Thursday, November 24, 2005

GE Vortalex

If you want to see this fan, click on the My Fan Site link to the right and go to view my collection. I went to Paducah KY back in the summer with some friends and spent the night. While we were there, we went to some antique stores down on the riverfront. I found several fans, but nothing extravagant. I found this little fan for 20 dollars. I had wanted one for some time. I remember my Aunt Callie had one very similar to this one. I remember my Aunt Callie would always have wild cherry Bubble Yum bubble gum at church on Sunday morning. She gave me and my brother and sister each a silver dollar and a two dollar bill. I still have those. It has been years since she passed away, but I will never forget her. Back to the fan before I start to weep.

When I got it home, I plugged it up and turned it on. It only ran on the low speed. This burdened me somewhat, but since the base seemed to be riveted on, I didn't want to try to work on it until I understood more about riveting. Many fans later I discussed this little ge with a friend and we talked about the rivets that were keeping from repairing this little jewel. He told me that it wouldn't be a big deal to put new ones in. So with newfound courage to tear into it, I went home and started tinkering. I found that they weren't really rivets at all, but a strange kind of pin that splits at the end and clamps the base cover on.

With the base off, I set about removing the toggle switch and the speed coil. I cleaned them thoroughly with contact cleaner and plugged the fan in with the switch in the high position. It still wouldn't work. Cuss cuss. Then I seeing how the toggle switch worked I thought maybe there was some corrosion on the contacts that was really stubborn. I grabbed my screwdriver and started to scrape. Shortly thereafter the fan came to life on high speed. SCORE! I returned the base cover to the fan and put the pins in and I felt good again.

Failure to blog

I know that I have not posted in a while. Please forgive me. Know that I have not been idle in regard to fans. Here are some brief updates. I worked on my Vortalex and got the hi speed working again. I bought a red and black badge Emerson Junior oscillator. I have my eye on a couple new prospects. I am looking to acquire another parts fan to finish the 646.

Couple of requests. If you are part of my blogging audience, please leave comments. I think readers might enjoy your comments regarding these subjects also. Second request is, if you are a fan fan, mention to your friends of the fan persuasion about my site and blog. Give me some ideas on how I can further develop the site for your use.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Gotta Love That Junior

Well you might recall from a previous post a story of when the wife and I went antiquing on a Saturday in a town about 30 miles from here. I gave you the laundry list of fans that found their way into my line of sight. One fan I mentioned was an Emerson Jr. It had been damaged severely.

Here is the reason I am bringing this up... I just couldn't get that fan out of my mind. I kept thinking about how I could have brought this fan home and fixed it and made it part of my collection. (Else it probably would have got a one way ticket to dumpster city.) That coupled with the desire I have always had for one of these red and black badged critters, I just had to have it.

It just so happens that I have a friend that works across the street from the shop where that little fan was. I broke down and asked him to get it for me next time he had to go to work. He agreed to do it. I waited patiently for an entire week for that little Jr to make it home. Friday came and I decided to give the guy a call. He said, "You didn't tell me to get it for sure..." I was thinking, "Yes I did." Oh well, I said, "Consider yourself authorized to purchase it." I had to wait another painful week. Finally the day came. Anticipation had me by the short hairs. I had to call. Just so happens my buddy took off early that day. He had stopped by Hobby Lobby. He said, "I got the fan." I said, "Yes!" He said, "Wagner, right?" I said, "$#%@ no!" After I explained his error, he told me that it might be difficult to switch, because dealers don't like to give refunds. He told me that he would try anyway. I waited what seemed like forever, before finally the phone rang and I answered to hear my squirrelly friend say, "score!" He said that it was in the same booth and was the same price so the guy didn't have a problem switching.

Later on I met up with him to give him some cash in trade for my prize. I threw it in the vehicle and drove home in a dash. That evening I brought the ugly duckling into my cave (workshop). I remove the cage and began to message it back to the shape it was meant to have. I got a pair of channel locks and gingerly reshaped the blades. Before I knew it, she was as straight as and arrow. A little oil and it was running great. Sweet!!!! Welcome Home.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Charlie Brown said it best...

ARGGGHHH!!!!! I knew I shouldn't have started this crazy fan. It has been nothing but trouble. I am just gonna leave it alone for the time being.

Anyway. I have never had this much difficulty wiring a fan. I have sought help from several experts and I am thankful for all their advice and encouragement. I have tested everything I can think of as well as I know how. Yet the darned thing still wont start without a spin. Ironically this is the best painting I have ever done.

I got a personal invitation to an AFCA event the other day and I want to go so bad. I know if I take this cursed beast, they'll lay holy hands of fan restoration talent upon it and shed some educational light on my very frustrated mind. Again the irony, I want to go, but my family has other plans for me. God forbid I get to do something without a guilt-trip for once.

