How Homes Kept Cool Before Air Conditioners

June 16, 2017 by Kenmore

Kenmore Smart Air Conditioner

Summer has a lot to recommend it — longer days, grilling in the backyard, hitting the beach, picnics — you name it. But, we guarantee that every time the temperatures reach egg-frying levels, everyone has the same thought: how did people survive before air conditioning?

The answer is they used a lot of different techniques to keep cool with one common theme: they got smart with it.

Damp Sheets
People often used an evaporation method that included hanging damp sheets in doorways or windows to turn the warm breeze that was flowing through into mist. And, in ancient Egyptian times, people slept under damp sheets or blankets to create a cooling moisture that would stave off heat during the night.

Noontime Naps
Obviously, this is much harder to pull off for those with a 9-5 job, but one way people used to deal with the heat was to take naps during the hottest hours of the day. They would get work done earlier in the morning before the sun rose, take a nap, and then get back to their routine once the sun was setting.

Strategically Built Homes
Buildings, homes and rooms were all designed to create comfortable airflow. Windows were taller and thinner, and were placed on opposite ends of a room to create optimal air movement. And, the high ceilings in those rooms would allow for heat to rise so people could enjoy the cooler temps below. Porches were created to shade and protect windows from the sun.

Even trees and bushes were strategically planted on the east and west sides of a home for additional shade. Builders would take already established trees into account and design neighborhoods and homes around them, or import fully grown trees in desired places.

A Lot of Outdoor Time
Because temperatures inside the house were often stuffy, people took to their porches to sit outside during the day or after dinner, in hopes of catching a passing breeze. Those with screened-in porches even slept on their porch throughout summer.

Lucky for you, we’ve made it easy to be smart about keeping cool, sans wet blankets. The Kenmore Elite® Smart Air Conditioner has the ability to remotely control, monitor, and set schedules through WiFi using a smartphone or tablet. That means you can come home to the perfect atmosphere already set for you. And it even works with Alexa. The people of the past would be so jealous if they knew how easy we have it!


The Kenmore brand represents 100 years of trusted performance, backed by exclusive features and innovations that no other brand can bring to the table. We’re always evolving to ensure day-to-day tasks are taken care of with faster cooking, better cleaning and more living throughout the home.