Turn on the Air Conditioning


The 3 Goldberg brothers, Norman, Hiram, and Max, invented and developed the first automobile air-conditioner.

On July 17, 1946, the temperature in Detroit was 97 degrees. The 3 brothers walked into old man Henry Ford’s office and sweet-talked his secretary into telling him that 3 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 that it was installed in.

Now old man Ford was more than just a little anti-Semitic, and there was no way he was going to put the Goldbergs’ name on 2 million Fords.

They haggled back and forth for about 2 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 Norm, Hi and Max on the controls.

Now you know.


Cathy McPeek

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