As New York and Manhattan’s modern residents, there are always simple ways to cool-off when those summer heat waves seem to get unbearable. From home cooling systems to savvy office air conditioning units, we are never more than a switch away from a refreshing breeze. But have you ever thought about life before the marvelous invention of Willis Carrier (thank you Sir!)? Have you ever wondered how our not-so-lucky ancestors dealt with the scorch of summer? They were more imaginative than you may think!
From freezing their underwear to hanging their wet laundry indoors, it seems that the people of the past would do anything to escape the excruciating heat. Wacky ideas aside, we look at the three most popular ways of staying cool pre-AC!
1: The deeper you dig, the cooler it gets!
The oldest known method of temperature control within the home comes from our cave-living ancestors who had to find a way of surviving 50 degree heat in both summer and winter (ouch!)!
Our creative (and arguably desperate) relations would find solace and comfort by living in cool basements, split-level homes and homes built on the hillside. How easy have we got it?
2: A tree-mendous idea!
Before our ancestors had the luxury of coming home to enjoy the cool breeze of air conditioning, they had no choice but to make do with the limited cooling provisions they had.
It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that to escape the sizzle of the sweltering summer sun, many people planted shade trees in on the east and west sides of their homes. By planting these trees, the sun was could be blocked from heating the exterior of the home.
3: A cool porch!
Back in the days before the television and internet provided much of our social interaction, the front porch was an ideal place to escape the heat whilst chatting with friends. In the midst of the summer, it wouldn’t be uncommon to find entire families cooling off on the porch and if they didn’t have their own, they would visit a family who did!