Fantastic JourneyWritten by Duncan under Ceiling Fans, General | No Comments
Even we in the midst of this World Cup season wouldn’t try to shoehorn in England footie fans here. Nor are we talking about how oddly teamed animals make their way back home, or how Raquel Welch squeezes into a miniaturised submarine (that would be a Fantastic Voyage!). Neither do we consider a long and probably tedious journey through the development of the electric desk fan as riveting, although did you know that it was the American engineer Schuyler Skaats Wheeler (appropriately cool name!) who first developed the two-bladed desk fan and Philip Diehl (considered by many to be the father of the modern electric fan) introduced the electric ceiling fan as far back as 1882.
No, the fan has a fascinating history going back at least 3,000 years. There’s even a Fan Museum in Greenwich where you can see examples of what many aficionados consider an art form that combines functional, ceremonial and decorative uses. The Greeks, Etruscans and Romans all used fans and Chinese culture and literature are just stuffed full of fans. The first folding fans were copied from examples brought to Europe from China and Japan. They were very much luxury goods and a status symbol with their “montures” (sticks and guards) made from exotic materials like ivory, mother of pearl and tortoiseshell pierced and decorated with silver, gold and precious stones.
By the end of the 18th century, with cheap print production methods available, fans were mass produced and covered virtually any topic or theme from Nelson’s Victory of the Nile to “How to play Whist”. Spain is probably the only part of Europe where the fan is still a common object, although they remain everyday accessories in the Far East and Japan.
Modern desk fans are a more practical substitute. It’s true that they may not fit the handbag and would look out of place hiding Elizabeth’s face while she fluttered eyelashes at Mr. Darcy, but they undoubtedly provide far greater and more efficient cooling properties.
At their lowest settings, these fans produce a quiet breeze, ideal for night-time use and with an overheat safety cut-out device that will automatically turn the fan off, there’s no need to worry about safety. Most of these fans also consume less electricity than a 40 watt light bulb. Wall mounted fans are just as inappropriate for hiding feminine blushes, but will at least generate a refreshing breeze without sacrificing table, counter or floor space and the oscillating feature incorporated in many models helps cover larger areas for optimum cooling.