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How People Kept Houses Cool Before Air Conditioning Was Invented

How People Kept Houses Cool Before Air Conditioning Was Invented
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At 112-years-old, my house has aged well in many respects. You don’t find its interesting alcoves, side porches, and attractive columns in modern houses. However, most century-old homes were fitted for central air-conditioning decades ago. Mine has not been.

Whenever people learn I live in a house without air-conditioning, their jaws drop. They stare at me in disbelief. I end some of these conversations by cheerfully telling folks I recently purchased two portable AC units for my children’s bedrooms. However, others often persist by asking me questions about how we manage.

That is when I share some of our hard-learned tips for staying comfortable in a home without air conditioning. They are lessons that our predecessors knew well, and they can help anyone who is trying to save on energy costs or who wants to be prepared for a long-term power outage.

First, notice I wrote “comfortable,” not cool. During an intense heat wave – we usually get more than a few 100-plus days each summer where I live — it is impossible to keep your house “cool” without AC. However, there are things we can do to stay as comfortable as possible. And it is important to keep in mind that even air conditioners can’t do their best work under extreme conditions.

Next, we need to understand that heat can be deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), extreme heat causes more deaths in American cities than all other weather events combined. More than 400 Americans die each year from heat-related illnesses, and the very young and the very old are the most vulnerable. Precautions are necessary, especially for those age groups.

However, our stalwart forebears survived heat waves without technology, and so can we – if we use some of their know-how. Here are 11 ways people kept their houses cool before AC was commonplace.

1. They Used Window Coverings To Block The Sun

You can help your home stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer by opening and closing shades and curtains according to the sun’s patterns.

Your ancestors were mindful of the sun’s movements throughout the day, and they kept shades and curtain closed to block out its radiant heat in the summer. Outdoor window awnings are another way our ancestors shielded their homes from the hot sun.

Awning Blocking The Sun

2. They Built Homes With High Ceilings

This design creates a form of internal air convection since hot air naturally rises. (Today, you can hasten this effect by using ceiling fans to draw the hot air up in the summer). Those towers and turrets of Victorian mansions did more than add visual interest; they captured hot air.

3. They Encouraged Cross Ventilation

Century-old homes have strategically placed windows and doors that are on opposite sides. That was no accident. The plan was to open at the same time to enable refreshing morning and evening breezes to flow through the house. They also closed these windows during the heat of the day to help retain the cooler air and to keep the building heat out.

4. They Added Coolness To The Air

Here’s a trick your great grandmother would have recommended. Hang your wet sheets indoors in front of an open window. As the breeze hits the sheets, it will provide a nice cooling effect to your home – and your laundry will dry energy-free at the same time.

They also created the same effect by placing ice from the icebox or basement in front of a window. (If you like this idea and want to create a modern version of this concept, here is a video for a DIY swamp cooler using only a Styrofoam cooler, a PVC pipe, a battery-operated fan, and some ice.)

5. They Cooled Off With Water

I recently saw a photo taken during a heat wave in London’s East End in the late 1950s. People were outside their crowded flats, fanning themselves with newspapers and taking it easy in the early evening. Many were sitting in chairs with their feet in buckets of water. It works! (So do baby wading pools.)

Another simple way to cool off that our great grandparents used is soaking a handkerchief or bandana in cool water, wringing it out and wrapping it around the neck. (Washing your hair? Skip the hairdryer, and allow your hair to air dry for a cooling effect.)

6. They Used Reflective Roofing

The term “cool roof” is used today to describe a roof that absorbs less heat and reflects more sunlight than a standard roof. However, many Americans – especially in the South and Southwest – built their homes with this concept in mind in pre-AC days. They used light-colored shingles or painted their roofs white to keep the sun’s rays from heating their homes.

Painting Roof White

7. They Slept Outside

Houses – especially those in the South – built in the Victorian era or before usually had one or more sleeping porches. It was common for families to move their beds and bedding temporarily to these covered porches during all or part of the summer. (You can transform a deck or balcony to serve as your own sleeping porch. Kids love it!)

8. They Used Trees And Shrubbery To Provide Shade

Today’s modern housing developments often cut down trees to make room for homes. Home builders did just the opposite in pre-AC days. They tried to design homes near trees that would provide cooling shade.

If that was not possible, homeowners planted trees and shrubs to offer shade to their homes in the summer. This process works well to keep occupants more comfortable all year round. The leaves of deciduous trees help block sunlight in the summer, and when they fall off in the autumn, they allow warming sunlight to reach your home in the winter.

9. They Ate Smaller Meals

Our ancestors didn’t have the luxury of out-of-season fruits and vegetables and frozen entrees. Instead, they made the most of nature’s bounty during the hot weather. Watermelon, leafy greens, celery, cucumbers, and tomatoes all contain mostly water. Not only do they taste great, but they help keep you hydrated.

