The Evolution of Ceiling Fans Over the Decades

Doing up our houses and ensuring there is a part of our personalities in every corner of our space is a phenomenon that is common today, but you will be surprised to know that this wasn’t the case earlier. People would hardly change much before moving into a new place. They would be satisfied with the interiors that the previous owner or the builder would provide and hardly make any amendments to the interiors.

Believe it or not, even the most common fixtures that are essential now, for instance, a ceiling fan were only seen in the houses of the elites. Living without a ceiling fan may sound alien to us, especially in a tropical country like India but this humble electrical appliance has evolved magnificently over the years and we aren’t complaining. We flipped through a few interesting history pages to bring to you the journey of the ceiling fan. Here’s all that we found out.

The Evolution of Ceiling Fan: Ancient Origins to Today

  1. Reminiscing the 17th Century: The British officers stationed in India during the 17th century had to adapt to a hot & humid climate. To ensure they were comfortable and could bear the tropical weather, they introduced punkahs, a feature only kings, officers and very affluent families could afford. There were dedicated punkahwallahs who would manoeuvre the rectangular piece of cloth that was made to hang over a wooden frame. The punkahs and punkahwallahs travelled to the elite dining halls of the U.S. & Mexico where poorly paid slaves were hired to generate a cool breeze during meal times.
  2. 1882 – Up until the 1880s fans were not electric. Thanks to inventor Philip Diehl who found a breakthrough in the industry, we can now enjoy the luxury of electric ceiling fans. Philip installed an electric motor he designed for sewing machines into a fan and with the introduction of alternating current in 1896, the era of the modern ceiling fan began.
  3. Late 19th century: Most of the lifestyle habits we adopted can be dated back to colonial rule. The British and their way of living definitely left an imprint on Indians. In the late 19th century, the Britishers introduced India to ceiling fans and after that, we haven’t looked back. 
  4. 1906: Crompton Greaves, a joint venture between Greaves Cotton of India and Crompton Parkinson of England, launched the first electric fan in India.
  5. 1930: The first indigenous Indian ceiling fan was introduced by Usha. The brand that broke the market with its USHA sewing machine which was considered the ultimate wedding trousseau gift, was also the first to introduce an Indian-made ceiling fan.
  6. 1934: With the introduction of more brands in the industry, there was a need for formalising the otherwise unregulated and haphazard industry. The Indian fan industry was formalised with the establishment of the IFMA (Indian Fan Manufacturers’ Association). A non-governmental, non-profit organization, the IFMA plays an important role in the development of fan industries in India.
  7. 1937: It was now time for some advancements in the industry and just about then, Crompton introduced the first ceiling fan with a regulator. Consumers were amazed by the luxury of being able to switch the speed of the fan with a simple turn of a knob.
  8. 1940s: By the 1940s, ceiling fans were not only limited to the houses of the wealthy. They were widely available and you could easily find a fan in your budget.
  9. 1947: India gained independence from British rule. This changed a lot of things as we realized the importance of growing our own indigenous products. Many notable companies like Crompton & Co. (India) Ltd. transformed into Indian companies.
  10. 1950s: The Government of India started promoting the use of fans to conserve energy and in line with broader efforts to modernize the country.
  11. Mid-1950s: The growing demand led to the use of fans with capacitor motors. This phenomenon was widespread in India and everyone realized the importance of energy efficiency.
  12. 1960s: Crompton introduced the first-ever ceiling fan with a capacitor start motor, which provided more energy-efficient and quieter operation than previous models. Consumers were delighted by the lesser noise and cool breeze.
  13. 1977: Up until now, ceiling fans featured an aluminium body which made them bulky and let’s say, obnoxious. Crompton introduced the first ceiling fan with a plastic body in India this year which was sleeker compared to the heavy aluminium fan.
  14. 1979: Crompton was also the first brand to introduce a five-bladed ceiling fan in the country. This gave consumers the choice to install this ceiling fan in larger rooms or even dining halls.
  15. 1980s: Ceiling fans became an essential household appliance in India. You would see them in almost every middle-class household as well and that meant the brands had to constantly come up with something new.
