The Fan Page

Antique and Vintage Air Movers

Welcome to the Fan Page. This page is mostly a photo gallery of my collection of antique oscillating and fixed table fans along with my commentary about them. Many of the 12" and 16" fans in my collection are actually used quite a bit in the summer months from May-September, and as such, I don't readily consider myself a collector of antique fans per se. I do refuse to buy new fans because of their poor quality and styling. On the other hand, I do have quite a few more fans than would really be required for the summer season, and I have bought fans that do not work simply to have them.

None of the fans you will see here have been restored. I clean them, at the very least, but to the many that run I oil them, and make electrical repairs if needed, and replaced the base felt if needed, so they may be used.

Click upon any outlined picture to enlarge.

AC Gilbert  Emerson  General Electric  Hunter  Knapp-Monarch  Robbins & Myers  Wade-Youman  Western Electric  White-Cross  Links

AC Gilbert Fans

This little 8" oscillating fan, 'Trail Blazer', was made by the AC Gilbert Co., of Erector Set fame. It was made in the early 1920's and is single speed.

 

Emerson Fans

Shown here is an Emerson 26646, which was made from 1919 to 1922. This is the non-oscillating companion fan to the Emerson 27-series fans made during the same time period. The 5-digit Emerson type or model numbers encode information about the fan. The 26 is the series, 6 for power line frequency in tens of cycles per second, 4 for the number of blades, and 6 for the blade radius in inches. This fan uses Emerson's unique hollow stationary shaft single bearing. The fan blade hub screws onto the rotor, which rotates on this hollow shaft, which is filled with oil from the single oil port on the fan's back. The unique blades on this fan are called Parker blades, after Herbert L Parker, who invented them. They were first patented in 1899,


This fan is an Emerson 27666, which was made from 1919 to 1922. It is a 12-inch fan and it has six blades instead of the usual four. In the days before the overlapping blade was developed, fan companies made fans quiet by decreasing the speed by a third while adding 50% more blades. Thus, instead of four blades at 1725 RPM, the fan would have six blades spinning at 1050 RPM. Since these fans were aimed at locations such as hospitals, hotels, and homes, they were usually referred to as residence fans. The 12-inch variety were usually used for smaller spaces, while the 16-inch fans were intended for use in theatres and churches. The six-blade Emerson residence fans were the last Emerson fans to use the "big motor". The fan shown here is an early 27666 with a porcelain speed switch. A view of the back of the 27666 and a 73646 gives a good idea of the size of the big motor. The big motor made its last appearance on the 71668 16-inch six blade fan in 1936.


Shown here is an 8-inch oscillating Emerson Junior from 1926. It had a red and black badge, which was used on the Junior fans from 1923 to 1926. Despite its small size, this fan still uses the Emerson hollow stationary shaft that the bigger fans use. The junior line was a low-cost fan series introduced in 1921. Junior fans will not have serial numbers, only a date code.


Shown here is an Emerson 29646, a brass-blade 12-inch fan. This fan was made in the later 1920's, around 1927 or 1928. With a serial number prefixed by a T, it is one of the last serial-numbered Emerson fans. Fans made after they stopped stamping serial numbers around 1929 will have a date code on the motor tag. The unique blades on this fan are called Parker blades, after the Emerson employee who invented them. They were first patented in 1899, and again in 1927. Modern fan collectors sometimes refered to the as "Bullwinkle Blades" because of their shape. Unlike many of its competitors, Emerson did not use shaded-pole motors in its 12" and 16" fans. Instead, this fan uses a form of split-phase motor which could be called a permanent-split reactance motor. A separate winding in the speed coil is used to create a phase shift in one of the two motor windings, in much the same way a capacitor is used in a permanent-split capacitor motor. This is one of Emerson's last brass-blade fans, but instead of the polished brass of earlier fans, the blades are painted gold, a finish Emerson called "dull brass". The "Built to Last" on the motor tag is no exaggeration. Emerson fans are legendary for their longevity and reliability, and this fan is no exception. It uses Emerson's unique hollow stationary shaft single bearing. The fan blade hub screws onto the rotor, which rotates on this hollow shaft, which is filled with oil from the single oil port on the fan's back.


Shown here is a 10-inch Emerson Junior oscillating fan from 1929. This fan uses the famous Emerson stationary hollow shaft despite its small size. The junior line was a low-cost fan series introduced in 1921.


