They come in all shapes and sizes. Some featuring one, two, or maybe even three lights. They are used everywhere, from in residential homes to vast factories and warehouses. I am speaking, of course, about the miracle invention that is the ceiling fan! Now, I’m sure that many of you readers have inhabited rooms that have ceiling fans, but I am willing to bet that of those many people, there are very few who actually know the story behind those fans or how exactly they can work in both summer and winter to provide your room with appropriate climate control.
Dating back, as early as 1870, ceiling fans have always been an effective and inexpensive manner of climate control. Originally, designed to work with a water turbine rather than an electric motor, fans incorporated the use of belts transferring power between the actual fan units that were comprised of two large metal paddles.
It was not until, over a decade later, in 1882, that a man by the name of Philip Diehl, who had previously invented an electric motor to be used in a sewing machine, that he actually later on decide to adapt it and mount it to be used as a ceiling fan unit. This hvac Garden City was the world’s very first motorized ceiling fan, a major break through in interior-building cooling technology! This unit was simple to install and got rid of the use of such other vestigial parts such as the mechanical belts and water turbines.
Despite this breakthrough in technology, ceiling fans did not become common household items until around 1920. This sudden peak in popularity was only followed with a sudden drop in the 1930’s. Sales and use of ceilings fans dropped parallel with that of the stock market crash which occurred September the 3rd of 1929.
It was not until the energy crisis of the 1970s to open America’s eyes back up to the energy frugal ceiling fan. Ceiling fans required a fraction of the energy that the massive air conditioning units of that time needed to effectively run, thus making ceiling fans a highly cheap but effective alternative to brave out the sweltering summer conditions as well as spring and early fall in many highly humid zones.
The popularity of ceiling fan usage in America has always been a roller coaster. It is because of this fact, that the spike in popularity seen in the 1970’s could only be met once again by a demise and downfall. This setback was caused by the increase in technology of air conditioning units. A/C units went from being hulking boulders of machines that were usually set beside the house, as opposed to being the compact and inexpensive boxes that could be able to conveniently fit right into the windows of homes and offices, that we know of today. It would seem that the conventional and pragmatic use of ceilings fans had been overshadowed by the bulbous metal tumors that we see sticking out of peoples windows during the triple digit summer days of late July. However, there was still a glimpse of hope for the plastic and metal flower that resides above your bed and in your kitchens.
The modern day ceiling fan has transformed from being an object relied upon by millions to cool down their homes, now to become more of a decoration piece or a work of art, universally advocated by an array of well-established interior decorators. Fans now serve the purpose of adding decor to what would be just plain ceiling lights or in many cases, just an empty space. They can spruce up a dull, boring room instantly and still provide their prime function of climate control. As a college student, fans are invaluable to me. though they are not necessarily ceiling fans, the three fans I keep in my dorm room are about worth their weight in gold. Attending a university that does not provide air conditioning can be beyond grueling in the summer, add to that equation, the stipulation of having three other male students living in the same room and you have what would inevitably a somewhat pungent misery-filled living situation if it not for the utilization of multiple hardware fans.
Fans work in a manner, where they push and move air, rather than change the actual temperature of that air. They function because of the scientific concept known as convection. Convection is simply the idea that as a gas is heated, it will rise and as it cools, will sink. The way the fans work is that each of the paddles on the fan are slanted in such a way that, based on which way the fan is rotating, it will either push air down or pull air up. The manipulation of convection in fans can best be seen in winter use rather than as in winter the warm air will naturally rise as the cold air tends to stay low by law of physics. Setting the fan to pull air up will cause the cold air to be pulled up and force the warm air to fall and that way will keep the people below well heated without forcing any of that warm air back up thus making it lose it’s heat. In the hot summer days the air will naturally rise due to the heat so outdoor fans should be set in order keep pushing the air down, even though the air is hot it will cool as it moves. It will also create that certain breeze of air, we all savor and hope for during those heatwaves brought on by summer droughts.
Though the threat of complete air conditioning take over is continuously looming, fans still continue to provide us with both a solid alternative and supplement for climate control. Over two centuries have passed since the advent of this wonderful contraption and it is still a common object to see in residential areas. They not only provide a certain decor to a room, but as I outlined above, can provide climate help in both the dead cold of winter and the torturous heat of summer days. Even to this day we see many innovations and improvements to fans such as smaller, more efficient motors and the use of variable speed controls. It is because of these constant changes in technology that we can be rest assured fans will continue to be a common part of the average american home.