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Blog | Alice H. Parker


Alice H. Parker was born in 1895 and grew up in Morristown, New Jersey. She attended classes at Howard University Academy in Washington D.C. In 1910, Alice earned a certificate with honors from the Academy.

Almost 100 years ago, on December 23, 1919, an official patent was granted to Alice Parker for a furnace design that shows natural gas being used as a power source when most homeowners were using wood and coal to warm their homes. Her design allowed cool air to be drawn into the furnace, then conveyed though a heat exchanger that delivered warm air through ducts to individual rooms in a house. Her design was not the first for a gas furnace design, but it was the first to incorporate a multiple yet individual controlled burner system. Although the exact design was never used due to safety issues with the regulation of heat flow, the design was an important concept to the modern heating zone systems and thermostats.

Not only was her patent an achievement to the future of HVAC and heating, but Alice H. Parker was an African American woman who received a patent in a time where there were very limited opportunities.