Ancient Air Conditioning Part III. Rotary Room Fan

Get to know the fascinating history of room air conditioners and their evolution. Get reliable air conditioning service for your room AC at Sandium.

Updated on Oct 23, 2023
5 min read
Ancient Air Conditioning Part III. Rotary Room Fan

Ancient Cooling Devices - The History of Fans

Humans have been using fans as cooling devices for thousands of years, as early as 3000 B.C.

Ancient Egyptian Fans

The fans of ancient Egypt were made of palm fronds or lotus leaves. Servants who were designated fan bearers used these fans to keep kings and other high-ranking officials comfortable.

Handheld Fans in Ancient India and China

Around 500 B.C. in India, the punkah fan was a handheld fan fashioned from bamboo strips. Over two thousand years ago, the Chinese crafted handheld fans from silk or bird feathers.

Evolution of Cooling Fans

The Challenge of Cooling an Entire Room

These early fans would not have been enough to cool an entire room without employing a considerable amount of manpower.

Efficient Cooling with Ding Huan’s Rotary Fan

It was not until 180 B.C., when a Chinese inventor named Ding Huan created a rotary fan, that cooling by fan could be done efficiently. Ding Huan’s innovation was made up of seven wheels, each measuring ten feet in diameter. This fan required only one person to operate by turning a crank. Later versions of this fan were powered hydraulically.


“The Cool Story Of Chinese Fans. Beijing Weekend, June 19, 2001.

Dunn, Jimmy. “Fans And Sunshades In Ancient Egypt”. Tour Egypt.

‘Fan (machine)”. Wikipedia. May 23, 2019.

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