Alice Parker: The Queen Of Heat

Alice Parker: The Queen Of Heat

Alice Parker: The Queen Of Heat

Are you tired of shivering in the cold during the winter? Well, you have Alice H. Parker to thank for making your home a warm and cozy place. Alice Parker was an African American engineer, inventor and mechanical genius who revolutionized the way we heat our homes.

Born in 1894 in New York, Alice Parker was always interested in mechanics and engineering. She began her career as a mechanical engineer, but it wasn't long before she realized that her true passion was inventing. Her most famous invention was the gas-fired central heating system.

Alice Parker patent drawing

Before Parker's invention, most homes were heated by fireplaces or coal-burning stoves, which were not only inefficient but also dangerous. Parker's gas-fired central heating system was a game-changer. It was a network of pipes that distributed heated gas throughout a building, providing warmth in every room. The system was simple, efficient, and safe, and it quickly became popular in homes, schools, and offices across the country.

But Parker's contributions to society didn't stop there. She also held patents for other inventions such as an improved gas valve and a gas-fired water heater. Her inventions made our homes and buildings more comfortable, efficient and safe to live in.

Unfortunately, Alice Parker's contributions were not widely recognized during her lifetime due to the racial and gender discrimination of the time. Her patents were often attributed to her male colleagues and her name was not widely known. However, her legacy lives on and her inventions continue to shape the way we live today.

So, next time you're feeling warm and cozy in your home, remember the name Alice H. Parker, the engineer who revolutionized heating. Her contributions to society may not have been widely recognized, but her legacy lives on and her inventions continue to make the world a better place.

Alice H. Parker – The HVAC Pioneer – Rushing


Spoon Heat Conduction Experiment

This experiment is a simple way to demonstrate how heat is transferred from one object to another through conduction.

Materials Needed:

  • Cup
  • Butter
  • Metal spoon
  • Plastic spoon
  • Wooden spoon (optional)

What can you spy with your engineering eye? Who’s ready to learn how heat conduction works? Let’s go!


  1. Carefully fill a cup with warm to hot water

  2. Place a little bit of butter on the end of each spoon

  3. Place the spoons in the water but do not submerge the butter

  4. Observe the spoons and note which spoon the butter melts on first.

  5. Discuss with children that each spoon is transferring the heat from the water to the butter through a process known as conduction.

  6. Alice Parkers central heating system was similar to this. The water is the centralized heat source that conducts heat to different rooms in the house (the ends of the spoons).

This activity not only teaches children about the work of Alice Parker but is also a great way for kids to learn about heat conduction in a hands-on and interactive way. It is simple, easy to set up, and can be done using materials that are easily available at home.

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Bring the work of these Amazing Black Innovators to life!