Keepin' Cool

In the depths of winter, we long for summer. At the height of summer, we wish it were winter. The secret is to enjoy the season you're in. These days, that means...

Is it hot where you are? Does a swim in a pool, a ride in a convertible, or a day at the beach sound good about now? Sorry, we can't offer you any of those - they wouldn't fit in this newspaper. But we can show you some cool photos. Can you figure out what they are? Look at the images and read the clues. Give up? The answers are below. Do you feel cooler now?

1 The 18th-century French fad for well-tended lawns required a herd of sheep or teams of scythers. When lawns captured the imagination of middle-class America in the late 1800s, new approaches were required. African-American inventors made the difference: John Burr patented an improved lawn mower in 1899. Joseph Smith created this dampening device in 1894.

2 In 1929, Sam Foster sold his first pair of these in Atlantic City, N.J. They were an immediate hit. Shortly after, Edwin Land patented a cellophanelike polarizing filter that reduced glare. In 1937, Mr. Land founded the Polaroid Corp. and sold his filters in this item.

3 The Italians made a version of these icy treats 2,000 years ago with snow brought by runners from the mountains. The art of chilling was perfected by the Italians, and gradually, the English and French caught on. This drinkable icy treat has been popular in the United States since the 1970s. You can find a version of it at a well-known convenience store.

4 This article of clothing was a badge of rank in ancient Greece and Rome. Slaves were forbidden to wear them, and the ceremony for freeing a slave involved giving them one of these. This one is made of dried grasses.

5It was the first "style" for what eventually became a sporty kind of motorized transportation. It all but disappeared for several decades - until making a big comeback in the 1980s. In Europe it's called cabriolet or cabrio.

6 The Romans were one of the first to build one of these. It did not become widely popular until the mid-19th century. By 1837, London had six and organized races in them. After the modern Olympic Games began in 1896, their popularity soared. Now they appear in backyards.

7 These are caused by the wind blowing along the water's surface. They are bigger on the West Coast than on the East because prevailing winds blow toward shore. In addition, the "fetch," or distance over which the wind blows, is greater in the West. (The steepness of the continental shelf also contributes to their size.)

8 It was used throughout Egypt, Assyria, Greece, and China more than 4,000 years ago as a sun shield. The Chinese were the first to waterproof it by waxing the paper used to make it. Early European versions were made of wood or whalebone and covered with alpaca or oiled canvas. Only women carried them until the 18th century. Its Latin root, umbra, means "shade."

9 If you live in the north, you've probably seen these sticking out of windows on hot summer days. The devices operate like a refrigerator, but without an insulated box. It uses a gas to provide cooling.

10 The first all-plastic one of these was introduced in 1962. The all-plastic water cooler followed a year later. These boxes are a good way to "keep your cool," you might say.

11 This cooling device may actually add heat to an insulated room because the electricity that drives it turns into heat. But it does make you feel cooler by the wind chill it creates. Wind chill increases a person's heat loss by hastening the evaporation of sweat, which cools you off.

12 Before Norwegian Eric Rotheim invented the first practical aerosol can in 1927, the only way to atomize (break into tiny particles) a liquid was to use a device similar to this.

SOURCES: nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/; wikipedia.org/; about.com; howstuffworks.com; backyardcity.com; hathistory.org

ANSWERS

(1) Lawn sprinkler; (2) Sunglasses (Mr. Foster called his sun shades Foster Grants); (3) Slush frozen drink. (7-Eleven stores serve Slurpees.) (4) Straw hat; (5) Convertible car. (This is a close-up view of the button used to lower the top.) (6) A swimming pool. This one happens to be a kiddie pool. (7) Ocean waves; (8) Beach umbrella; (9) Air conditioner; (10) Cooler or ice chest; (11) Electric fan; (12) Spray bottle.

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