In order to stay comfortable in the heat, it is critical to stay well hydrated. Sweating is the human body’s cooling mechanism, but you need to replace that lost water to remain healthy.

10. They Altered Their Schedule

Our forebears planned their chores to fit around the hottest parts of the day. They got up even earlier to do outside work during the heat of the summer, often taking a break during the noonday sun. If necessary, they extended their workday into the shade of the evening hours.

11. They Wore Natural-Fiber Loose-Fitting Clothing In Light Colors

The Cotton Council International reports that loose cotton clothing helps absorb perspiration and allows air circulation to keep your body dry and comfortable. Light-colored clothing also is a good idea because it allows light (and thus heat) to be reflected away rather than absorbed by the fabric.

Staying cool during a heat wave is a challenge for all of us. If you either do not have air conditioning or are trying to reduce your reliance on it, it is even more difficult. Keep in mind, though, that most Americans did not have home air-conditioning until the mid- to late 20th century.

AC is a relatively new luxury. As late as 1993, only 68 percent of all U.S. homes had some form of AC. Now that number is closer to 85 to 90 percent with Americans using more air conditioning than all other countries combined.

For more ideas, check out this list of ways to stay cool without AC.

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4 No Cook Meals For Surviving The Pandemic And Food Supply Shortages

prosciutto avocado sandwich

When it comes to your food supply, you just can’t risk not having enough. These no cook meals will be a great addition to your food supply planning. Check out the recipes below!

No Cook Meals to Help You Through the Pandemic

As of the writing of this article, there are 20 meat processing plants that have been shut down due to COVID-19 infections. We have been worrying about these types of effects on our food supply for months now, and this is the first real sign of how infections can affect the food supply.

When you walk into a supermarket, you might not see all the choices you had in the past. An empty meat case is a humbling thing for your eyes to fall upon. It’s the shocking realization that the seemingly infinite supply of chickens, pigs, and cows that are butchered for us has begun to run dry!

To deal with this issue, we are going to present four no cook meals that will help you create dinners at home that will feed your family without worrying so much about what’s available, or unavailable, in the meat case.

1. Smashed White Bean, Avocado and Salted Pork Sandwiches

Smashed White Bean, Avocado and Salted Pork Sandwiches | No Cook Meals for Surviving the Pandemic and Food Supply Shortages

As preppers we get beans. There are a bunch of ways to use beans and this a great example of how you can pack a sandwich with great nutrition and protein.

Serving: Makes 4 sandwiches


  • Can of White Beans
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Avocado
  • 8 Slices of Whole Grain Bread
  • 8 Slices of Salted Pork (Prosciutto, Ham, Virginia Ham)


  • Begin by draining your beans in a colander then smashing them up in a bowl add a few glugs of olive oil, salt, pepper. This little mix is delicious. If you add some minced rosemary, you can even turn this into a delicious dip.
  • Pit your avocado and cut it in half and then quarters lengthwise. Leave the skin on.
  • Lay the bread out on a clean work surface for assembling the sandwiches.
  • Spread your mashed bean mix onto one side of the bread.
  • Peel your avocados and slice 1 quarter for each sandwich. Spread slices over the bean spread.
  • Add a few slices of your pork to over the top of the avocado.
  • You can finish this sandwich with some lettuces, fresh sprouts, or just eat it as is.

2. Delicious Crab Salad

Canned crab is a protein option that will likely be around through much of this meat crisis. It does have to be kept in refrigeration, but it’s delicious and this chipotle mayo salad is great in the spring and summer.


  • 1 Can of Crab Meat
  • 1 Bunch of Asparagus
  • Chipotle Mayo
  • 1 Bunch of Green Onions
  • 1 Bunch of Cilantro


  • Drain your crab in a colander and set it in the sink.
  • Slice your asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Throw them into a bowl.
  • Thinly slice your onions and your cilantro and throw that into the bowl, as well.
  • Gently toss in the crab meat.
  • Squirt on enough Chipotle mayo to coat everything and toss gently not to break up the crab meat.
  • Chill in the fridge and serve.

3. Simple Greek Salad

Simple Greek Salad | No Cook Meals for Surviving the Pandemic and Food Supply Shortages

The combination of simple summer ingredients makes for an incredible quick salad that you could add other proteins, too, if you wanted. These could be canned meats.


  • 2 Large Tomatoes
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1 Red Onion
  • ¼ Cup of Feta Cheese
  • A Few Sprigs of Fresh Mint
  • ½ Cup of Kalamata Olives
  • Balsamic Dressing


  • I like to cut the tomatoes in large chunks and have them kind of be the main course in this salad. Peel and slice your cucumber in half. Remove the seeds and either dice or slice in half-moons.
  • Peel and slice your red onion in half. Julienne your, or thinly slice, your half onion.
  • Add all these ingredients to a bowl. Finely slice your mint.
  • Add your olives, crumbled feta, and mint to the bowl and add enough dressing to coat everything.
  • Stir it up and allow this to chill for at least an hour for the flavors to really blend.

