The Rise and Fall of Sleeping Porches: A Look Back at Early Home Cooling Solutions

Sleeping Porch

In today’s world, the comfort of air conditioning is something many of us take for granted. But before the widespread adoption of residential air conditioning, homeowners had to get creative to stay cool during sweltering summer nights. One such ingenious solution was the sleeping porch, an architectural feature that became a staple in homes built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Inception of Sleeping Porches

Sleeping porches were designed to provide a comfortable place to sleep during hot weather, taking advantage of cooler evening breezes. These porches were typically located on the second floor or higher, often at the back or side of the house to maximize airflow. Screened-in to protect against insects, they allowed residents to enjoy the benefits of fresh air while maintaining some level of privacy and security. Continue reading “The Rise and Fall of Sleeping Porches: A Look Back at Early Home Cooling Solutions”

Dr. John Shaw Billings: The Man Who Ventilated the Library of Congress and Transformed HVAC

Library of congress heating and ventilation

The Library of Congress stands as a monument not just to the wealth of knowledge it houses, but also to the legacy of one visionary Army physician—Dr. John Shaw Billings—who revolutionized the field of heating and ventilation in ways that still impact us today.

As the director of the New York Public Library, Dr. Billings had a vested interest in protecting valuable collections and ensuring the well-being of visitors and staff alike. His medical background gave him insights into the critical role of proper ventilation in public spaces, an understanding that he applied to the design of the new Library of Congress building. Continue reading “Dr. John Shaw Billings: The Man Who Ventilated the Library of Congress and Transformed HVAC”