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Facts about fans

Fans come in a large array of shapes and sizes. Most fans are portable but others are attached to the ceiling of a room.
Fans come in a large array of shapes and sizes. Most fans are portable but others are attached to the ceiling of a room.
Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Now that the summer is here again heat and humidity are realities of everyday life. Most people try to escape from the heat by venturing out to the beach or attending air conditioned malls and stores. However (and not so long ago) air conditioning was not as widespread as it is today. Back in the 1950s and 1960s many people were still relying on fans, not air conditioners, to keep them cool and even today many people use fans to supplement air conditioning systems.

Fans can be used to cool off many locations, including playing fields.
Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Mechanical fans (that can be moved around and plugged into a wall) come in many shapes and sizes but most do have the ability to be transported from place to place without too much bother. Other fans are tiny and run on batteries. Then there are “ceiling fans” which are attached to the ceiling of a room. In the 1920s and 1930s, many wealthy people had these in their homes as a sort of “Air conditioning before air conditioning.” Because fans are so versatile, they come in a wide range of prices and the cheaper ones are affordable to anyone.

Although everyone knows what fans look like and what they do, few people know the history and facts about fans. Thus, below is a list of some interesting information about these objects which are so important for combating heatwaves:

• The word “fan” is derived from the Old English word “fann.”

• The Latin word for “fan” is “vannus.”

• Fans have been around for a long time, “punkah fans” have been used in India since at least early 500 BC!

• Traditional Asian fans were usually made from bamboo since the materiel can be rotated.

• Some fans were made of silk and painted with beautiful patterns. They were meant to be held by young ladies as a symbol of beauty. Although this practice was originally popular in China and Japan, it soon became a fad in England and America too.

• Most fans—especially the classic “box fans”—use three of four revolving “blades” to instate airflow when they are switched on and start to rotate.

• Although we tend to think of fans as objects that cool people, they are also built into devices like computers in order to prevent overheating in the machinery.

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