It wasn't easy to keep cool in the days before home electricity. Not only were air conditioners mostly unheard of, but fanning yourself required some physical exertion. To combat the heat, one inventor created a rocking chair-operated fan for maximum relaxation and comfort. Overall, it was a pretty simple device. Rocking the chair would turn a large gear wheel forward, and a pinion attached to the wheel would set the blades into motion.
Read the full story in "Rock and Keep Cool"