Antique Electric Fans

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 Antique Electric Ceiling Fans & Desk Fans & Wall Fans


You just can't have enough fans to help beat summer 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 mere made in a great variety shapes, sizes and oscillating mechanisms. In the waning years of the 1800's electricity for residential use was not common as there was very little wiring infrastructure. Battery operated fans were the first electric fan. The Edison company would sell a fan with a set of batteries. When the batteries became discharged, the fan owner would send the batteries back to Edison Electric to recharge. Batteries then were very large sulfuric acid lead units that were heavy and were encased in glass jars. There might be four or more jars of acid filled batteries needed to power a fan in the house. 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 employees 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 sewing machines that made life a lot better.

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, fancy 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 had streamlined styling and were intended for fancy department stores such as the large wall hanging 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 Raymond Loewy.  There were many mechanically interesting 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 or fabric blades and were used in phone booths and automobiles as well as residential desk fans. These were called safety fans. There were card player 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.  Not a bad thing unless you were a passerby.

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. Classy morticians would use a very intricate and ornate gothic styled fan by the Victor Fan Company 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 or damaged 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!


Antique Air castle fan                                                                                antique Edison fan                                                                     antique C&C motor                                                                            

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


photo of a Fitzgerald deco antique fan                                                                                   photo of a Gyro ceiling fan National Tack and Screw                                                                           Photo os a Rochester antique fan                                     

Fitzgerald 7" inch modern design  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


                         Antique Jandus C Frame fan                                                                            Photo of a antique Diehl ceiling fan DC                                                           Old magazine ad photo for Diehl ceiling fans

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

 circa 1911                                                                                                         Philip Diehl invented the first electric  ceiling fan         

In the background is a round ball 12" Jandus fan                                                                                                                                                         

circa 1910                                                                                                                                                     

An Edison battery jar is in the background as well




Photo of an antique Turek ceiling fan circa 1898                                                                                               Photo of a Century antique ceiling fan                                                                                 Photo of an antique GE Oakleaf ceiling fan

                                                                                                                   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


Photo of an antique GE pancake electric wall mount  fan                                                                                                               Photo of an antique electric streamline style fan

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 likely had only one wall outlet. So will the sewing machine or fan or radio get plugged in?