The earliest mention of centrifugal fans was in 1556 by Georg Pawer (Latin: Georgius Agricola) in his book De Re Metallica, where he shows how such fans were used to ventilate mines. Thereafter, centrifugal fans gradually fell into disuse. It wasn’t until the early decades of the nineteenth century that interest in centrifugal fans revived. In 1815 the Marquis de Chabannes advocated the use of a centrifugal fan and took out a British patent in the same year. In 1827, Edwin A. Stevens of Bordentown, New Jersey, installed a fan for blowing air into the boilers of the steamship North America. Similarly, in 1832, the Swedish-American engineer John Ericsson used a centrifugal fan as blower on the steamship Corsair. A centrifugal fan was invented by Russian military engineer Alexander Sablukov in 1832, and was used both in the Russian light industry (such as sugar making) and abroad.
One of the most important developments for the mining industry was the Guibal fan, which was patented in Belgium in 1862 by the French engineer Théophile Guibal. The Guibal fan had a spiral case surrounding the fan blades, as well as a flexible shutter to control the escape velocity, which made it far superior to previous open-fan designs and led to the possibility of mining at great depths. Such fans were used extensively for mine ventilation throughout Britain.