This 12-Inch fan, the model 73646, was made in 1938. The 73 series fans were the first to use a capacitor instead of an inductor for starting/running, and featured a type of split-phase motor known as a permanent-split capacitor motor, or PSC motor. PSC motors are used extensively today in HVAC applications for fan and blower motors where there is a need for an efficient, reliable motor. Emerson PSC motors are legendary performers, capable of running for months on end and only warming a few degrees above ambient temperatures. This fan also features Parker blades. This fan uses Emerson's unique hollow stationary shaft single bearing. The fan blade hub screws onto the rotor, which rotates on this hollow shaft, which is filled with oil from the single oil port on the fan's back. A system  of spiral grooves, rotating spiral spring, and scraper pump the oil form front to back. It is a truly amazing design, and it is quite rare to find an Emerson fan with worn bearings.


 

This is a Model 79648 AK. It is a 16" fan using Improved Parker blades. It is also a 79-series fan. Emerson Model number encode certain features of the fan: 79 is the series, 6 is the frequency in tens of cycles, 4 is the number of blades, and 8 is the radius of the blades in inches, and the AK denotes the motor type and finish. It was made in 1938. Nearly all Emerson fans made from the 1920's to the 1970's will have a date code on the lower right corner of the name tag. By adding 20 to this number, you will be able to determine the date the fan was made. In this case, adding 20 to 18 gives 38, hence 1938. The motor is a permanent split capacitor (PSC) type, and is very efficient and runs very cool. I put Emerson fans at the top of my list with Hunter & Robbins & Myer fans for daily runners. If oiled once a year, they will outlive many generations of owners.


This Emerson 79646-AQ was made in 1942, as evidenced by the 22 stamped over the 21 on the motor tag. Manufacture of fans stopped in May 1942 due to the war. The fan is a 12" model, and uses Improved Parker blades. The distinct cage, unique to Emerson fans, was introduced in 1939 or 1940, replacing the traditional s-wire cage that was used on the 1938 fan shown previously. This fan has a few features making it a lower-cost model such as a 6-pole shaded pole motor. The fan still uses the single-bearing design for which Emerson  fan motors are famous. The fan in the photo lacks wires because at the time the photo was taken they had been removed for replacement, and the fan was temporarily reassembled while waiting for reproduction wire to arrive.


This overlapping-blade 12" Emerson 77646-AL was made in 1946. It features wide, overlapping aluminum blades and a durable, traditional black enamel finish with black lacquered blades. The postwar 77 series fans are considered by many collectors to be the pinnacle of desk fan development for their many outstanding features, such as variable oscillation, quiet air delivery, styling, durability, and efficiency unmatched by fans made new even today. The fan uses a 4-pole PSC-type motor with Emerson's unique single bearing design and runs very cool and efficient. This particular fan can be run on high for days on end and the motor will be felt to be barely above room temperature. The wiring on the fan is original factory wiring.


This overlapping-blade 12" Emerson 77646-AN was made in 1947. It features the same wide, overlapping aluminum blades that the AL fan pictured above has. However, instead of the plain black enamel and lacquer, the fan features a brown crackle finish that was popular at the time. The fan in the photo lacks wires because at the time the photo was taken they had been removed for replacement, and the fan was temporarily reassembled while waiting for reproduction wire to arrive. This fan was given to me by my brother around 2007 in non-working condition. I repaired the wiring and cleaned it, used it for for a while, then gave it back to him as a Christmas gift in 2012.


This unique Emerson fan was made in 1949 and sports the optional spiral safety cage. It is a model 77646-CE, and, apart from the special cage, is the same as a 77646-AS which was the standard 12" 77-series fan for 1949. The spiral safety cage was available on Emerson's large fans (models 20" and larger) since the mid 1930's, and became available as an extra-cost option on the 12" and 16" fans around 1948. Spiral cages remained optional until around 1970, at which time they became the only cage available until the 77 and 79 series fans were discontinued in the late 1970's. For those who like using antique fans, but are concerned about the safety aspects of the cage, the spiral cage-equipped models are excellent choices. This fan has all of the mechanical features of the 1946 77646-AL and 1947 77646-AN with one important exception: the swivel adjustment, which was phased out of 12" 77 fans in 1948. You can see this by lack of a spring-loaded pin under the oscillator link.


