Ancient Air Conditioning Part III. Rotary Room Fan
Humans have been using fans as cooling devices for thousands of years, as early as 3000 B.C. The fans of ancient Egypt were made of palm fronds or lotus leaves. Servants who were designated fan bearers used these fans to keep kings and other high ranking officials comfortable. Around 500 B.C. in India, the punkah fan was a handheld fan fashioned from bamboo strips. Over two thousand years ago, the Chinese crafted handheld fans from silk or bird feathers.
These early fans would not have been enough to cool an entire room without employing a considerable amount of manpower. It was not until 180 B.C., when a Chinese inventor named Ding Huan created a rotary fan, that cooling by fan could be done efficiently. Ding Huan’s innovation was made up of seven wheels, each measuring ten feet in diameter. This fan required only one person to operate by turning a crank. Later versions of this fan were powered hydraulically.
“The Cool Story Of Chinese Fans. Beijing Weekend, June 19, 2001.
Dunn, Jimmy. “Fans And Sunshades In Ancient Egypt”. Tour Egypt.
‘Fan (machine)”. Wikipedia. May 23, 2019.