1. FAN CHAIRS 风扇椅
Philadelphia-based musical instrument maker John Cram invented a clever cooling device in the 1780s. People used their feet to operate the fan that moved above their head, much like someone would power an old sewing machine. Benjamin Franklin reportedly owned one as well, but the device seems to have had limited mass-market appeal.
2. CANVAS AWNINGS 遮阳篷
One thing you immediately notice when looking at photographs of famous buildings before the invention of A/C is that they frequently sported awnings over nearly every window. Going back to antiquity, awnings provided the shade vital for keeping the sun’s heat at bay. In the latter half of the 19th century, new colors and patterns helped make canvas awnings more than a necessary utility: They became a key decorative feature of a home.
3. PUNKAHS 布屏风扇
These hand-operated ceiling fans have their origins in colonial India. Each year thousands of poor seasonal workers were contracted, or otherwise compelled, to spend monotonous days pulling a cord that swept a piece of fabric back and forth across a room for the country’s elite.
4. DRINKING BUTTERMILK 饮用酪乳
The Indian subcontinent gave the world another refreshing idea for keeping cool in the searing heat: drinking buttermilk. Even today, many varieties of a spiced buttermilk are consumed in Southeast Asia and many diasporic communities around the world. It was also a common refreshment in late-19th and early 20th-century North America—the beverage was even recommended by physicians.