The City Magazine Since 1975

Shoot the Breeze

Shoot the Breeze
WRITER: 
July 2019

Historically, the secret to surviving Charleston summers had been the same for centuries—either leave or somehow catch a breeze.



In the 1920s, local inventor Maurice Glasser came up with a new idea, one he believed would earn him a fortune.

Since the advent of electricity, people had been stirring the air with fans, whether box, oscillating, or ceiling styles. In 1920, Glasser patented a new oscillating ceiling fan, with a shaft that could swing in a circle while the blades revolved, moving the air in multiple directions and increasing circulation by 300 percent.

“The Maurice Glasser Electric Fan, Made in Charleston, Used all Over the World,” proclaimed his ads. He incorporated his Standard Electric Company and patented more cooling devices, which he sold at his Exchange Street shop.

While Glasser’s fans now demand high prices from collectors, none of his inventions brought him fame or fortune. He’s remembered by some as an old man, muttering to himself about what could have been, while he shambled along the Battery catching the sea’s consoling breeze.

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Image Courtesy of Wiki Patents