In April 1926, we ran a contest that asked readers to submit their cleverest ideas for cooling down in hot weather. The runner up whose idea is illustrated on the left suggested hanging a damp towel or muslin cloth over an open window to reduce a room's temperature. To keep the cloth wet, he said, attach rollers to the top and bottom. Install a shallow pan of water at the bottom of the window so that whenever the cloth dries up, you can spin it through the water. The room should feel noticeably cooler after the wet towel filters incoming breezes.
Other ideas included eating foods like fresh veggies and raw fruits because they supposedly produce less heat than meat and sugar. Another reader suggested putting a plate of ice in front of an electric fan, while one man took the psychological route by claiming that getting overexcited, angry, or worried -- that is, being hot-headed -- would increase your core body temperature.
In addition to not needing the gadgets, the winning suggestion seemed a little counter-intuitive: "A hot shower bath followed by a hot drink, taken during the hottest part of the day" would do the trick, said John L. Ginster, who insisted that you'd feel cooler once your pores were open. For his idea, Ginster won $10, while the runners-up won $1 for their efforts.
Read the full story in "How to Keep Cool on Hot Days"