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Doorway to a New Era
Copyright 1948

Doorway to a New Era


Airtemp Division

Chrysler Corporation

Dayton, Ohio



                Chrysler Airtemp welcomes you to the most modern air conditioning, heating and commercial refrigeration manufacturing facilities in the world.



                In June of 1936, the Airtemp Division of Chrysler Corporation made its debut in Dayton by occupying the plant and offices in the old Maxwell plant, at Leo and Webster Streets. At that time, the company was known as Airtemp, Incorporated.

                The organization had its inception on July 7, 1934, in New York, when after an unsuccessful attempt to obtain air conditioning equipment for his New York offices, Walter P. Chrysler decided to go into the air conditioning business. At first, the company was known as Temperature Corporation, but on October 23, 1934, the name was changed to Airtemp, Incorporated. On September 30, 1938, Airtemp, Incorporated, became the Airtemp Division of Chrysler Corporation, the name by which the company is now known.

                From a meager beginning with only a few executives and workmen in 1936, the Airtemp Division of Chrysler Corporation has grown to a point where 1325 Dayton families depend on the firm for a living.

                The air conditioning industry which had been hailed as another industrial bonanza and savior from the depression around 1930 had not lived up to expectations. Chrysler Airtemp officials decided that in order to make a success in the industry, a self-contained packaged unit must be developed. Consequently, in 1937, Chrysler Airtemp engineers invented and developed the forerunner of today’s famous “packaged” air conditioner. Into this unit they installed another famous Chrysler Airtemp “first”, the sealed radial compressor. This compressor, heart of an air conditioning unit, was in a way merely a transposed internal combustion engine. Instead of vaporizing and exploding a liquid as does a motor, it compressed a refrigerant gas.

                Chrysler Airtemp engineers developed, also, the capacity reduction method used in large radial compressors. This method allows the compressor to work at the required load, rather than continually at peak performance. These three developments by Chrysler Airtemp are considered by air conditioning engineers as great contributions to the air conditioning industry.

                Following the development of the above mentioned, Chrysler Airtemp set out to build up a nationwide organization of selected dealers in key cities. By 1941, 500 such dealers had joined the Chrysler Airtemp organization. These dealers were schooled to trade on the fact that each had an engineer behind him; that the Chrysler Airtemp product could not be bought off the shelf at the department store; that it would be installed and serviced by experts; that no mechanical product is any better than the service behind it.

                Then came World War II. Officials of the company hurried to Washington after Pearl Harbor to find out where they stood in the war picture, asking one question, “Is our business needed.” After many calls, these officials were finally given an audience with the Head of the Division of the War Production Board and were told, “If I were you I should plan on getting into something else for the duration.”

                The Airtemp officials then asked what the Army was going to do about protecting the food of the best fed Army in the world; if it would be essential to air condition many hospital or parts of hospitals, and to provide cold boxes for serums, blood plasma, and the like, particularly in the tropics. As a result of this questioning, the War Production Board officials decided that air conditioning and refrigeration would be needed for war purposes.

                When peace came, Chrysler Airtemp was in an enviable position compared to many manufacturers. Although Chrysler Airtemp had manufactured many products for the armed forces such as bomb shackles, field kitchens and parts for anti-aircraft guns, assembly lines for air conditioning equipment had continued production and consequently with the coming of peace were ready immediately to start turning out units for commercial, domestic, and industrial use.

                Demand for products manufactured by Chrysler Airtemp became so great that officials of the Chrysler Corporation decided to build a new plant and construction started shortly after the war ended.

                Today, hundreds of “packaged” air conditioners, room air conditioners, large central station condensing units and commercial refrigeration equipment roll off of the assembly lines in the new Airtemp plant, each month. In the original plant all types of heating equipment are turned out in great numbers. Hundreds of dealers in all key market areas of this country and other parts of the world are selling Chrysler Airtemp equipment in quantities undreamed of a little more than ten years ago.

                Daily, Chrysler Airtemp engineers and scientists are working on new and better products. As these are developed, they will be added to the ever-growing lines of Chrysler Airtemp air conditioning, heating, and commercial refrigeration products.