The 79648-AU pictured here was made in 1949. It is a 16" fan and uses Improved Parker blades. Like the 1942 79-series fan shown previously, this fan has a 6-pole shaded pole motor, making it a lower-cost model than those with the PSC motors. The fan still uses the single-bearing design for which Emerson  fan motors are famous.


Also made in 1949 was this Emerson model 77648-AV. In addition to the popularity of the brown crackle finish, ivory finish was also popular in the late 1940's. The fan pictured has its original paint with new wiring and base felt. Restored examples in this color are absolutely stunning, and often make the fan look like it is made from white chocolate. 1949 was the first year that the 16" 77-series fans did not have the swivel adjustment feature that the older fans shown above have. Like all 77-series fans, this one features a permanent-split-capacitor, or PSC motor. PSC motors make excellent fan motors, and this fan has no equal for the quiet, efficient, movement of air, even today. The fan uses wide, overlapping 25-degree blades Emerson introduced their overlapping blade 77-series fans in the mid 1930's under license from GE, since the overlapping blade patent was owned by GE. However, Emerson's overlapping blades have a slightly different shape than GE's, and the Emerson motor is much more quiet and reliable. This fan uses the famous Emerson hollow shaft motor bearing. If you are looking for a quiet, efficient, oscillating fan, you can find no better.


This 77648-SO was made in 1955. It also features wide, 25-degree pitched blades which overlap slightly, making the fan very quiet while still moving a volume of air. This fan uses Emerson's famous hollow stationary shaft bearing like the other Emerson fans shown on this page. The motor is a 6-pole PSC (permanent split capacitor) type and will run many days on end without trouble or heating. This fan makes much less use of cast iron than the other Emerson fans on this page. The base is aluminum, as is the oscillator gear box. The front motor cover is stamped steel. The motor is still cast iron, as is the neck. The line cord is original, I think. The headwire has been replaced. This is probably the quietest running antique fans I own, and the attractive cage, with its distinct design, and the light bronze metallic paint on the rest of the fan certainly makes it attractive as well.

 

General Electric Fans

My first GE fan, a Model 49X612. I picked this fan up at the Tulsa flea market in the mid-1990's. I don't have any recent photos of it because Doug Roberson of Ewing Electric Motor Co., Stillwater, OK, has had the fan since I dropped it off for repairs in 1998. It wasn't a rush job (replacing the head wire), so he said it would be a couple of months! Give a Doug a call at 405-372-2078 and ask him if he remembers where it is at! Fan has three speeds and oscillates. Motor, frame and base are nearly identical to the 55X165 pictured below.


This 8-inch GE Quiet Fan was made in the early 1930's. It is a model 55X165. Unlike full-size 12" and 16" GE fans, the 8" uses a quiet motor that does not have the characteristic GE hum. The wide, overlapping blade design was patented by GE, and thus, other manufactures selling overlapping blade fans had to do so under license.


This 12" fan was made in 1937. It is a Model 49X491 and was originally made as a Quiet-Fan with wide blades like those on the 55X165 pictured above.  Sometime along it long life this fan acquired the Vortalex blades you see it with here. Vortalex fans came out in 1938, and such fans used the unique blade design you see here, an exclusive GE design. I suspect these blades may have been installed by an original owner to "modernize" the fan after the Vortalex models came out.


This 1927 12" GE Type AOU Form AF2  Cat. 75423 fan hangs on a wall in my living room, so it doesn't have all the spiffy photos like the other fans do.  It is a loop oscillator, and runs very quiet for a GE fan. The large blades are not original to this fan. They are Emerson overlapping blades from the 1940's or 1950's, though they do have the GE overlapping blade patent number stamped on the backside of them. This is because other manufactures used the blades under license from GE. The original blades for this fan would have been brass, and I am currently seeking out a correct blade-set for this fan.


This fan sits atop my home-made Victrola in my dining room. It is a 16" Type AOU Form AK1 Cat 75425 and was made in 1930 or 1931. The fan is black instead of the Pullman Green of the other AOU, and has black-painted aluminum blades. The AK1 version of GE's venerable AOU was the first to have aluminum blades instead of brass.

Many thanks goes to Steve Stephens for the info he has shared about the GE fans.

