David Nelson Crosthwait
(1898-1976)

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David Crosthwait, Jr. was born on this date in 1898. He was an African-American Electrical and Mechanical Engineer.

From Nashville, TN., David Nelson Crosthwait, Jr. received a B.S. from Purdue University in 1913 and a Masters of Engineering in 1920. He was considered an authority on heat transfer, ventilation and air conditioning. He was a Research Engineer, Director of Research Laboratories for C.A. Dunham Company in Marshalltown, Iowa, from 1925 to 1930. He was the Technical Advisor of Dunham-Bush, Inc. from 1930 to 1971. He served as the past president of the Michigan City Redevelopment.

Crosthwait was an expert on heat transfer, air ventilation and central air conditioning. He was the author of a manual on heating and cooling with water and guides, standards, and codes that dealt with heating, ventilation, refrigeration, and air conditioning systems. During the 1920s and 30s, he invented an improved boiler, a new thermostat control and a new differential vacuum pump, all more effective for the heating systems in larger buildings. He was the Technical Advisor of Dunham-Bush, Inc. from 1930 to 1971. After retiring, Crosthwait taught a course on steam heating theory and control systems at Purdue University.

Crosthwait was responsible for designing the heating system for Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center in New York City. Crosthwait was the author of an instruction manual on heating and cooling with water and guides, standards, and codes that dealt with heating, ventilation, refrigeration, and air conditioning systems. Crosthwait received patents on 39 relating to the design, installing, testing, and service of HVAC power plants, heating, and ventilating systems.

After retiring from business in 1969, David Crosthwait taught a course on steam heating theory and control systems at Purdue University. He died in 1976.


Accomplishments

Crosthwait’s expertise was on air ventilation, central air conditioning, and heat transfer systems. With this knowledge he created many different heating systems, refrigeration methods, temperature regulating devices, and vacuum pumps. For these inventions he holds thirty nine United States patents as well as eighty international patents. In the 1920s and 1930s Crosthwait invented a vacuum pump, a boiler, and a thermostat control, all for more effective heating systems for larger buildings. Some of his greatest accomplishments were for creating the heating systems for the Rockefeller Center and New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

 
   
 
 
 
     

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