China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI -

– The com­ple­tion of the Yang­shupu Wa­ter Fac­tory sig­naled the first avail­abil­ity of piped wa­ter across Shang­hai and China. For decades, it was the largest wa­ter fac­tory in Asia. How­ever, dur­ing the summers, peo­ple pre­ferred us­ing well wa­ter as it was much cooler. The mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment banned the use of well wa­ter late in the 1980s for fear of land sub­si­dence as a re­sult of the over­draw­ing of wa­ter.

– China’s own elec­tronic fan, Wah­son, was born in Shang­hai. In­vented by three former bank clerks who were con­vinced that the city should not be dom­i­nated by im­ported Gen­eral Elec­tric fans, the made-in-China ap­pli­ance spurred a wave of pa­tri­o­tism that com­pelled peo­ple to use do­mes­tic goods.

How­ever, be­cause Wah­son fans cost twice the av­er­age monthly in­come of a work­ing class per­son back then, they did not be­come a house­hold ne­ces­sity in Shang­hai un­til the early 1980s.

– The first build­ing that fea­tured cen­tral air-con­di­tion­ing in China was built in Shang­hai. Orig­i­nally a pri­vate res­i­dence for a Bri­tish mer­chant, the build­ing is now oc­cu­pied by the China Wel­fare In­sti­tute and has been nick­named as “the mar­ble build­ing” for its mas­sive use of the im­ported stone from Italy. The build­ing is be­lieved to have been built at a cost equiv­a­lent to 25 mil­lion ki­los of rice back then, enough to feed 140,000 peo­ple.

– The first win­dow-mounted air-con­di­tioner in China was made by Shang­hai Re­frig­er­a­tor Fac­tory. The prod­uct was ini­tially ex­clu­sive to spe­cial venues like hos­pi­tals but had by the late 1990s re­placed elec­tric fans across the coun­try.

– Shang­hai’s first air-con­di­tioned public buses hit the roads. As air-con­di­tion­ing was still con­sid­ered a lux­ury, many cit­i­zens flocked to these air-con­di­tioned ve­hi­cles when they were first in­tro­duced. The fares for these air-con­di­tioned buses, which were twice that of reg­u­lar ones, caused some con­tro­versy too. Pas­sen­gers were un­happy that they were pay­ing the same amount dur­ing the cooler sea­sons of spring and au­tumn when the air-con­di­tion­ing was switched off.


Time Al­ley, a new tourism attraction in Shili­upu along the Huangpu River, brings vis­i­tors back to the old Shang­hai days.

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