Friday, October 28, 2011

The Century Skeletal: A masterpiece of industrial machinery.

Century skeletals are very unique and interesting fans. They were Century electric's first line of desk fans, starting with the rare and hard to find frame S4, a fan that I would love to have some day. The S4 is believed to have been made between 1908-1910. They have massive split phase motors and have got to be one of the most powerful desk fans ever made. The Frame S3 came after the S4 and is much more common. The date code in the base of my S3 dates it to 1914, although some S3s have been found with dates as late as the early 1920's. The earliest S3s retained the cast iron base that the S4s had with a split phase motor, and shortly after that they transitioned to the stamped base 3 wire headwire S3s in the model 14. The model 14 stationary fans appear to all have 4 bolt motors, while the oscillators have 2 bolt motors but an inverted greasecup on the back. The later model 15 has a two bolt motor for the stationary and oscillating fan and a flip up oil cap above the oscillator.  In the stationary model 14 the band around the middle of the motor is stamped steel while the endbells are cast, compared to the later model 15 where the whole motor is cast iron, causing the motor mounting points to differ. The Century Skeletals are one of a handful of early fans to have 5 speeds. This particular fan was one that I bought with a BIN off of ebay.

Emerson 11644

I was very kindly gifted this fan by a friend of my mom. These are pretty uncommon little fans, the 8 inch 'lungers' as they call them with the ribbed base don't show up to much. This one is the earlier version with the Emerson 1500 style badge, the 1500 came before the 11644 in 1909 with a stenciled on off lettering where as the circa 1910 11644 came with a cast on off lettering in the base. This fan was my first brass blade and cage fan and I got it back in June. It has new rubber feet and power cord and I cleaned up the paint with acetone and q-tips. These little guys are one of the smallest centrifigural start switch motor fans around. They have a true split phase motor with a centrifigural start switch that engages and disengages the start windings, causing them to have a distinctive rattle on start up and shut down as the points open and close. I was pretty elated to get it and it's one of my favorite fans. I left the brass in it's tarnished state as I like to keep these fans original.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Emerson 26646, my first brass bladed fan

I bought this at the Expo show three or four years ago. These non-oscilators of this time are less common then the oscillators as the oscillating mechanisms had become streamlined by the late teens, this fan dates to around 1919-1920 and is the stationary version of the 27646. I paid $120 for it at the time and had no idea of fan values, but knowing what I do now, that was a fair price.

Note: You can click on the photos to enlarge them.

Edit: I sold this fan a month ago for $150 to finance the purchase of an Emerson 1010.

GE AUU: My first restoration

This was a fun project, I picked it up at fanfair and it was coated in black spraypaint and had no wiring. I used Rustoleum black appliance epoxy on it and mattalic gold on the blade and cage struts. This fan is Circa 1918 and has a steel blade due to the brass shortages during WWI, before and after this GE used brass blades, and before brass cages as well.

The Emerson Golden Jubilee

These are fun little fans. My dad picked this one up on a trade. Neat looking and easy to find, this one is circa 1950. This would be a good time to mention the Emerson date code system, on later Emersons there is a number in the corner of the tag, add 20 to that and you get the date of manufacture, for example this one says 30, so that dates it to 1950.

The first fan I strove for

The first fan I really wanted to get, and to a certain extent obsessed over for more then a day or two was the GE Vortalex. I loved the hook design of the blades and the super deep cage. I finally found one at a local antique shop a year ago and that brought me to the AFCA when I needed to rewire it. I was introduced to the notion that it was stamped steel and that made it harder to repair, and that there was even such a thing as a cast Iron fan. Regardless I managed to rewire it and it's still one of my favorite fans to use, quite and powerful. This one is a circa 1947 12 inch version.

My first fan

...Was this little electrix. I walked into that antique store when I was 7 and I've been hooked with the fan bug ever since then. Just a cheap little fans but enough to spark an interest.

Getting started

Antique electric fans are an interesting collectable. There's a lot of variety to choose from, many manufacturers  made early fans with ornate castings and brass blades and all the way through the 1950's they were still making quality fans. If fans interest you, I highly recommend you visit the Antique Fan Collectors Association, (AFCA) to get to know which fans interest you the most and what type of fan you would like to buy. Familiarize yourself with the different fans so you can distinguish between fans that are original and ones missing parts and pieced together. Restoration work on fans can be great fun as well if you come across one in need of it, it takes a lot of work and time but the outcomes can be quite rewarding. Early fans can become quite expensive, but if you keep your eyes and ears open you can still get in for cheap prices from time to time. In this hobby I've found so many great folks willing to lend a hand and help out with a fan or information, it's a great group to be a part of. In this blog I'll be covering the fans I already own and go over some I can hope and dream about owning someday! I find that this addiction has moved quickly though in the last few months, in June I owned one brass blade and cage fan, now in October I have 5 of them, some of which where dream fans a few months ago. It's worth the effort to save up and get the fans you really want, in the end it's best to own a handful of really nice fans vs many so so fans, this is something many collectors have told me and I'm now a true believer of that notion.