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How Did People Stay Cool Before Air Conditioners?

Imagine a world without air conditioning. That’s right, none of those big power machines that help keep your home cool during the dog days of summer. Imagine tossing and turning in bed as the sweat drips down your forehead. Imagine coming home after a long day’s work to a house where the thermostat read “88°F” – sounds like a horror film, right?

Well, air conditioning is in fact a relatively modern invention and people actually lived normal lives well before AC. So, what did they use to keep themselves from overheating? Believe it or not, there are a few tried and true alternatives to air conditioning:

Qanats – these were systems of underground tunnels used by the Persians roughly 3,000 years ago. Hot air traveled downwards through an air shaft to the water-filled qanat below. Here, air cooled and escaped back up into the air shaft to cool off lower levels of the establishment.

Aqueducts – this was the Romans’ take on qanats. Aqueducts were used to transport cool water and were routed through walls in homes to cool the brick or stone used to construct the building.

Ice – believe it or not, people did use ice to cool down. You can create a “poor man’s” version of an air conditioner by placing a fan in front of a bucket of ice.

Damp Sheets – combining air with sheets submerged in cool water was president James Garfield’s take on the modern day swamp cooler.

Luckily, we don’t have to rely on these methods to stay cool today. Instead, you can call on the air conditioning experts at Uptown to keep your home cool and comfortable all summer long. Call (612) 324-1004 to schedule an appointment.

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