4. Mediterranean Tuna Lettuce Wraps

Mediterranean Tuna Lettuce Wraps | No Cook Meals for Surviving the Pandemic and Food Supply Shortages

Using some similar ingredients and adding a protein like tuna, you can create some delicious lettuce wraps. The key to a good lettuce wrap is to have most of the items around the same size. So, consider that when you are preparing this dish.


  • Iceberg or Butter Lettuce
  • Canned Artichokes
  • Canned roasted Red peppers
  • Fresh Cucumber
  • Feta Cheese
  • Minced Olives ¼ Cup
  • 2 Cans of Tuna
  • Green Onions
  • Basil


  • Start by peeling all the full leaves from your lettuce. Set them on a plate either cover them with a wet paper towel or put them back into the fridge.
  • Dice the peppers, artichokes, and cucumbers into cubes. Go no larger than ½ an inch.
  • Thinly slice your green onions and basil and add them to a bowl with your diced vegetables. Add your loves to this bowl and mix them thoroughly.
  • Crumble your feta cheese over the mixture.
  • Drain your tuna thoroughly and then add that to the bowl, as well.
  • Gently toss this mixture. Try not to break up the tuna and the cheese too much but incorporate it thoroughly.
  • If you want, you can add some olive oil to the mix or a few glugs of balsamic vinegar. It’s also delicious just how it is.
  • Scoop a few tablespoons into a lettuce leaf, wrap it up and eat up!

These no cook meals should help lessen the stress you feel when thinking of what to feed your family. If you don’t have the specific ingredients, use your creativity, and use what you have. You might discover a new recipe while you’re at it!

What’s your favorite no cook meal recipe? Please share it with us in the comments section!

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Billionaire Whistle Blower: Wuhan Coronavirus Death Toll Is Over 50,000

  1. Exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui recently revealed leaks from Wuhan crematoriums. He claims based on the number of bodies their furnaces are burning, the death toll could be as high as 50,000.

A Chinese billionaire and whistleblower who lives in U.S. exile says Wuhan crematoriums have burned 50,000 coronavirus victims. | Credit: Chinatopix via AP

  • The official coronavirus death toll in China is a little over 800. But an exiled Chinese businessman says crematoriums are leaking the real figure.
  • A billionaire whistleblower alleges Wuhan has crematoriums working 24/7. He claims they’ve cremated some 50,000 coronavirus victims.
  • Guo Wengui is a Chinese billionaire living in exile in the United States.

The official coronavirus death toll is some 800 people in China. The current official death toll worldwide, outside of China, is 774. But a Chinese billionaire with a history of blowing the whistle on his former government says the real figure is much higher.

Exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui recently revealed leaks from Wuhan crematoriums. He claims based on the number of bodies their furnaces are burning, the death toll could be as high as 50,000. Wengui made the bombshell allegations in an interview with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.


Whistleblower: 1.5 Million Coronavirus Cases In China, 50,000 Coronavirus Deaths In Wuhan


He also claims to have inside information that there are 1.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases in China. Wengui is emphatic that these are not merely quarantined or “under observation” but confirmed cases of coronavirus infection:


China has struggled to contain the coronavirus. But it has also struggled to contain public outcry against censorship and tight control of information. Dr. Li Wenliang, who sounded the alarm about the disease, succumbed to an infection and died this week. The Chinese government arrested him for blowing the whistle.

Then officials tried to suppress news of his death. Afterwards, millions of Chinese citizens saw the hashtag #IWantFreedomOfSpeech on Mandarin language social media. But the Chinese government censored that too.

Are Wengui’s Crematorium Claims Credible?

Watch VICE’s 2017 profile on Guo Wengui. At the time, he published bombshell documents alleging corruption in the Chinese government. He got the attention of the media and reportedly the U.S. State Department.


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5 Types Of Ammunition To Stockpile For A Collapse


Every prepper knows it’s a great idea to stockpile ammunition when preparing for a major disaster.

You can use it for hunting, self-defense, or barter.

But which types of ammo should you stockpile?

If you plan on bartering, then you don’t want a bunch of calibers that nobody wants. And that’s just one consideration.

In this video, Reality Survival & Prepping talks about what he thinks are the 5 best types of ammunition to stockpile for a collapse.

Here are his picks:

  1. .22 LR – Very common, good for hunting small game, very light and small.
  2. 9mm Luger – Great for self-defense, fits in a wide variety of handguns.
  3. 5.56×45mm or .223 Remington – Also very common, cheap and effective.
  4. .308 Winchester – Widely used, works in AR10 and bolt-action platforms.
  5. 12 Gauge – You can do a lot with it — hunt, defend yourself, etc.

In the video below he makes a much more detailed case for each caliber. What do you think of this list?

This article first appeared on See it here


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