Summertime classic: Keeping cool

The temperature in Detroit was 98 degrees and rising on July 8, 1946, when the Goldberg brothers — Lowell, Norman, Hiram, and Maxwell — walked into Henry Ford’s office and sweet-talked his secretary into telling him that four gentlemen were there with the most exciting innovation in the auto industry since the electric starter.

Ford was curious and invited them into his office. They asked him to come out to the parking lot where their car was parked.

They asked him to get into the car, where the temperature was at least 120 degrees. Then they turned on the air conditioner and cooled the car off.

Ford was very excited and invited them back to the office, where he offered them $3,000,000 for the patent.

The brothers replied that they would settle for $2,000,000, but they wanted to have a label that said “The Goldberg Air Conditioner” on the dashboard of each car in which it was installed.

Now old man Ford was proud of the Ford name, and there was no way he was going to put the Goldbergs’ name on his cars. They haggled back and forth for a while, and the Goldbergs finally agreed that Ford could use just their first names on the label.

That is why, to this day, the control on every Ford air conditioner says Lo, Norm, Hi, and Max.

6 Responses to Summertime classic: Keeping cool

  1. egorr says:


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Imagine an a/c unit with settings for Manny, Moe, and Jack (the Pep Boys).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jennie says:

    I love this story!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just a pity that Packard had air conditioning back in 1938/39, but why spoil a good folk story 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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