Margaret Ingels

Margaret Ingels studied engineering at the University of Kentucky, and became the first woman to receive a graduate degree in mechanical engineering in the country. But an early fascination with air conditioning—not a prevalent technology in the early 1900s!—led her to Carrier Lyle Heating and Ventilation Corporation, where she helped develop the Anderson-Armspach dust determinator, which became the industry standard for air filtration, as well as the sling psychrometer, which measures air humidity and is still used today. She was well-known for her lectures and traveled across the country to deliver them, including one entitled “Petticoats and Slide Rules.

Petticoats are not incompatible with slide rules, argued Margaret Ingels. In her 1952 speech to the Western Society of Engineers in Chicago, the mechanical engineer emphasized that a woman who joined the engineering profession took on a responsibility to “widen the trails blazed for her—and more. She must build them into great highways for women engineers of the future to travel, free of prejudices and discrimination.”

Because of her achievements, both educational and occupational, Ms. Ingels was chosen, along with Eleanor Roosevelt, as a recipient of the 1940 Women’s Centennial Congress. The University of Kentucky College of Engineering inducted Ms. Ingels into its 1993 Hall of Distinction. Since 1996, Ms. Ingels’ portrait has hung in the Kentucky Capitol’s west foyer among the other “Kentucky Women Remembered…” permanent exhibit.
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