Air conditioners didn’t enter homes until H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman invented the window AC unit in 1931. These air conditioners are still commonly used today; however, back then very few people could afford the luxury of an individual room air conditioner.
Fortunately, they found plenty of other ways to stay cool. Here’s a list of 13 ways people stayed cool before AC:
- Underground Living. Whether it was cave dwellings or sod roofing, underground living allowed tenants to stay cool during the hot summer months.
- Shade Trees. Shade trees offered an easy escape from summer heat, with temperatures dropping 15 degrees or more in the shade.
- Afternoon Naps. It turns out, there’s a real practical side to napping during the hottest part of the day. Before central air, workers would take afternoon naps in order to avoid heat exhaustion.
- Fans. Handheld fans have been a form of air conditioning for centuries.
- Imported Snow. Snow is year round on some mountain peaks. In some areas of the world, mountain snow would be collected and taken back into town to be sold.
- Harvested Ice Blocks. Before AC, winter was a time to harvest ice blocks from frozen lakes. These ice blocks would then be kept in icehouses and later used in the summer months.
- Fountains. Early fountains resembled large troughs and were big enough to submerge your head. In the summertime, these fountains were used for drinking and cooling off.
- High Ceilings. Because heat rises, smart architects used high ceilings as an early form of maintaining low temperatures at floor level.
- Open Windows at Night. The night is usually cool, so why not take advantage of this natural A/C? During summer, windows were left open at night to encourage cool evening air to enter the home.
- Front Porches. Porches allowed people to enjoy the cool mornings and evenings from the comfort of their home.
- Mud & Brick. Brick is still a great option for lowering energy costs because bricks absorb heat during the day and release it at night.
- Movie Theaters. Before AC was in every home, movie theaters offered one of the only cool places a person could retreat to during the summer.
- Creative Cooling. There are many other creative ways people stayed cool in the summer, from wet sheets in open doorways to putting clothes in the freezer!
These are great ways to stay cool, but don’t be stuck in the age before AC. In hot places like Houston, TX, air conditioning is a must. Richmond’s Air is a leading HVAC contractor in Houston. Call today to get your AC up and running.
For more historical reading, check out: The History of Air Conditioning and How it Changed America Forever.