from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A fan used especially in India, made of a palm frond or strip of cloth hung from the ceiling and moved by a servant.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Alternative spelling of punkah.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A machine for fanning a room, usually a movable fanlike frame covered with canvas, and suspended from the ceiling. It is kept in motion by pulling a cord.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In the East Indies, a fan of any kind; specifically, a swinging screen consisting of cloth stretched on a rectangular frame, hung from the ceiling and kept in motion by a servant, or in some cases by machinery, by means of which the air of an apartment is agitated.
We shall begin by directing our attention to the suspended punka, which is usually hung from the ceiling, and put in movement by a cord.
The length of the suspending cords is usually a matter of accident in the construction of a punka, but a little attention to the subject will soon convince us that it is one of the most important considerations.
_ -- Here is a panel punka which we shall try to use without the customary swing bar.
You cannot, therefore, alter the natural rate of movement of a punka unless you pull it at both sides.
We shall now proceed to examine several forms of punka, all made to the same size, and, for purposes of comparison, we shall drive them all at the same speed.
To obtain the greatest result from the power expended in driving it, the punka should be placed as near as possible to the person to be cooled, as the loss of effect, due to distance, increases not in direct ratio, but in proportion to the square of the distance between punka and person.
In practice, the punka should just clear his head when standing, and the weighting of the curtain should be of some yielding material, so as not to damage any person who might stand in its course.
This has nothing to do with ventilation; for if the punka were used in a closed room, it would still produce a cooling effect on the skin.
There are some very important natural laws which are illustrated in the punka.
So the punka is seen everywhere -- in the temple and court room and other public places, as well as in private dwellings.