Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The First Auto Air-Conditioning

Here's a little factoid for automotive buffs or just to dazzle your friends.
The four Goldberg brothers, Lowell, Norman, Hiram, and Max, invented and developed the first automobile air-conditioner.  On July 17, 1946, the temperature in Detroit was 97 degrees.

The four brothers walked into old man Henry Ford's office and sweet-talked his secretary into telling him that four gentlemen were there with the most exciting innovation in the auto industry since the electric starter.

Henry was curious and invited them into his office.  They refused and instead asked that he come out to the parking lot to their car.

They persuaded him to get into the car, which was about 130 degrees, turned on the air conditioner, and cooled the car off immediately.
The old man got very excited and invited them back to the office, where he offered them $3 million for the patent.
The brothers refused, saying they would settle for $2 million, but they wanted the recognition by having a label, 'The Goldberg Air Conditioner' on the dashboard of each car in which it was installed. 

Now old man Ford was more than just a little anti-Semitic, and there was no way he was going to put the Goldberg's name on two million Fords.

They haggled back and forth for about two hours and finally agreed on $4 million and that just their first names would be shown.

And so to this day, all Ford air conditioners show:

Lo, Norm, Hi, and Max on the controls.

I can hear your groans from here. Shut it!


Mike Golch said...

works for me.

Matty said...

Got me.

T. Roger Thomas said...


Anonymous said...

It's official. I HATE YOU!!! And myself for reading that ALOUD to Joe, thinking I was reading FACTS....neither of us groaned. We laughed our asses off and it's only 10 am. NOW what are we going to sit on for the rest of the day.

Nicole Vickers said...

Was that really the first automobile to have an air conditioning system? That's cool! It's interesting to know how the history of Ford turned out in its early years. I'd love to read more about how this brand achieved its success.