  16. Energy crisis of the 1990s: The country was like a “caged tiger”, as many economists would call it. The spending power had increased and the country’s production couldn’t keep up with the consumer demands. This is when we faced a major energy crisis. Alternatives for ceiling fans were on the rise during this period.
  17. 1994: The young Indians had now developed an interest in giving their homes an aesthetic makeover. Companies like Crompton to keep up with the growing needs, introduced the first decorative ceiling fan in India.
  18. Energy crisis of 2000s: The 2000s marked the development of the country by leaps and bounds. India needed the availability of an uninterrupted power supply to see growth in every large-scale and small-scale industry. It was also a period of increased interest in energy-efficient ceiling fans.
  19. 2006: The energy crisis forced the Government of India to regulate the electrical appliances in the country by star ratings. This led to the introduction of energy-efficient and star-rated ceiling fans. The rating was done by a Government organization – the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)
  20. 2008: In line with the energy compliance of the BEE, Crompton introduced the first energy-efficient ceiling fan in India empowering the country to be able to spend less and still make the most of their electrical appliances.
  21. 2009: This was the era of BLDC fans in India. The brushless direct-current motor fans operate on the direct-current electricity concept. These fans were trending owing to their: 
    * Energy efficiency
    * Durability
    * Eco-friendliness
    * Quiet operation
    * Advanced features
  22.  2015: During this period, various brands introduced a diverse range of BLDC fans in India, with the aim of promoting energy efficiency. As a result, many new brands emerged in the market..
  23. 2016: India in the year 2016 was a growing market that wanted novelty. During this time, Brands pushed LED fans and fans with DC motors in India.
  24. 2017: We had now moved to a more luxurious lifestyle as affordability increased. Brands introduced remote-controlled fans in India due to an industry-wide trend towards feature-rich fans.
  25. 2018 & 2019: Fans were no longer expected to only keep you cool. We wanted our fans to do more. This is when brands introduced fans that could purify indoor air quality.
  26. 2020: This year brought chaos that was unseen. The pandemic led to an increase in energy-efficient fans. However, the industry suffered owing to production disruptions and a decline in sales. The purchasing behaviour changed as there was a huge shift to e-commerce. 
  27. 2022: In 2022, fans with wireless charging capabilities were introduced so we could easily place desk fans without the hassle of wires.
  28. 2023: The year 2023 is a revolutionary year for ceiling fans as the Government of India has made it mandatory for all ceiling fan manufacturers to display the BEE star rating of the respective ceiling fans. This will bring about a positive change in energy efficiency in every Indian household. One of the leading brands in India that boasts a 5-star rating for its BLDC fans is Crompton.

The Growth of Ceiling Fan Market

The global ceiling fans market size is valued at USD 12.5 billion by 2025 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.3% during the forecast period. There is a considerable rise in spending on premium quality home decor at the global level which is expected to promote the utility of ceiling fans with added features. The Indian consumer is more aware than ever before and makes informed decisions based on research. The growth of ceiling fans is only going to be on the rise as temperatures rise and the spending power increases. As per the Google Trends report from 2019-2022, the search for ceiling fans has increased by 98.41% on Google which shows the popularity of this crucial appliance.   

The Future Of Ceiling Fans

Companies are consistently trying to keep up with the growing demands of the consumer. Technology is evolving at a fast pace and there is a lot of competition in the market for brands to be on top of their game. The competition also leads to inventions and innovations which is a big positive for the ceiling fans industry.

Moreover, India is focused on creating a future that is energy-efficient. To support this initiative the BEE may bring in more guidelines in the near future and help improve energy efficiency in the country. 

(Above mentioned article is a featured content​, This article does not have journalistic/editorial involvement of IDPL, and IDPL claims no responsibility whatsoever)

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