Ancient Air Conditioning

Ancient Air Conditioning

In our currently hot and humid climate, air conditioning is something of a lifesaver. We love air conditioning so much that we’ve spoken a couple of times about how to prepare and keep cool in your work place during the summer months such as in our blog Preparing Your Commercial Work Environment for Summer. Modern air conditioning hasn’t been around for very long – the credited inventor of the modern-day air conditioner is Willis Carrier, an American engineer, back in 1902. But before Carrier, our ancestors had to come up with different ways to cool off in their homes, and what they came up with is nothing short of genius.


Ancient Egypt

Renowned for its hot climate and sandy earth, Egyptians needed some method of keeping themselves cool during the day, especially in high summer. The use of evaporating water as a method of cooling down was used here. The Ancient Egyptians used to soak mats and hang them up in their doorways and windows, letting the sun evaporate the water, thus cooling the house down.

Egypt - iStock_000045122734_Medium


Ancient Rome

Rome is known for its intellectual theories and futuristic architectural designs – leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the era. Air conditioning was no different. Through the genius use of water, the Romans channelled fresh water from the mountains, over the viaduct into the city. From there they created pipes which they installed into the homes of the rich and important to allow the fresh cold water to circulate around their walls, thereby helping to cool the house.

The Aqueduct of Segovia.


Prehistoric Cave Dwellings

Once upon a time our ancestors lived inside caves and grottos. Protected by the earth, these humble beginnings were used as much more than simple, easy protection and defence against any rival tribes. The Earth’s naturally cool soil and stone shielded our ancestors from the heat, allowing them to rest and cool down after a hard day of hunting.

Cave Dwellings - iStock_000002490720_Medium


Mud Huts

Some tribes in Australia still use mud to build their homes. Caked and compacted mud is a perfect, natural insulator, retaining heat in the winter and dispelling it during the summer months. Recently designers have been using mud and mud-based bricks in their varying forms to construct modern day versions of the mud hut.

Traditional African Hut


Medieval Persia

Another blisteringly hot country, especially in the summer months, the Persians came up with an ingenious method of channelling wind: wind-catchers. A wind-catcher was a building specially designed to trap wind in hollowed out spaces and funnelling it down to the lower levels of a building, cooling off the inhabitants as it reduced the heat of the wind.



Other ancient methods of cooling the air all revolved around earth and its many wondrous plants. In some places in India, for example, people integrated rooftop gardens into their homes. This may seem like a modern concept, but rooftop gardens permitted the plants to absorb the sun’s heat and acted as a shield to the building beneath it. Similarly they also used hung wet reeds from doorways to help keep their homes cool. Much like the Egyptian method of air cooling, the continuous water simply dripping onto the reeds evaporated in the heat and helped to cool down the house.


We’ve come a long way now and our Powermatic air conditioners are just another step towards a cooler future for everybody. With plenty of designs to suit your business or home, you don’t need to think about hanging up dripping mats or plastering your house in mud to help you cool off this summer. Keep cool this summer, contact us today on 01509 814 123 for more information.

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