 

Hunter Fans

This is an early 40's 12-inch Hunter Century Type C-12, Catalog No. 235. Hunter fans have very quiet motors and are excellent air movers. Hunter fans made before 1946 will say Fulton, N.Y. on them. Fans made from 1946 to 1949 will say Memphis, Tennessee. After 1949, they will be marked Hunter Division of Robbins & Myers as the CG-16 shown below is. The fan shown here has wide, deep pitched overlapping blades. These were rather quiet compared to the traditional "pizza slice" blades, such as those shown on the next fan below. The overlapping blades had to be used under license from GE, since GE owned the patent.


This fan, dating to the same time period as the C-12 shown above, is a Type C-16, Catalog No.262. Like all Hunter desk fans, this one is excellent for daily use and I usually use it at work. It has 16" blades. You'll note they are standard "pizza-slice" blades instead of the wide blades of the C-12 shown above. It seems the catalog numbers ending in 2 signify narrow blades, and those ending in 5 had wide blades.


I have yet to determine what the real difference is, if anything other than just the name, between the Century and Zephair models. This little fan is a 10" Zephair made between 1946 and 1949.It's a type D-10, Catalog No. 75. You'll note it has wide blades like the C-12 Cat. 235. The 10" models have only 2 speeds, compared to the 3 speeds of the 12" and 16" models. They also have shaded pole motors, so expect them to run noticeably warmer.


Another 16" model, this time a Zephair Type C-16, Catalog No. 265. Again. compare with the narrow-blade 262 above. Period catalogs seem to indicate that Hunter named virtually its entire product line Zephair in the late 1940's. I have never seen a Fulton NY Zephair, I have seen a few Memphis Tenn Centurys online. This fan was made between 1946 and 1949, and I suspect the black painted blades are due to post-war shortages.


This 16" Hunter fan is from the 1950's. It was made when Hunter was a division of the Robbins & Myers Co. Hunter was purchased by Robbins & Myers in 1949, and operated as the Hunter Division of Robbins & Myers until 1984. It is a model CG-16. This is another excellent fan for daily use. This particular model was made into the 1970's, the only changes being more modern cages around the blades. After the merger, it seams that they used the Hunter motors and bases with the R&M blades and cages. The R&M model 1604 shown on down on this page used the same blades.

Below is a "family portrait" of all my pre-R&M Hunter fans:

 

Knapp-Monarch Fans

Knapp-Monarch was a St. Louis company that made many electrical appliances, such as this late 1940's or early 1950's 8-inch table fan. This fan is finished in an attractive brown crinkle finish and does not oscillate.

 

Robbins & Myers Fans

This 12-inch brass-blade fan was made in the late teen to early 1920's. Still faintly visible is the gold pin striping on the base and motor. The model is 2410.


This 16-inch Robbins & Myers fan is from the 1930's. It is a model 1604 and is a great fan for daily use. If you want a reliable, quiet, cool-running fan, this model or an Emerson would be my top 2 choices. This fan features a knob that allows you to adjust the oscillation arc like an Emerson, but with a knob-operated clutch that will release if the fan strikes an object.

 

Wade-Youman Fans

This little fan, made by the Wade-Youmans Co., of Alliance Ohio, was made between 1948 and 1952 and sold under the name Chrom-Ever. It is one of the very few small fans I have ever spent any time on, and as a result it seem to run fairly well. The fan is actually made rather interestingly. The oscillating mechanism is hidden entirely inside the bullet rear cover. The oscillator on this example is inoperative. A knob for engaging or disengaging the oscillation should be present on the top of the bullet housing. The cage is steel, the blades are aluminum, the rest of the fan is spun aluminum, and well made. The motor is a 4-pole shaded pole motor made by another Alliance, Ohio firm for Wade-Youmans. Wade-Youmans made fans only briefly, and were out of the fan business by 1954.

 

Western Electric Fans

This 12" Western Electric fan is basically a rebadged Robbins & Myers fan. In fact, other than badges and motor tag, it is identical to the 2410 shown above. With 4 brass blades, this model 7804 was made in the late teens or early 1920's. As you can see, mine is missing some oscillator parts.

 

White-Cross Fans

This little 8-inch fan, made circa 1915, is an AC-DC type fan. Made in Chicago, it was sold under the name Breezer.

 

Links

DT Vintage Fans

Early Electric Fans

Vintage Fan Restoration

Fan Wiring Diagrams

OTR Reproduction Antique Fan Wire

Emerson Fan Features

Contact

Please read the notes on contacting me on the Main Page.

 

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