Fun fact: In the United States Capitol building, every state is represented by two incredible statues, dedicated by the state and sent to live in The National Statuary Hall Collection.
It’s a room filled with names and faces from the history books—revolutionary heroes like John Adams, historic icons like Hellen Keller, warriors like Kamehameha. In general, it’s a collection featuring the most important folks in the history of our great 50 states.
And Florida sent an A/C dude.
That’s right! One of Florida’s two submissions to Statuary Hall, John Gorrie is hailed as the Father of HVAC, dying fifty years before Willam H. Carrier created the world’s first electric air conditioning unit. Let’s take a quick look at his career—and why he’s immortalized in Washington, D.C.
A Florida-Forward Physician
Dr. John Gorrie was born in the Caribbean but spent his early career treating patients along the Gulf Coast, living in Apalachicola until his death in 1855. It was there—sweltering under Florida’s oppressive heat and treating malaria cases—that Gorrie used to cool down rooms by suspending ice blocks from the ceiling.
The only thing? Ice was scarce, and needed to be shipped from frozen lakes up north.
The First Ice Machine
Gorrie needed a better solution—it became a life or death matter in some cases. He left medicine in 1844 to pursue this idea of refrigeration, and by 1850 he was pumping out brick-sized chunks of artificial ice; he submitted a patent in 1851.
Gorrie’s work set the foundation for modern HVAC, building Florida into what it is today. We take the creature comfort for granted sometimes, but Gorrie’s work came at a time where it was essential to fight malaria, fever, and tropical infections with cooled-down air; his work made the Sunshine State a safer, more hospitable place to be.
Modern-Day HVAC Needs
Hey, things are different now, and we’ve come a long way from cooling your room with a bucket of ice! Beat the heat with the best products on the market and unparalleled service from Armstrong Air and Electrical—call us at 1-800-AC-REPAIR for all your HVAC needs.