Life Before Air Conditioning
How in the world did people deal with the summer heat without air conditioning? Lots of ways, both time-tested and experimental.
Cooling homes was not the intended purpose when Willis Carrier invented modern air conditioning in 1902. The earliest air conditioners were for industrial quality control; the comfort of the workers was incidental. However, artificial climate control made steel and glass skyscrapers practical. Home air conditioning became widely available after World War II and in the age of suburban track housing. It also spelled the demise of some old-fashioned architectural details and social customs.
The oldest method of home climate control is living underground. Our cave-dwelling ancestors enjoyed temperatures in the 50s both summer and winter. Although no one wants to live in a pit, this method of cooling survived in the use of deep spacious basements, split-level homes, and houses built into a hillside. The lower levels stayed much cooler than modern homes.
The front porch was an alternative to hot homes, and became a means of social interaction. If you weren’t sitting on your own porch in the cool of the evening, you could stroll the neighborhood and visit other families sitting on their porch.
People had other personal methods for keeping cool, such as hanging wet laundry in doorways, sleeping in refrigerated sheets, and keeping one’s underwear in the freezer!
Let that sink in…
Then call Kool A/C today # 225.328.1141