Yesteryear’s Memories: Time to Make it Blow Up

September 9, 2021

It was usually late September, a few weeks after school started, when my dad started saying that it was time to switch the ceiling fan from blowing down to blowing up. He’d tell me how ‘back in the day’ they only went one way.

I was a teenager when ‘the great ceiling fan revival’ came into being. The 70’s were interesting — energy began costing more and people were conscious of how high their power bills had become. Enter the ceiling fan.

They weren’t new by any means. Ceiling fans had adorned the interiors of ice cream parlors, banks, and barber shops for decades. Some were quite ornate, and they really did help keep buildings cool before air conditioning. Often there was only one motor, and multiple fans were turned by a series of pulleys and belts. Individual homes didn’t often have ceiling fans unless the owner was particularly wealthy, but they were common in stores and other commercial buildings.

Back to my father, though, he was adamant about making sure the fan blew the right way in the right season. Down in summer and up in winter. And it really did make the temperature more comfortable.

We didn’t have air conditioning in high school, it was only in a few scattered rooms. I guess it was considered old fashioned, so we baked in the last hot days of September at school. Just another reason I didn’t like high school. It didn’t blow down or up.

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