If you've ever pressed a cold can against your face, slipped an ice cube down your shirt or even jumped into a pool with your clothes on, you already know that people will sometimes do the darnedest things to stay cool – and most of them involve water.
Today, we rely on one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century: the air conditioner, which Willis Haviland Carrier debuted in 1902 – and, fittingly, during July. Hotels and movie theaters were among the first to make good use of Carrier's invention, recognizing that cool air would draw patrons who sought relief from the heat. But it was a long time before even window air conditioners and Las Vegas attic insulation became common in homes, with more than 1 million units sold in 1953.
Necessity fostered some cool moves
So what did people do to stay cool in the meantime – before they outfitted their homes with air conditioning, fortified by attic insulation? As it turns out, some of the darnedest things:
- Particularly in the south, people dug underground living quarters. Today, we might call them “caves,” but some creative types dug homes into hillsides to imbue them with style.
- People slept on the porch – not an ideal respite, but one improved with screening to keep bugs and insects away.
- People shaded their windows with trees and shrubs – a technique many landscape architects still employ today, especially on southern and western exposures.
- People rigged fans powered by water, slept on refrigerated sheets, froze their underwear (seriously) and hung wet laundry in doorways.
Indoor pool rang a bell
It was said that Alexander Graham Bell had had enough of those last tactics when he decided to take matters into his own capable hands. It helped – in no small measure – that he already had an indoor pool in his home.
The day that inspiration struck, Bell drained the pool of water and placed a couch, table and chair at the bottom of it. Intent on creating a new -- and cool -- living room for himself, Bell put a huge icebox in an adjoining room, with pipes that pumped the cold air to the bottom of the pool.
The undertaking was as massive and cumbersome as it sounds – requiring more than 200 pounds of ice a day. Although Bell could have filed for a patent for this invention, he decided to focus on his true passion: fine-tuning one of the greatest inventions of the 19th century: the telephone, for which he received a patent in 1876.
Cool ideas are ageless
You might hear echoes of Bell's idea in other ways you can stay cool, with or without air conditioning and attic insulation:
- Make a homemade compress by rolling ice in a piece of fabric about the size of a placemat, securing it with a rubber band.
- Soak either a headband, bandana or shirt with tepid (not cold) water, wring it out thoroughly and put it on, replacing it when it dries.
- Feast on spicy foods, especially hot peppers, which will cause you to perspire and then cool down.
- Revel in the cooling influence of aloe vera by spreading the lotion on your hands, arms and legs.
You might say these methods aren't necessary because your home is air conditioned. But to preserve the cool air you're paying for – and keep your energy bills in check – be certain that you have Las Vegas attic insulation, too.
Contact First Quality Roofing & Insulation today at 702-262-7847 for an attic insulation inspection or installation. Then you can bask in one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century – and resort to those darned remedies only if you’re struck by a sense of nostalgia.