Life Before Refrigerants

English: A typical household window fan.

English: A typical household window fan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nowadays people take air conditioning for granted, but it certainly wasn’t available to ancient civilizations. So what did the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians and other civilizations do to try and stay cool in sweltering weather?


The Egyptians used to hang water-moistened reeds in their windows, which had a cooling effect when wind blew through the windows and was actually a primitive form of air conditioning. Wealthy ancient Romans would circulate cold water through their walls, which had a cooling effect. Persians used wind towers combined with underground reservoirs to help cool buildings.


Many prehistoric tribes lived in caves, which afforded protection and cool temperatures during hot summer months. In more recent times, use of fans and strategic placement of large windows and porch covers have helped to cool many homes. Other tried and true techniques that have stood the test of time include taking a cool dip in a pool or lake and dressing in light colored clothing.

10 Ways People Kept Cool Before Air Conditioning

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