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


Joelle Fishman
Joelle Fishman

Joelle Fishman chairs the Connecticut Communist Party USA. She is an active member of many local economic rights and social justice organizations. As chair of the national CPUSA Political Action Commission, she plays an active role in the broad labor and people's alliance and continues to mobilize for health care, worker rights, and peace. Joelle Fishman preside el Partido Comunista de Connecticut USA. Es miembro activo de muchas organizaciones locales de derechos económicos y justicia social. Como presidenta de la Comisión Nacional de Acción Política del CPUSA, desempeña un papel activo en la amplia alianza laboral y popular y continúa movilizándose por la atención médica, los derechos de los trabajadores y la paz.