Chrysler Engineering Standards Upheld in Airtemp Laboratory

                Shortly before the completion of the new air conditioning and commercial refrigeration plant, a new laboratory for research and development of air conditioning, heating, and commercial refrigeration equipment was erected. It is the most completely equipped laboratory of its kind in the industry. Exterior view of the laboratory is shown in the picture at top, while an interior view is shown immediately below the exterior. Photographs, left below, show a laboratory technician about to enter one of the hot rooms in the laboratory where equipment is put through excessive temperature tests, and a research engineer in the doorway of one of the huge cold rooms, (this particular cold room is designed for temperatures as low as 240° below zero), an Airtemp technician making a fuel analysis test and a special combustion chamber used for checking oil burners, combustion pots, and other furnace components respectively. Photos, right, show a row of compressor endurance test stands, where the reliability of these units is determined and an overall view of the model shop.


Increased Demand for Chrysler Products made Expansion Imperative

                By 1945, the facilities of the original Airtemp plant could no longer take care of the demand for Chrysler Airtemp products. Chrysler officials therefore decided to build a new plant for the exclusive manufacture of air conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment adjacent to the original plant. The ground was broken in November of 1945. The photo at top left shows the leveling off of the ground where the plant now stands. Next photo, taken in March of 1946, shows the foundation. By June, 1946, next photo, the plant was taking shape and by October, 1946, the first wall had been completed. The new year of 1947 dawned on a completed exterior. The plant is 640 feet long and 360 feet wide, is windowless and completely air conditioned by Chrysler Airtemp equipment. Albert Kahn of Detroit designed the plant.


Inside the Plant Much Work Remained but by September 1947 It Was Done

                Inside the Plant, new machinery, conveyor lines and other materials were being readied for production (top photographs) which began in March of 1947, when the packaged air conditioner assembly line (third from left) was started. In September, 1947, the new, fluorescent lighted, completely air conditioned offices (below) were occupied.


Most Raw Material Trucked into Plant

                Most of the raw materials used in the manufacture of Chrysler Airtemp heating and cooling equipment are brought into the plant by truck. The photograph immediately below gives an idea of the size of the receiving dock. Workmen unloading steel and other supplies are completely protected from the weather and work in year ‘round comfort.

                The steel and other materials is carried from the trucks into the main plant by a crane, shown below, lifting a load of steel. The crane enters the loading dock through the opening at right center. When the crane is not in use, the huge door which is dropped to make the opening is closed so as to make the air conditioning system inside the plant function perfectly.


Sheet Steel Cut to Right Size by Skilled Workmen In Both Plants

                The first process in manufacture of an air conditioning, heating, or commercial refrigeration unit is the shearing of the steel to the right size. In the top photograph (circle) steel for packaged air conditioners is being sheared in the new Plant, while the next photo shows the same process being performed in the Heating Plant for winter air conditioning units. Next, the necessary openings are made in the steel panels by huge punch presses. The punch press operation is being performed in the photograph, top right center. The steel sheets are then passed on to the huge machine, left below, where they are fashioned into the final shape. Next, the panels are hung on a huge conveyor line which carries them on their way to the spot welders.


Expert Welding Helps to Make Fine Heating, Cooling Products

                Spot welding of a winter air conditioner is shown, top right, while a part of a packaged air conditioning unit is being given the same treatment in the photo, top left. Seam welding of a furnace part is being performed in the photograph bottom right, while in the photo bottom left, welders are shown working on coils which are used in the condensers of packaged air conditioners and commercial refrigeration units. These welding processes are an integral part of the Airtemp system of manufacturing and insure durability of heating, air conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment turned out by Chrysler Airtemp.


Skilled Workmen Perform Tests to Assure Durability of Products

                At the same time the steel is being fashioned into panels and parts are being welded together, other skilled workmen are assembling coils, condenser units, and oil separators. Photo, top right, shows coils for a packaged air conditioner undergoing a leak test, while the photograph, right, shows highly trained workmen assembling and inspecting oil separators. These parts move onto to the main assembly line, while the panels, blower parts, and other steel components of heating, air conditioning, and commercial refrigeration units move into the huge washer shown below where they are thoroughly cleaned prior to passing through a bonderizing process and the paint line, bottom right, where a special wrinkle finish is sprayed onto them in the traditional Airtemp colors of moss green and sand gray.


