Milton Garland

Milton Garland
Harrisburg, PA, USA
Fields of study
Air conditioning


Milton Garland was an innovator in the field of refrigeration, earning forty-one patents before he retired at age 104.

Garland was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1895. His engineering career began as a teenager, when he worked at a shop repairing motorcycles. In 1915, he built a motorcycle from parts and drove it to college at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He paid for his education by superintending two apartment buildings. He served in the navy during World War I.

After graduation in 1920, he joined the Frick Company (now part of York International), where he worked for over eighty years. He supervised field installation work until 1948, when he became vice president for technical services. He retired in 1967, but the company hired him back the next day, and he continued to work at the company for decades. Among his post-retirement tasks, he was a company trainer, wrote an engineering design manual, and reviewed 2,000 patents a week looking for ways that new ideas could improve refrigeration.

Garland contributed dozens of his own innovations to heating and air conditioning systems. He worked on the Hoover Dam project, designing a system to cool the water, sand and rock that composed its concrete. Without this technology, concrete could not have been poured in the extreme heat of Nevada. During World War II, he created machinery that allowed for the mass production of dry ice, which preserved food for troops overseas, and developed a process for making artificial rubber. He also created the first “shell” ice maker, which made ice on the exterior of tubes that are four inches across and ten feet long. These cooling devices have chilled industrial workspaces as varied as chicken processing plants and two-mile-deep gold mines in South Africa.