Accessibility links

Breaking News

AMERICAN MOSAIC - August 2, 2002: Songs by Norah Jones / Question About the Library of Congress / Air Conditioner Turns 100 - 2002-08-01


Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.


This is Doug Johnson. On our program today:

We play songs by Norah Jones ...

Answer a listener’s question about the Library of Congress ...

And report about the one-hundredth anniversary of an important invention.

Air Conditioning Anniversary


The weather this summer has been extremely hot in many areas of the United States. This has led most Americans to use air conditioning equipment to cool the air inside their homes and businesses. They are happy to observe the one-hundredth anniversary of the invention of air conditioning. Shep O’Neal has more.


The birth date of the air conditioner is July seventeenth, nineteen-oh-two. That was when the first air conditioning system was placed in a printing factory in Brooklyn, New York. Its purpose was to help reduce the amount of heat and wetness in the air that was damaging the ink and paper used in printing.

A young engineer named Willis Carrier invented that first air conditioner. He and six friends started their own air conditioning company in Syracuse, New York. Today, the Carrier company earns about nine-thousand-million dollars a year. It does business in more than one-hundred-seventy countries.

The Carrier system was the first that cooled, cleaned and dried the air. The company put air conditioning equipment into a movie theater in New York City in nineteen-twenty-five. It also air-conditioned the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. in nineteen-twenty-eight. The White House got air conditioning in nineteen-thirty.

But air conditioning did not become popular in American homes until after World War Two. Today, eighty percent of Americans have some kind of air conditioning in their homes. Ninety-six percent of all the houses in the American South are air-conditioned.

Experts say air conditioning has changed more than the air temperature. It has changed the way people live and work. Their activities are not linked to the weather. People can cook hot foods in the summer months, attend a movie or go shopping during hot weather. Air conditioning has improved the production of food products, medical supplies and drugs. It has made possible the growth of southern cities.

Officials of the Carrier company say air conditioning technology continues to improve. They say future air conditioning systems will be able to change the temperature based on the number of people in the room or even the kind of clothes a person is wearing.

Library of Congress


Our VOA listener question this week comes from Laos. Khachonesack Douangphoutha asks about the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

The Library of Congress is America’s national library. It has more than one-hundred-twenty-million books and other objects. It has newspapers, popular publications and letters of historical interest. It also has maps, photographs, art prints, movies, sound recordings and musical instruments.

The Library of Congress is open to the public Monday through Saturday, except for government holidays. Anyone may go there and read anything in the collection. But no one is permitted to take books out of the building.

The Library of Congress was established in eighteen-hundred. It started with eleven boxes of books in one room of the Capitol Building. By eighteen-fourteen, the collection had increased to about three-thousand books. They were destroyed that year when the Capitol was burned during America’s war with Britain.

To help re-build the library, Congress bought the books of President Thomas Jefferson. Mister Jefferson’s collection included seven-thousand books in seven languages.

In eighteen-ninety-seven, the Library moved to its own building across the street from the Capitol. Today, three buildings hold the library’s collection.

The Library of Congress provides books and materials to the United States Congress. It also lends books to other American libraries, government agencies and foreign libraries. It buys some of its books and gets others as gifts. It also gets materials through its copyright office. Anyone who wants copyright protection for a publication must send two copies to the library. This means the Library of Congress receives almost everything published in the United States.

Computer users can learn more about the Library of Congress and its collection on the Internet. The address is w-w-w dot l-o-c dot g-o-v. Again, the Library of Congress web address is w-w-w dot l-o-c dot g-o-v.

Norah Jones


Singer and piano player Norah Jones won three Down Beat Magazine Student Music Awards when she was in high school. Two were for Best Jazz Vocalist. The other was for Best Original Composition. Mary Tillitson tells us more about her.


Norah Jones has been playing the piano since she was seven years old. She worked as a singer and piano player at a local coffeehouse when she was sixteen. She continued to perform at similar places. Norah Jones is twenty-three years old now. She is enjoying the success of her first album, called “Come Away with Me.” Listen as Norah Jones sings “Don’t Know Why.”


Norah Jones says her mother was her greatest musical influence. Norah’s mother had a large record collection. It included songs by such great singers as Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, and Aretha Franklin. Norah listened to the songs again and again. She says she loves the music of the past. She learned this next song by listening to a recording by Nina Simone. Here is Norah Jones singing “Turn Me On.”


Norah Jones’s music is a mix of pop, country, soul, and jazz. Music critics have praised her music. We leave you with another song from the album “Come Away with Me.” Norah Jones sings “Shoot the Moon.”



This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. And I hope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC—VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.

This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Lawan Davis and Nancy Steinbach. Our studio engineer was Curtis Bynum. And our producer was Paul Thompson.