Keeping Cool In The Days Before Air Conditioning

Three Ways People Chilled Out Before Modern Air Conditioning

It’s really hard to imagine a time before air conditioning, especially with summer approaching. recently looked at what people had to do to stay cool in the years before air conditioning was invented. Hopefully, your AC is in good working order or you may have to kick it old school with some of these classic techniques while waiting for a window of service availability.

Large blocks of ice were often cut from frozen lakes in winter and stored in icehouses through spring to keep them ready for sale and use in the hot summer months. The prices were dependent on availability, so ice would be more expensive following a warmer winter.

High ceilings were another technique used to combat the heat, though of course, you had to plan for this while having your home built. It’s common knowledge that hot air rises, so having significantly elevated ceilings did help keep the ground floor much cooler, while windows at the upper level would allow the hot air to escape.

Water fountains in the late 1800s and early twentieth century were not merely the single spout wonder you find near the bathrooms at grocery stores and public libraries. The large trough-like fountains could service several hot thirsty souls at once and some even would dip their heads in for more complete relief. Sounds sanitary, doesn’t it?

For more details and a couple of additional archaic cooling techniques, see: