The old saying goes it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. Wrong. It’s the heat AND it’s the humidity. Air conditioners are definitely the cooler of choice in a true heat wave for their ability to address both the h and the h. But aesthetically, meh. They live in the design tier with broiler pans and dish drainers. Utilitarian and functional, but barely registering on the scale of home dec eye appeal.
A vintage fan may not create Arctic bliss in your living room, but in terms of decor, it’s super cool. And nice to listen to, with sleek metal blades spinning to create a gentle breeze. And it makes you feel like you’re not just sweating, you’re sweating in classic Hollywood vintage style like Humphrey Bogart or Marilyn Monroe.
Electric fans come in a range of sizes and prices and conditions. Fans that have been lovingly restored are more expensive than fans that are “as is.” Older and rarer models are at the top of the fan scale, later more common models are less. Smaller table models are often the most practical investment as they have form and function. Their decorative value makes them welcome year round. No need to stow them away when the mercury drops.
1 Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewall from the 1955 heat wave classic, The Seven Year Itch. 2 1939 World’s Fair thermometer by Aunt Hatties Attic. 3 1950s vintage Pacific Air box fan by Third Shift Vintage. 4 Vintage 1950s Chrome-ever fan by Third Shift Vintage.