How the Sewing Machine Created Ceiling Fans


You probably never knew there was a connection between ceiling fans and sewing machines. But the link between the two electronic devices illustrates how constant innovation can lead to amazing things.

We like to think that Exhale Fans continues the tradition of innovation that began with Schuyler Skaats Wheeler’s invention of an electric fan in 1882.

A few years later, says, a German immigrant named Philip Diehl attached a sewing machine motor to a fan blade and connected it to a ceiling. Thus was born the first ceiling fan, which Diehl patented in 1887. (He also went on to develop the first oscillating fan.)

Actually, you also can thank Diehl for the relatively cheap cost of light bulbs. According to, Diehl, a mechanical engineer and inventor, held multiple patents for a variety of things, including electric motors for sewing machines, ceiling fans, and electric incandescent lamps.

As states: “Diehl was a contemporary of Thomas Edison, and his inventions caused Edison to reduce the price of his incandescent bulb.” (For more information on the invention of the fan and ceiling fan, click here.)

Following in the footsteps of Wheeler and Diehl, the founders of Exhale Fans—Nicholas Hiner and Richard Halsall—are constant tinkerers and inventors, always looking for a way to improve contemporary products. In fact, after they met, they shared ideas and information and worked together on various projects that had nothing to do with bladeless ceiling fans.

Eventually, the knowledge our co-founders gained while exploring different technological advancements overlapped in a way that led to the idea of a modern bladeless ceiling fan. The result was the quiet, efficient, and unique air handling of our patented, bladeless Exhale Fans.

This year, our continuous search for improvement and innovation led to the production of Gen2 Exhale Fans. The Gen2 modifications include a new mounting bracket, firmer disks, and a new color injection process to provide more consistent coloring.