Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Last Word In Comfort

Rice Hotel The Rotarian April 1914
The Rotarian, April 1914
It's 1914 and we are going to go stay at the brand-new and luxuriously modern Rice Hotel in Houston, Texas. The Rice Hotel, at 909 Texas Avenue, had just been rebuilt in 1912; the first Rice Hotel (1883) was named for owner William Marsh Rice, founder of Rice University. It is on the site of the original Capitol building of the Republic of Texas.

Our room will have a lavatory and toilet, but you have to take a bath down the hall. That's all right, I guess, because -  although they are not Hansen Wholesale Ceiling Fans - all rooms have do have Ceiling Fans. Every room description on the right hand side of the ad mentions those ceiling fans! So we will be glad, as we lounge in what a 1913 ad calls "solid comfort" on "solid mahogany furniture" (they liked the word solid) - there aren't going to be air conditioners for awhile yet. So a Ceiling Fan it is.

Ceiling fans were invented in the 1860s, before electricity. Did you know that they were powered by running water back then? The water powered a turbine and several belts in a complicated way that I can't begin to explain to you. So I won't. Just be glad that the Rice Hotel in 1914 has electricity (electric ceiling fans were invented in the 1880s).

When we moved into our 1920s-era house, there was a huge ceiling fan in the living room - and no central air conditioning. Until we got A/C, it was fabulous having that ceiling fan. It really did a great job. And I do miss it sometimes, since I like retro things (as you know). And if you're like me, you can find out who makes the Best Ceiling Fans here! All kinds of brands, such as Hunter, Minka Aire, Casablanca, Fanimation and Emerson - whatever you like. No running water or turbines needed to run them, either.


vanilla said...

Somebody in this household is a big ceiling fan fan. We have six, and she just bought another one. She really likes AC, too; but the fans "soothe" her inner spirit. I guess.

Sarsaparilla said...

What a fun post! Ceiling fans powered by running water? Fascinating.

I too live in a 1920's home, with no central AC - and a ceiling fan in the living room. I can't say that my fan does a great job, though. So I now own a window air conditioner (just one) - and I make do just fine!

Matt said...

Hey, cool blog! I am at the very beginning stages of starting my own blog ( that focuses specifically on the signage of the 1950s-1960s era. Mostly, just been working on look and feel so far, but am getting ready to start posting entries soon. Take a look and let me know what you think of the look and feel if you don’t mind.

Lidian said...

vanilla - Wow, three is a lot! But I like them too, I must say.

Sarsparilla - Well, it was really nice to put in central A/C, and actually for a short time we had that PLUS the ceiling fan (that was really good!)

Matt - I sure will, that sounds like a great thing to blog about :)

Blondie said...

Wow...central air is a must. Don't forget to check out my Christmas Giveaway if you haven't already. Have a great Saturday!

Kori xoxo

Shinade said...

I guess I am vintage. We have central ac and still have a ceiling fan in every room.

I like Hunter and Casablanca!! I love my fans and yes I am old enough to remember the big old water fans that hung in windows!!

We had one until I was 8 or 9 years old. Don't stick your hand in the water. It shocks you!!:-))))

Anonymous said...

Ceiling fans powered by water? Interesting! I've lived in a home with no A/C and ceiling fans in every room. There was even one in the bathroom.

Bill said...

I love the old, grand hotels. So many of them are falling into ruin these days, though.
The water-powered ceiling fan was news to me!

Marcheline said...

I guess I'm neanderthal. We don't have central AC or a single ceiling fan!