|Funeral homes distributed fans to|
keep mourners cool and to advertise
What we take for granted didn't exist before the start of the 20th Century, although it should be of little surprise that those inventive Romans devised a way to circulate mountain water brought by the aqueduct system inside the walls of the wealthiest Romans' homes. After Rome fell, that technology was lost, and everyone sweltered in summer heat for centuries to come. There was always the hand fan, of course, a personal cooling system in use in China for 3,000 years. Room-size fans--human powered--have existed for about 1,700 years, but only (again) affordable to the wealthiest.
|Before Navy engineers came up with a rudimentary system to |
cool the room, hand-fanning was the only way to give the dying
President Garfield any relief from Washington's oppressive heat.
|Icebox ad showing how to store food.|
The upper left of the box is where the ice block was stored*
Electric-powered fans came into existence in 1882, and in 1902, Willis Carrier (sound familiar?) invented the first modern air-conditioning system to ease the strain of hot weather on printing plant machines. It took another 23 years before anyone got the bright idea of using Willis' invention to ease the strain of hot weather on human beings, when AC got its debut in a New York City movie house. Within a decade, public buildings and work places became air-conditioned, but by 1965, only 10% of American homes had AC. Today about 86% of the homes in the United States have air-conditioning, and aren't we glad?
|The iceman cometh|
person might tuck her clothes in the contraption for a bit of a cool-down before putting them on.
|John C. Holloway's home in White Cottage |
had a small but inviting front porch
In areas of concentrated population, like Zanesville, our ancestors took advantage of water fountains that were no more than large troughs. Men and boys might get some relief from summer heat by dunking their heads, but a respectable woman, sweltering in her corset, could never take such a liberty. She was probably lucky to be restrained by protocol. Cholera, typhoid and dysentery are all waterborne diseases, so dunking your head and face into a commonly used trough of water could be bad for your health.
A History of Air Conditioning
5 ways people stayed cool before air conditioning was invented
Presidential History Blog: The 3 Major Inventions of Garfield's Assassination
A History of the Electric Fan
*Illustration attribution: PD-US, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5319602