ceiling fan with pulley system
Photo: Mark Weiss

Spin Meisters

The gentle breeze of a spinning fan may spark memories of sultry summer days past—you know, before you gave in to the chilling call of air-conditioning. But you’d be hard-pressed to recognize the plain-Jane models of yesteryear in ­today’s options. From exuberantly ornate, Victorian-inspired versions to sleek stainless numbers epitomizing a modern minimalism that looks good in any house, there’s a fan to suit every taste and style. But while appearances have changed, one thing has stayed the same since the first electric ceiling fan started whirring in 1882: These simple mechanical devices—a motor connected to a set of rotating blades—remain marvels of common sense. By circulating air that evaporates moisture from your skin, they make you feel cooler, even on the clammiest of days. That means you can ease up on the expensive AC. In fact, used properly, a ceiling fan can shave up to 40 percent off your summer cooling bill, while drawing only as much electricity as a 100-watt bulb. Now, how refreshing is that?

Move air through a large space like a great room with up to six fans funning on the same motor via a pulley system, a throuback to early commercial models used in diners and department stores a century ago.

About $2,000 for one double motor, one spindle, and blades; about $1,400 for additional spindle with blades; Fanimation

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