It’s really hot, you are sweating but keep on weeding your garden. Your friend is watching a sport event, it’s crowdy and there’s almost nothing to breathe. Your mother is waiting in the queue to get her documents.
There’s a device that can help in all these cases - a portable personal fan. Works better and faster than hot tea on hot days!
The history of fan
The first item for cooling themselves that people invented were hand fans. These cannot be called devices, as there is nothing mechanical about them. Actually, any flat and rigid object can serve as a hand fan, yet in many countries making exquisite hand fans is an art with long history.
Though hand fans may be beautiful, they are not effective and require a lot of hand waving. Since we’re interested in how personal fans appeared, we will focus on mechanical fans.
It is weird, but mechanical fans are also very old. They date back to about 500 BCE (!) when punkahs were used by the Indians. Punkah is still used in some countries, though the technology has somewhat evolved. The concept behind this name implies hanging a large swinging flat fan that was attached to the ceiling and pulled by servants.
In 180 CE Ding Huan created a rotary fan that was manually operated and was 3 meters (10 feet) in diameter. The technology kept on evolving and in the 7-10th centuries the Chinese invented fans that were rotated with hydraulic power. These prototypes were substituted by early ventilation systems in the 17th century (the first of which was installed in the Houses of Parliament), yet the first rotary fan in Europe dates back to the 16th century - it was used for mine ventilation. These machines were unreliable as they tended to break down.
The appearance of steam power gave fans a new life. In the mid-19th century steam-powered fans were installed at the hospital in Liverpool by D.B. Reid. Fans powered by oil, kerosene and alcohol were quite common around the turn of the century.
Modern fans powered by electricity were invented in the period of 1882 to 1886 by Schuyler Skaats Wheeler. In 1882 Philip Diehl presented his electric ceiling fan.
Mass production of electric fans for home started in 1909. Since then the sizes and shapes of fans have evolved, and nowadays people can enjoy having their own… portable mini personal fans!
What is a portable personal fan
A portable personal fan is a device designed to cool its owner with the help of air. Personal fans are small so that they could be carried easily. Actually, table fans are often included in the category, so we will consider both personal fans proper and table fans, as both share the term ‘personal’ when encountered in stores.
Who needs a portable personal fan
There are thousands of situations in which you might think ‘Why haven’t I bought a personal fan in advance?’. Here are some of them, though there are definitely many more.
These folks use a lot of portable staff, and fans are not an exception. Whether it is some excursion or a long journey in a hot country, a personal fan will be of great use. Imagine you are visiting the Colosseum, and it’s so hot you cannot help buying one ice cream after another. How convenient it is to have a fan that is cooling your neck or face (or both!). You will also comprehend information said by your guide better, by the way.
As they say, wisdom often comes with age, and so do health problems (or at least more of them). Having a personal fan is a good way for those suffering from cardio issues to keep yourself cool (since such people feel worse when it’s hot).
When stationary fans are not enough (or there is none), personal fans come to the rescue! No need to clean sweat drops off your papers anymore.
Personal fans are good for those who spend a lot of time waiting in queues. These include bureaucrats, people visiting hospitals, and everyone else who has to wait and wait; Archaeologists and other researchers
People spending much time in the sun would not reject having a personal fan. At least they’re not supposed to!
Sport event visitors
It’s crowdy and hot, and that guy eating garlic right to you kind of distracts your attention. This is when your portable fan goes in action!
How to choose a portable personal fan
Before you buy the device you’ve liked, think about the following aspects of buying a personal cooling fan.
Where are you going to use it?
Is it a short trip full of excursions or a long journey with nowhere to charge your fan or buy batteries? Or are you just looking for a table fan to make your studying or working more comfortable? Depending on what you need, your choice will be different. If no stores selling batteries should are in the place you are travelling, make sure you have enough batteries with you and a decent battery built in. If studying/working is your major activity, look for a silent personal fan that will: a) not disturb you; b) not disturb others; c) now blow away all your papers! By the way, a USB personal fan is one of the best options for students!
What features do you need?
Is a two-speed personal fan enough for you? What about oscillation? Do you want your fan to know how to create air flows in all parts of the room? Or do you want it to have a lamp or a breezer integrated? The market is ready to sell you everything you want.
Does design matter?
Should it match your shoes (in case of neck fans) or your new armchair (in case of desktop fans)? Or do you want it ‘just to blow’? Make sure you decide what you want before buying! Are controls convenient?
If you do not like sensor technologies or remote controls, choose good old buttons and switches.
All in all, portable personal fans can provide some cooling effect on hot days, so it can be quite useful while travelling, visiting sport events, waiting in the queue, etc. It depends on the fan quality, so take your time to choose the fan that will serve you well.