Made nearly 100 years ago this 20 pound fan boasts a very strong and quiet motor which starts quickly and comes to full speed within a few moments. Has a solid brass blade which has been polished and clear coated with a specialized lacquer. Has gold metallic pin striping along with the original lettering on the switch.
Changing the camera settings makes the fan look very different than the previous photograph. Often what you see on the Internet is not what you may see in person. With this in mind, every effort is made to show honest pictures that reflect what an item would look like under normal lighting conditions.
Original condition as purchased from eBay for $100 including shipping. The fan was actually in good shape for its age in spite of rust, corrosion and various amounts of dirt and grime. Typically takes 20 hours worth of work and another $80 in materials to bring a fan of this caliber back to its original factory condition.
Often during disassembly it is difficult to get the old blades off the shaft without damage; and as a result, a good effort was made to polish and lubricate the blade and rotor shaft so future removal and installation would be easy.
This photograph has only one purpose : to demonstrate what the fan looks like during an overcast daytime setting.
The oscillator has 3 pieces that were not originally copper plated, but painted black. During the restoration process they were copper plated and clear coated to give the fan a higher level of detail. The collar and bolt that connects the motor housing to the base was originally painted black, but in this case have been polished and clear coated. Only the exterior of the knuckle flats were done this way. Its interior is coated with red synthetic grease.
On this particular fan there aren't any brass screws like others from the same time period. This is why many of the screws and other bare metal pieces have been polished and clear coated.
This fan has no handle so it is not really meant to be moved around. The cage has strong welds on it, but they will break if you lift the fan by the cage repeatedly.
The gold pinstriping was carefully applied and lies below the clear coat finish to protect it.
Has the ability to tilt forwards and backwards, but requires a little care since the top of the fan is heavy.
This fan type doesn't have any brass screws like other brass fans from the same time period. With this in mind, bare metal pieces have been polished to a high lustre and clear coated. There are red nylon washers installed on the fan to avoid paint scrapes and one can be seen here attached to one of the cage struts.
Right side collar wing nut was originally a matte gray color. Now it looks more like bright nickel and happens to be very shiny.
The cage looks more out of round than it actually is.
The reflection on the back of the blades is very good and matches that of the front. The leading and trailing edges of the blades have more clear coat than the blade flats since the edges take more abuse from high speed air movement.
Almost impossible to tell whether the blades are deeply scratched or dinged. Sellers tend to be a little aloof on the subject when asked. There are ultra minor scuffs on this blade; however, during the course of cleaning manufacturing cut marks are seen on the blade that would lead one to believe that the brass blades were never as originally glossy as they are today. The marks are very faint and hard to see.
Determining what the finish originally looked liked is sometimes possible by removing the label on the motor housing. In this case the fan was finished in a "Japan Black".
Black lacquer is a close approximation to the original finish. It is glossy, but not too much.
The label was carefully repainted by hand after polishing the brass and then clear coated. The label looks a little bent, but doesn't look that way in person. There are red nylon washers where the struts meet the motor housing and on the base where it is screwed into the bottom plate. Matches well with the red felt bottom.
The label looks a little bent in this photograph too, but really doesn't look that way in person.
The badge is in pretty good shape with no dings, but required paint touchup after gently polishing the surrounding brass. The backside is coated in black lacquer and then the whole thing has been clear coated.
This is how the badge looks today; however, ...
When magnified tiny dots of brass can be seen. Apparently the badge was not manufactured to be perfectly smooth. This is not seen under normal ocular inspection.
A really nice feature of this fan is the ability to adjust the amount of oscillation. This is accomplished by turning adjustment knob on the oscillator wheel.
The bare metal screws have been polished and clear coated; that also includes the alignment pins for the top of the oscillator housing. The metal surface was not cast at the factory to be perfectly smooth and so the finish isn't glossy smooth as a result.
The unattached oscillator arm has markings that read : D 53610.
Another view of the oscillator wheel.
Judging from the photograph you might be led to believe that some of the parts are brass, but they are not. What you are seeing is rust.
It takes quite a few rotary tool brushes to polish out rusty parts to make them look shiny.