Precision Machining – a Must at Airtemp

                Meanwhile, rough castings for compressor parts are being machined in the vast Chrysler Airtemp machine shop, shown in the top photo. The precision machining of crank shafts for sealed radial compressors is being carried on in the photograph (left). This machining is culminated by the famous Chrysler Superfinishing process and then the parts go to the Inspection Line, a portion of which is shown (center) where they are scrutinized closely by highly trained personnel.


Compressors – Heart of an Air Conditioner

                The heart of a Chrysler Airtemp packaged air conditioner is its sealed compressor. In the photo at top, skilled technicians are shown inspecting 3 and 5 horsepower compressor housings as they pass on their way to the compressor assembly line, which is shown immediately above. On this assembly line, the expertly machined parts of the interior of these sealed radial compressors are inserted. After they are assembled, all moisture is removed by the dry air process which is described elsewhere in this book. The technician in the photograph (right) is performing the dry air process. After being painted, these compressors are moved to the main assembly line.


Component Parts Meet and are Expertly Joined on the Various Assembly Lines at Airtemp

                Following all of the various processes described on the preceding pages, the various parts are conveyed to the assembly lines. The photograph, left above, shows a myriad of small gas furnaces on the assembly line in the Heating Plant, while the photograph, center, gives a view of the packaged air conditioning line. The assembly line for room air conditioners is shown top right, while the small compressor assembly line is shown left. These small compressors are used in the room air conditioners. Following assembly, all products are carefully crated, right, and then hauled to the loading dock, far right, where the products are sent to the dealers and their customers in all parts of the world.


Modern Time Saving Machines, Processes Integral Part of Plant

                Knowing that a modern plant is worthless without modern machinery, Chrysler Airtemp engineers have made every effort to equip the facilities with the most up-to-date machinery.

                Two of the outstanding, time-saving machines in the factory are the Induction Heating Process and Induction Brazing Process machines. These machines have reduced the time for performing certain air conditioning manufacturing processes from hours to seconds.

                The Induction Heating machine (top photo) hardens certain surfaces on the crank shafts and unloader lifter rings, while a surface a thousandth of an inch away will remain unchanged.

                The Induction Brazing machine (second from top) works similarly to a spot welding apparatus, except that it is far more effective. This process is used primarily for joining two or more parts together so that they appear as only one continuous unit. The Brazing process is used primarily on oil separators for the 3 and 5 ton “packaged” air conditioners.

                Painting of large central station air conditioners was difficult for a time because the fumes and paint got into the painter’s face. Chrysler Airtemp engineers overcame this trouble by designing a special wing type spray booth (third from top) which draws air into the front of the booth and then forces it, along with the paint and fumes, into water which dissapates them. The painter gets no paint about his face nor do the sides of the booth become covered with paint.

                The oil test for large central station compressors (being performed in the bottom photo) insures an exemplary performance of the units for the eventual user. These test are only a few of the many which are made daily in the Airtemp plants to insure the finest in heating, cooling and commercial refrigeration products.


Dry Air Control System Removes All Moisture From Compressors

                Chrysler Airtemp uses sealed radial compressors in air conditioning and refrigeration units. It is necessary that these compressors be completely dry inside before the Freon, which is used as a refrigerant, is sealed into them.

                Chrysler Airtemp engineers found the method of putting compressors into an oven just a little above the boiling paint of water and then using a vacuum pump to pull out the moisture, unsatisfactory. Consequently they devised a method known as the Dry Air Control System (above right) which draws air from the outside and passes it through either of two huge condensers which contain low temperature coils. These coils are kept at a low temperature by a Chrysler Airtemp radial compressor. The coils pick up water from the air and then send it on to an absorption dryer which removes all moisture. The completely dry air is then stored in a surge tank from where it is piped to all points in the plant where the air is needed. A dew point recorder keeps a constant check on the air to insure absolute dryness. This recorder registers the temperature of the air which is kept under 46 degrees below zero. Often when the humidity is high it is necessary to cool the air to 80 degrees below zero to insure freedom from moisture.

