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Members of the House of Representatives sit in unassigned armchairs arranged in a semicircle on tiered platforms that face the Speaker's rostrum. Behind the rostrum is a frontispiece with Ionic columns made of black Italian marble with white Alabama marble capitals. An American flag occupies the center and is flanked by two bronze faces. The chamber's lower walls are walnut paneled with intervening light grey Genevieve Sheldorado marble pilasters. A gallery for visitors and the press corps rings the chamber
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View of the U.S. Capitol Building from above at dusk
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Painted Portrait of Benjamin Henry Latrobe
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Car of History Clock in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall.
Ivestigate the meaning behind the Car of History Clock in the U.S. Capitol’s...

John Gorrie

Marble statue of John Gorrie
C.A. Pillars
Artist

Marble
Given by Florida in 1914
National Statuary Hall
U.S. Capitol

Overview 

This statue of John Gorrie was given to the National Statuary Hall Collection by Florida in 1914. A physician, scientist, inventor and humanitarian, Gorrie is considered the father of refrigeration and air-conditioning.

John Gorrie was born on the Island of Nevis, October 3, 1802, and received his medical education in New York. Pursuing the study of tropical diseases, Gorrie moved to Apalachicola, Florida, a large cotton market on the Gulf coast. With remarkable foresight and without knowledge of microbiology, he urged draining the swamps and sleeping under mosquito netting to prevent disease. He also advocated the cooling of sickrooms to reduce fever and to make the patient more comfortable. For this he cooled rooms with ice in a basin suspended from the ceiling. Cool air, being heavier, flowed down across the patient and though an opening near the floor. Since ice had to be brought by boat from the northern lakes, Gorrie experimented with making artificial ice.

As well as being resident physician at two hospitals, Gorrie was active in the community, but he resigned his positions after 1839. After 1845, he gave up his medical practice to pursue refrigeration projects. On May 6, 1851, Gorrie was granted Patent No. 8080 for a machine to make ice. The original model of this machine and the scientific articles he wrote are at the Smithsonian Institution. Impoverished, Gorrie sought to raise money to manufacture his machine, but the venture failed when his partner died. Humiliated by criticism, financially ruined, and his health broken, Gorrie died in seclusion on June 29, 1855.


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Last Updated: October 14, 2014