly against a successful toxicity test.5 Would testing of dichlorodifluoromethane proceed if the
first guinea pig had died? Thomas
Midgley later commented, "... I
often wonder if the sudden death of
our first guinea pig would not have
so completely shaken our confident
expectation that our new compound
could not possibly be toxic, that-
well, I still wonder if we would have
been smart enough to have continued the investigation."6
In fact, experimentation with
the new refrigerant did continue,
and it was publicly announced in
1930. The new refrigerant, Freon,
was manufactured by Kinetic
Chemicals Inc., a stock company
owned jointly by General Motors
and DuPont. Freon was considered

S E P T E M B E R 2 0 19

FIGURE 11 The first successful window air
conditioners were marketed in the late 1930s.
(From: Collier's, July 1, 1939, p. 52).

such an important discovery that
the new refrigerant was sold not


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ASHRAE Journal - September 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ASHRAE Journal - September 2019

Contents
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - Intro
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - Cover1
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - Cover2
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 1
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - Contents
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 3
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 4
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 5
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 6
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 7
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 8
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 9
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 10
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 11
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 12
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 13
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 14
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 15
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 16
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 17
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 18
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 19
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 20
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 21
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 22
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 23
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 24
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 25
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 26
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 27
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 28
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 29
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 30
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 31
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 32
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 33
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 34
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 35
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 36
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 37
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 38
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 39
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 40
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 41
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 42
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 43
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 44
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 45
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 46
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 47
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 48
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 49
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 50
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 51
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 52
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 53
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 54
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 55
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 56
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 57
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 58
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ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 60
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 61
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 62
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 63
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ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 65
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 66
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 67
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ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 69
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 70
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 71
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 72
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 73
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ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 85
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ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 87
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - 88
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - Cover3
ASHRAE Journal - September 2019 - Cover4
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