                When compressors on the production line are completely assembled, the dry air is forced through the entire refrigerant circuit to remove all moisture. The process is done quickly and thoroughly and costs much less than the oven method. The Dry Air Control System equipment is shown above.

                The small, compact ¾ horsepower sealed radial compressor that is used in the Chrysler Airtemp Room Air Conditioner requires exceptionally fine precision manufacturing and testing.

                One of the tests used to determine whether or not the compressor has been assembled according to the high Chrysler Airtemp standards is the Freon Leak test. The leak test and equipment with which it is performed was designed and set up by the Engineering department. Freon is charged into the compressors (as shown left) and then a lamp similar to the ones used to detect gas in coal mines is used to search for leaks in the refrigerant circuit. If no leaks are found a rough vacuum is then performed to pull all of the freon out of the unit. A fine vacuum is then performed to remove all air from the refrigerant circuit. Freon is then permanently sealed into the compressor and it is ready for the eventual user.


Air Conditioning System Supplies 417,600 Cubic Feet of Air Per Minute

                The new building of Chrysler Airtemp facilities is windowless. It is therefore necessary that the most perfect air conditioning system available be in operation there for the year around comfort of employes working in the plant and offices. To provide such a system, Chrysler Airtemp air conditioning engineers had eight central station systems installed to furnish air to the main factory portion of the plant. Each system is comprised of a 75 H.P. compressor and a 40 H.P. compressor, or a total of 920 H.P. These units are housed in eight separate penthouses on the roof of the plant and handle 304,000 cubic feet of air per minute.

                Forty-three of the famous Chrysler Airtemp five ton “packaged” air conditioners installed in the office section of the plant handle the recirculation of outside air for the office space. This outside air is furnished by twenty-three other five ton split units which are installed between the ceiling and the roof of the plant. The 43 units each handle 2,000 cubic feet of air per minute, while the 23 split units each handle 1,200 cubic feet of air for the same period. A total of 417,600 cubic feet of conditioned air per minute is supplied by the over-all system.

                Heating in the winter is supplied through the packaged units using hot water coils and with steam coils through the central station systems. A dry bulb temperature of 72 degrees is maintained constantly throughout the plant during the winter and a temperature of 78 degrees is maintained during the summer months. Both the central station and packaged systems maintain constant temperatures through the famous Chrysler Airtemp Auto Balance system of control.

                The photograph, top left, on page 16, shows one of the eight 75 horsepower units and the motor of one of the 40 horsepower units as installed in one of the penthouses. The photo at top right shows a concealed 5 horsepower packaged air conditioner as installed in a private office. Photograph, bottom left, shows a 5 horsepower split packaged unit which conditions outside air for offices, below suspended ceiling. Bottom right is a typical air supply fan for the factory section of the plant. This fan has a capacity of 40,000 cubic feet of air per minutes.

                Photograph, top left on page 17, shows four of the penthouses on the roof of the plant which house the large central station systems. Note the cooling towers alongside the penthouses. The photograph, top right, shows a row of enclosed 5 horsepower packaged units which provide the general office area with the ultimate in year ’round air conditioning. Photo, bottom left, shows a close-up of one of the 5 horsepower packaged units. Note the supply and return grills. The photograph, bottom right, is of the header arrangement of heating and cooling coils in one of the penthouses on the roof.


W.C. Newberg, President, Sets The Course

                Every factory, no matter how modern, needs a guiding hand, a leader to direct it to a successful course. Chrysler Airtemp’s leader is W.C. Newberg, who has risen through the engineering ranks of the Chrysler Corporation to his present position. Mr. Newberg joined the Chrysler Corporation in 1933, and has served in various engineering and executive capacities in the company since that time. During the war, he was Chief Engineer of Chrysler’s Chicago wartime operation, and prior to becoming President, he served on the staff of Mr. C.L. Jacobson, who is in charge of all Chrysler subsidiary activities. His ability and skill are helping lead Airtemp to a constantly more important position in the air conditioning, heating, and commercial refrigeration industry.


