Keeping Your Cool in Days Past

Despite a few cooler days this week, the current local weather forecast reminds us that we are still in the heat of August. We will soon be retreating again to our air-conditioned spaces!

This got us thinking about how Davenporters beat the heat in days past. What were the  earliest modern cooling devices and when did they become available here?

We thought we’d share these notices and advertisements from the local newspapers that give some history of the search for summertime comfort. We hope they help keep you feeling cool!

A newly-installed fan at the Scott County Savings Bank made front-page news on June 1, 1892:

The Davenport Democrat, June 1, 1892, p. 1

The St. James Hotel soon followed suit by adding electric fans to the dining room. No mention of fans for hotel rooms, though!

The Daily Times, July 6, 1892, p. 4

By 1893, Clausen Electric Company at 420 Brady Street was advertising ceiling fans for the home. What luxury!

In 1894, the Davenport Power and Light company was making small fans for those with electricity:

The Davenport Democrat, May 16, 1894, p. 1.

These advertisements for W. H. Grandsen suggest that an electric fan was still considered a luxury by 1900:

The Daily Times, May 2, 1900, p. 6.

The Daily Times, May 2, 1900, p. 5.

Advertisements for air-conditioning began to appear in the 1920s. The Capitol Theatre was one of the newest and most up-to-date cinemas when it opened on December, 1920. By 1923, it was boasting of its “freezing plant” which kept the theater cool in the midst of summer heat.

The Davenport Democrat and Leader, July 27, 1923, p. 6.

By the 1930s, many local businesses were proclaiming that the cool air inside their establishments made them wonderful places to visit.  Perhaps you remember some of these?

The Daily Times, June 29, 1934, p. 11.

The Davenport Democrat and Leader, July 15, 1934, p. 6.

The Daily Times, August 2, 1934, p. 6.

The Davenport Democrat and Leader, August 5, 1934, p. 9.













And Tri-City Electric led the way by offering air conditioning for private residences:

Davenport Democrat and Leader, June 14, 1934.

Our favorite advertisement is this one from the Capitol Theatre in 1924.  We love the snow-and-ice-covered logo and the phrase “Cool as the mountain breezes. Our gigantic freezing plant does it.”

The Daily Times, July 12, 1924, p. 8.

We hope you stay cool here in Davenport in the remaining days of Summer 2018!

(posted by Amy D.)

This entry was posted in Local History and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *