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Leaders in Innovation

Beat the Heat This Summer With These Hall of Famers

From sunny days and warm rays to sunburned noses and cold treats, summer is filled with adventures big and small. Sometimes, though, the heat can be overwhelming. Thanks to some of the world’s greatest inventors, who are part of the National Inventors Hall of Fame®, we don’t have to worry – cooling down is a breeze with their awesome innovations!

Keep reading to learn more about three of our inspiring Hall of Famers whose inventions you might encounter as you enjoy the summer season.


Willis Haviland Carrier

Born in 1876, Hall of Famer Willis Haviland Carrier graduated from Cornell University in 1901. One year later, his first installation of air conditioning equipment was in operation in Brooklyn, New York, controlling both temperature and humidity for a printing plant. The work of this innovative engineer led to the air conditioning we know today! The next time you step into an air-conditioned building to escape the heat, remember to thank Carrier for making comfort cooling possible.


Allene Jeanes

Hall of Famer Allene Jeanes earned her organic chemistry degree in 1938, a time where few women were involved in the field. Thanks to her pioneering work in carbohydrate chemistry for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Northern Regional Research Laboratory, she gained recognition as an outstanding chemist and innovator. Jeanes discovered xanthan gum, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1968 for use as a food thickener, stabilizer and emulsifier. It’s found in many common products, including a favorite summertime sweet treat – ice cream!


Lonnie Johnson

Nothing says summer fun like a jolt of cool water from a Super Soaker®, invented by Hall of Famer Lonnie Johnson in 1989. Johnson was trained as a nuclear engineer and worked for Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the U.S. Air Force and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory before forming his own engineering firm. He licensed the Super Soaker to Larami Corp., and two years later it became the best-selling toy in America. This fun invention is still a major part of pool parties and backyard playdates today!


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Keep an eye on our blog to discover more inspiring innovators whose ideas have improved our lives throughout the seasons.

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