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 Antique Electric Ceiling Fans, Desk Fans and Wall Fans


You just can't have enough fans to help beat the heat. Humans have always been finding ways to keep cool and one of the best electric inventions ever made after the light bulb is the electric fan.  Electric fans have been made for well over 100 years and came in a great many shapes, sizes and oscillating mechanisms. In the waning days of the 1800's electricity for residential use was not common as there was little infrastructure that existed. Battery operates fans were the first electric fan. The Edison company would sell a fan with a set of batteries. When the batteries became discharged, the owner would send them back to Edison Electric to recharge. Batteries then were very large acid lead units that were heavy and were encased in glass jars. There might be four or more jars of acid filled batteries in the house. Later as as factories converted from water powered machinery to electric machinery, the owner of the company might well run wiring to his nearby home and hook up some lights. This would have been an amazing thing to see at night as oil lamps and candles were the lighting of the night in those days.  Favored employee's nearby would get some wiring and on the system went until companies were formed to wire the nation and the world.  Other inventions soon followed such as electric fans and electric sewing machines that made life a lot more bearable.

Early ceiling fans were made in very small numbers by hand and featured very ornate castings and hand painted pin striping as they were intended for banks, business's and wealthy people that could afford comforting luxuries such as keeping cool on a hot summer day.  Some fans made in the 1920's and 1930's were has streamline styling and were intended for fancy department stores such as the Air Castle fan below that were inspired by aircraft designs and futuristic inspirations. Other fans featured highly stylized designs by famous designers of the day, such as the Fitzgerald Ring Fan. There were many mechanically interesting and indeed strange designs as fan makers sought to increase sales by making their fans rotate in 360 degree rotations or oscillate through the use of air powered flaps or had unique gear mechanisms that would make a sort of figure eight. Some fans had rubber blades and were used in phone booths and automobiles as well as residential desk fans. These were called safety fans. There were card players fans that blew air with radial blades so as not to disturb the play. These were also called bankers fans so paper money could be counted without blowing away.

There were special purpose fans such as a fan used by funeral homes to clear the air.  Before air-conditioning was invented, when a person passed away it was common for a wake to be held in the home. As such unexpected mournful events take time for people to travel to attend,  the recently departed would quickly be getting a bit ripe in a hot climate. So a very intricately ornate and gothicly styled fan by the Victor Fan Company was used that featured two special flesh colored light bulbs. The fan served two functions, to give a more life like appearance to the recently departed and to remove the ahem, aroma and blow it out an open window. These funeral fans featured very ornate delicate castings and are highly sought after today by collectors as many were smashed by constant travel.

Here are some antique electric fans that Scotty collects and restores. If you have something like these and want to trade for car parts or cash. Let us know!



Air Castle  air Circulator                                               Edison 6 blade battery fan  circa 1892                           Crocker & Curtis belt drive bi polar ceiling fan motor

24inch blade  circa 1930's                                                      In the background is a 16" Sprague fan                                   This bipolar C&C motor would have powered

                                                                                                      with Lundell design motor                                                    a series of belt driven ceiling fans. Circa 1890's

                                                                                                                   circa 1909



Fitzgerald 7" inch decoring  fan                                     National Tack and Screw Company                           Royal Rochester deco fan.

                                                                                      Adams Bagnall Gyro ceiling fan with 16" brass blades and cages                 The fan motor oscillates inside the cage

                                                                                                     The entire fan rotates from air power velocity

                                                                                                          These were about the last of the Gyro fans 

                                                                                                                               circa 1927



Adams Bagnall  Jandus C-Frame 16"  desk fan                                    Diehl    Direct Current "hatbox" ceiling fan                     circa 1900 Diehl advertisement

 circa 1911                                                                                                         Philip Diehl invented the first electric           

In the background is a round ball 12" Jandus fan                                                                                                                                                         

circa 1910                                                                                                                                                     

An Edison battery jar is in the background as well





                                                                                                                   Century Ceiling Fan                                                            General Electric Oakleaf  ceiling fan

Turek ceiling fan, nickel plated 2 blade model                                      The entire motor housing rotates                                                 original black and copper finish with applied

The motor turns two leather covered wheels                                             Features beautiful nouveau design                                                             cast iron oak leaves     circa  1909

inside the fan casing that rotate the ornate                                                             circa 1906-1918

cast iron fan case with attached adjustable pitch blades

The company became the Hunter Fan and Ventilator Company

Circa 1898



General Electric . wall mount 16" pancake motor fan                                         Marelli   6" deco desk fan  

Circa 1905                                                                                                                                   circa 1948 

Wall mounted fans were quite deluxe

as most rooms that had electricity may have had only one outlet