The original finish was very strong and did not reveal any paint bubbles and only a few paint chips. The rust that is seen is the result of the paint chips and not the result of subsurface rusting creating paint voids. Because the original paint job was so strong it was sanded down and the rust spots you see were grinded outward to the point where no rust was evident. The crevices were filled in with filler primer and then sanded down. In this way the new paint job stands a great chance of staying intact without rust bubbling through over time.
Have looked at many fans from the original manufacturer and all of them have silver colored lettering. It looks as though they were painted by hand and have a curvature to them.
View of the switch lettering which has been touched up a little. It is believed that the higher the physical position of the number the faster the rotational speed of the fan.
A closer view of the switch lettering. It may look white, but is actually silver. Notice how the letters 'F' are ever so slightly different. Hand painted at the factory?
The blade is a little offset for demonstration purposes only. It actually pushes in a little closer to the motor and the set screw should be a little more flush to the surface when installed properly. The set screw is original to the fan. The other set screw is believed to be an access hole for priming the rotor shaft with oil.
The blades have been clear coated and look good, but look even better when they are not clear coated. Unfortunately, without the clear coat they won't look good for long without regular polishing, and in reality, not worth the trouble.
The individual blades have never been removed from the shaft and is not a recommended procedure. Balancing blades can be tricky and finding the correct rivets could be problematic. The blades here are well balanced.
Original bottom plate condition was very rusty and required quite a bit of grinding around the edges so that the new finish would not interfere with the retaining ring that holds the felt into place. New felt bought today is a little thicker and shortening the retaining ring by about 1/16 of an inch makes it a little easier to install the felt bottom. The original felt was green with a little olive color to it. New felt typically does not come in this color exactly.
The bottom felt matches well with the brass and copper accents.
Base interior looks a little rough, but has been smoothed out and painted
The speed regulating coil is very delicate and requires a gentle hand in order to reinsulate and clean up the connections. The weakness is where the coil leads enter the coil winding. Unless the coil is burn out, it can be fixed by unraveling the windings and reinsulating any short found.
This is what the switch-coil assembly looks like today. There are no shorts and the switch mechanism operates flawlessly. The felt was difficult to attach, but is very tight as it should be.
The coil sits on a base that is made out of some sort of rock like material. The leads going into the coil windings have been supported in such a way as to not have any weaknesses that would cause any lead to become weak or break off.
Also, there is a diagram for the electrical assembly which is a reproduction of the original. It looks very professional and no one will ever see it until one day 30 years from now ...
The stator is a tight squeeze, but both housings for the motor have been painted anyways.
The stator looks very clean and a very nice job was done reinsulating it. The interior was polished to inhibit future corrosion.
The headwires were soldered on and insulated in such a way as to not promote weakness in the leads.
The rotor body and shaft has also been polished.
The bearings that the rotor slides into are in great shape and show little wear.
The plug is heavier than it looks and is made out of Bakelite and has a strong formaldehyde aroma when rubbed with metal polish. Has a small rubber grommet inserted in such a way as to not let the cord come loose if pulled.
The plug also has a cardboard insert which has been rubber coated. As a result, it won't come loose like a plain carboard one would. The prongs have been polished for better electrical connectivity.
The cord is an 18 gauge rayon covered copper twisted pair much like the wiring form the 1920's. Rayon closely resembles silk cord that was used on more expensive appliances from that time period and tends not to collect dust. It is easier to clean than cotton cord.
All rubber grommets have been replaced with new ones and are more for decoration than support. Inside the motor and base housing the electric cords have been secured with zip ties to keep them from being pulled out.
Western Electric 16" Brass Blade & Steel Cage, Model 7854, Circa 1923
A collection of images from a finished restoration of a beautiful antique electric fan. Western Electric did not make electric fans, they purchased them from other manufacturers during various time periods and put their own badge and label on them. This particular unit is believed to be the same as the Robbins & Myers model 3854. A three speed oscillator that runs well on all three speeds and pushes a lot of air. Painted in black lacquer it closely resembles the original finish with the exception of some visual embellishments.
The flash from the camera reveals imperfections that can only been seen under magnification and under abnormal lighting conditions. You can zoom in on the images if you mouse over them. During autoplay zoom is disabled. Shrinking the browser window will shrink its contents possibly making it easier to view the gallery.
Valued in the range of $475 - $625.