Chrysler Airtemp Products are made for Any Type Air Conditioning Job

                Chrysler Airtemp manufactures air conditioning equipment in sizes ranging from room coolers to huge central station equipment, capable of air conditioning large buildings. Commercial refrigeration equipment is manufactured in sizes from1/4 horsepower to 75 horsepower and marine units. The photograph at top is of a Year ‘Round Residential air conditioner. Top center is a 5 H.P. Packaged air conditioner. Right center is a Room Air conditioner. Bottom center is a 5 H.P. Commercial Refrigeration condensing unit, while a 3 H.P. Packaged air conditioner is shown far right. Bottom photos, left to right, are a seven cylinder central station air conditioning unit and a 75 H.P. marine refrigeration unit.


These Air Conditioning Installations Show Chrysler Airtemp Products at Work

                Above is a home in Kansas equipped with Chrysler Airtemp Year ‘Round air conditioning, while right is the equipment as installed in the basement of the home.

                Above is a restaurant in New Jersey, equipped with Chrysler Airtemp packaged air conditioners. Right, the air conditioners are shown as installed in the restaurant.

                Left, is one the Chrysler Airtemp room air conditioners as installed in the bedroom of a home. These units are also used in the offices of various types.


Large Central Station Products at Work on Land and Sea

                The Union Pacific Building, top left, in Omaha, Nebraska, has been air conditioned for many years by Chrysler Airtemp central station equipment. The Chrysler Airtemp equipment which cools this building is shown above.

                Many ships now plying the sea lanes are refrigerated and air conditioned by Chrysler Airtemp marine equipment. Left, is the Del Norte, one of the ships of the Delta Line, which is equipped with Chrysler Airtemp machinery. The huge marine condensing units are shown in the photo below, as installed on the ship.


Domestic Heating Products for all Fuels are Mass Produced by Airtemp

                Chrysler Airtemp has gained a favorable position in the heating industry after only a few shorts years in the business. Above are photographs of heating products. Shown in top row, left to right, are winter air conditioners which are manufacture in four sizes for either gas or oil, an upright oil-fired winter air conditioner, forced air and gravity oil-fired furnaces for small homes, oil-fired boilers in three sizes, and a conversion oil burner. Next row pictures coal-fired furnaces in three sizes, hopper feed stokers for bituminous and anthracite coal, and stoker-fired water heaters. Bin feed stokers are shown below the stoker-fired water heaters. Bottom row shows the upright gas-fired winter air conditioner, two gas-fired furnaces for apartments or very small dwellings, and the convertible all-fuel furnace.


Satisfied Users of Chrysler Airtemp Products are Legion – Here are a Few…

                Photo, left below, shows a typical installation of a Chrysler Airtemp oil-fired furnace for small homes. This installation is in Cleveland. The upright oil-fired winter air conditioner is shown bottom left as installed in a home on Long Island. An oil-fired winter air conditioner with a Chrysler Airtemp oil-fired hot water heater is shown, center top, as installed in a New Jersey home. A gas-fired air conditioner is shown in the basement of a Kansas home, top right, while an oil-fired boiler is shown at bottom right as installed in the garage of a New Jersey home. These and thousands of other users of Chrysler Airtemp heating products are enjoying the finest automatic heating comfort available, made possible by Chrysler Airtemp research, engineering and manufacturing facilities.


Highly Selective Dealer Organization Sells, Installs and Services Chrysler Airtemp Products

                In order to keep manufacturing facilities such as those enjoyed by Chrysler Airtemp going at full blast it is necessary that the hundreds of products turned out daily be sold and installed in homes, commercial and industrial establishments throughout this and other countries.

                This is accomplished through a highly selective dealer organization. Chrysler Airtemp dealers have facilities for displaying, selling, installing, and servicing the many products manufactured in the Airtemp plants. A typical dealer set-up is pictured above. Center is an exterior view of an attractive showroom, while the interior of the showroom is shown at top left. Adequate office facilities are shown top center, while extensive warehouse space is shown top right. Bottom left is the parts and service department, while at bottom right is the sheet metal shop where duct work for air conditioning and heating installations is made.