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.”

Following in the footsteps of Wheeler and Diehl, the founder and owner of Exhale Fans— Richard Halsall—is constantly looking for a way to improve our bladeless ceiling fan. For example he recently introduced a down rod kit for vaulted ceilings.

The knowledge 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.

Exhale Fans continuous search for improvement and innovation led to the production of Gen2, Gen3 now Gen4 Exhale Fans and we have working prototypes of our Gen5 which will have many enhancements including a smart phone/home interface. Unavailability of integrated circuits have put a production release on hold on Gen5. Our current production model, Gen4, includes an enhanced and more efficient motor with higher RPM, a preassembled (including wind vanes) and improved fan disk assembly and comes standard with our LED light module.