For many of us, life before air conditioning is something quite hard to imagine, since this amazing modern invention has been around for more than a century. However, it is always interesting and beneficial to take the time to think about what life was like before AC units were widely available. People in the 1800s and early 1900s had to come up with effective and accessible ways to stay cool, especially during the hot months of summer. Some popular cooling options included public water fountains, huge ice blocks, high ceilings, front porches, and napping under the trees.
Public Water Fountains
If you have ever seen a fountain and wondered why were they even built in the first place, we might have the answer you were looking for. Life before air conditioning required towns and cities to provide their inhabitants with different ways to stay cool during the summer. Public water fountains were installed so that people could drink water and stay hydrated, as well as submerging their heads and stay cool.
Storing Huge Ice Blocks
Before air conditioning, another way people would prepare for the hot months of summer was by harvesting ice blocks during the winter and keeping them until the warm months arrived. Since refrigeration was not available yet, people would store ice blocks taken from frozen lakes in naturally cool buildings, also known as ice-houses. Since every winter was a bit different, ice blocks weren’t a reliable commodity, as some years would be colder than others.
Buildings with High Ceilings
Even before the concept of sustainability became a trend, architects would find solutions to keep buildings cool through smart design. Designing houses and buildings with high ceilings was how people could enjoy life before air conditioning during hot weather. Since hot air rises, it would escape through windows built near the ceilings, allowing cool air to flow naturally.
Fresh Front Porches
Another solution architects provided was incorporating front porches onto houses in order to allow homeowners to have a fresh outdoor space within their property. During the evening, people would sit outside their homes and enjoy the fresh air. Eventually, front porches became great places to socialize and spend time with friends and family, giving them the chance to cool off after a long, hot day.
Naps Under the Trees
Life before air conditioning might sound difficult, but lacking these systems also allowed people to enjoy life in other ways. In order to stay fresh and cool off during summer, people would take naps under the shades of trees. This also gave them the opportunity to go out, spend time outdoors, practice a sport, spend time with their friends, and then relax and cool off by napping in the shade.