Happy 110th Birthday Electromechanical Cooling!

Happy 110th Birthday Electromechanical Cooling!  a.k.a. Air Conditioning!  Mississippi is indeed indebted to Willis Carrier.  So when you step out of the heat into some cool air be sure to thank Mr. Carrier.

Categories: Historic Preservation

10 replies

  1. Vivid still is my recollection of when we first had air-conditioning in our home in the 1960s! Prior to that, our house was cooled with a large industrial-size fan our father had built into the wall off the kitchen. It could set up quite a breeze through the house, especially if you stood in a doorway between rooms and pulled the door almost closed on yourself — the best way I found for cooling off after playing outside during the summer.


    • Wow what a great recollection. Kids these days are missing out on the creative process you used to figure out how to cool off. Thanks for sharing!


    • Remember Attic Fans, with formula for which windows and doors to open to cool which parts of the house?


      • I do! I wish my house currently had one, as I have enjoyed them in the past. But man the one I had made a baleful noise when starting up. During the restoration of the Ocean Springs Community Center when the old drop ceiling was removed you could see the openings for five massive attic fans, which must have kept that place cool no mater how many folks were inside.


  2. When I was growing up in Jackson during the 1940’s (with no air conditioning in our home), ways of combating the heat included: (1) The marvelous public swiming facilities of that era (e.g., Livingston Lake in West Jackson and the swimming pool at Battlefield Park in South Jackson); (2) Dropping by the Mongtomey Wards store on Capitol Street (known at the time for its numerous fans mounted on the ceiling throughout the store); and (3) The old Century Theatre, also on Capitol Street, was cooled by large fans blowing on blocks of ice and provided the audience a refuge from the heat while they viewed the movie.


    • Sounds like you had several options during the day. Were there any solutions for beating the heat at night?


      • I do recall one solution for beating the heat on those hot summer nights. During Wednesday night prayer meeting, and at Sunday night church service, there was always a sufficient number of “Hand Fans” that served to keep us cool. Made of cardboard and mounted on a wooden handle, they sometimes advertised a funeral home or an insurance agency. Some of the fans were imprinted with the name of some local politician who had donated them.


        • Neat. Hand fans seem to be popular still today at outdoor events with good reason. I bet some of those hand fans with politicians names on them are quite the collectible memorabilia item today.


  3. I think our household was the last in Florida to get central air–mid-1980s as I recall! My summer chore was mowing our huge lawn, and I would come inside and sit right in front of the box fan, with it facing backward, so that it pulled my shirt toward it and carried off the heat. We kids also enjoyed talking into the fan and hearing how it made our voices vibrate. I guess it didn’t take much to keep us occupied :-)


    • Kids today can’t have as much simple entertainment from a package heating/cooling unit as you did with a fan!

      I remember when my parents got their first central unit. It was several years after my fathers office building received central air. He got so used to wearing his three piece suits in the frigid office that he finally broke down and bought one for the house. Unfortunatly for us kids my mother refused to turn it on unless he was home. She would send us outside. At which time she would turn it on for herself. It wasn’t until I was a little older that I learned that the units only make noise when they were turned on :-)


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