In the spring of 1902, Brooklyn printers by the name of Sackett & Wilhelms had a problem. It is doubtful whether anyone realized the vast ramifications the solution would bring.
When the humidity changed, the printers found that the paper expanded and contracted, causing their four color printing process to come out misaligned. Wasted days, wasted paper–it was a pretty big problem. Fortunately, a young engineer at the Buffalo Forge had an idea.
The engineer drew plans for a device to control the humidity of the print shop, and the crew from Buffalo Forge installed it. It was the first of its kind. By the end of the summer, the device had been a success.
It took four years for someone else to come up with the name “air conditioning.” Systems spread to other commercial enterprises, and eventually to other businesses, homes, and even to automobiles. As we approach the summer months here in the 21st century, it is hard to imagine life without air conditioning!
The engineer, who was just a year out of college when he drew the plans, later founded and ran his own company. You might have heard of Willis Carrier’s air conditioning company.
Every day, somewhere people are working on solutions to problems the cost us money, time, health, or some other resource. Others are working on things that may improve our lives, or entertain us, or provide some other advantage. Our everyday lives contain scores of things that did not even exist twenty or forty years ago.
For most of history, this is not how things worked. Life was nasty, brutish, and short. Generations came and went, but little changed. Then modernity unleashed human creativity and potential like never before.
This may be the key factor behind the seemingly perpetual upward tendency of the equity markets, all the way back to their origins.
We have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: stock markets are volatile. They go up and down. There are no guarantees. But they may represent a way to invest in human potential. Clients, please call or write if you would like to talk about this.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.