I know what you're thinking, quit whining and be patient. Good advice! I thinks that's what I will do.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Goodbye Junior

Most of my friends know that I am a fan nut, so last week one of my friends at work brought me a newspaper clipping advertising an estate auction. The estate belonged to one Charles (Junior) Dinkens. The ad said Lots of Fans. Yes!!! I made plans with another friend to attend. So Saturday, my friend and I headed to a rural area about 50 minutes from Sikeston to attend this estate auction. We arrived around 10 minutes before the auctions started. I set out to find the fans. I combed through trailers of junk, tables of glass figurines, and piles of junky furniture before I saw them, I whole stack of box fans. I ran over and saw probably 5 plastic bladed box fans. There was a metal bladed 20 box fan made by Kenmore and a larger metal bladed Superelectric window fan. I was interested in the two of these fans. We got our number from the clerk and patiently waited for the auction to begin. Then an overweight man in a cowboy hat grabbed the mic and proceeded to rock the place. It became apparent that these folks were in no hurry. We stayed for over an hour waiting, and my friend bought several items that caught his eye. I however was tired of standing there smelling mold and breathing the secondhand smoke from everyone. We left fanless, which is okay, I chalk it up to an experience and my respects to Mr Junior Dinkens.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Online Collection Updated

After a bout with my own stupid mind, I figured out what I was doing wrong. I was uploading my files to a subfolder instead of the root/index. Duh... Anyway, I have finished updating my collection online. Please feel free to browse and comment via email or comments under this article on the blog. Registration is not necessary. I utilized a few new options on the web editing software to make the info pop up win you mouse over a thumbnail. I have a couple more fans not posted on there. It doesn't look like much when their all together like that. Yikes, I just realized my crown jewel isn't even on there. I will have to get right to that. Again, let me know what you think. Next on my agenda is a section to view old ads and info. If you have any suggestions for this site let me know. I am thinking about adding a schedule for topic discussion where different resto pros could host question and answer sessions. Let me know if that interests you. Use the comments below for suggestions.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A New Fan Friend

I sat down to eat my supper last evening and the phone began to ring. My wife answers as always, its usually for her anyway, on the other end was one of my good friends who is a general contractor and goes to church where I do. I heard little bits of the conversation over the television and deduced that we would soon have a visitor, not knowing yet who it was. My wife got off the phone and said, "Cole is coming by. He has something to show you." I knew it must be fans, but I didn't want to sound like a nut so I played ignorant.
A few minutes later, just as expected he pulls in our driveway. He comes to the door and my wife goes to greet him, inviting him in. He makes his way into the living room, and says, "come on outside." I eagerly jump to my feet desiring to know what type of fan he has. Once out at his truck he displays a Sear & Roebuck fan and an Emerson 6250 D. He tells me that some old fella he was doing some work for gave them to him and told him they did not work. We talked about them for a little bit and he asked me what I thought they were worth, and I explained my philosophy on the value of fans all the way from ebay to your personal attachment. He made clear his intention of keeping them.
To conclude, I am thrilled that he has a total of three fans now, and seems genuinely enthused with them. Welcome to the hobby my friend. I look forward to many conversations that we can have regarding it.

Monday, October 03, 2005


I finally got the correct parts fan on the way. The 646 resto's completion is in sight. I must however mention my unexpected appreciation of the 79648 AP-G. My daughter and I worked on it this weekend and cleaned it up and refelted the base. We cleaned some of the rust off the cage using SOS pads, and although it could use some more work, it really is a wonderful fan. I ran it last night and it operates with precision and force. I really like the black wrinkle finish too. I think I will have to post a picture of it later.

Friday, September 30, 2005

New Paint

I took the advice of friend and checked into a brand of paint called Duplicolor. I found some at our local Autozone. I tried it last night. I am very pleased. It seems to apply easily and has a deep reflective quality. I am anticipating results on this project. I also got some info on the capacitor I will need for the fan. I am looking forward to getting this thing wired up and running. Now all I need is that worm gear and shaft.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Oh well

I got my new Emerson in yesterday and took the oscillator housing off. I notice right away that it was not going to provide the parts needed for my 646. We'll that just adds another fan to the collection. I will find a junker one of these days. Keep me in mind if you come across one.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


I finally got an Emerson for parts. Kind of interesting too, that I won a 79648 AG-P. It is nearly the same model fan that my 77646 was setting next to when I got it originally. The funny part is that this fan runs, according to the seller, and I am gonna dismantel it. Stranger things have happened. It could be here as early as tomorrow. No rush though since I have so much to do on the paint and so forth. That's all for now.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Fan Shopping

I went "junkin" today. I had a really good time. I love going to downtown antique stores, not knowing just what they'll hold. I go through them pretty quick because I think the smell of some makes me somewhat sick. I prowled today into the basement of a neat little antique mall. I found a nice little Jr. It was kinda cheap, but not cheap enough considering it looked like it had fallen on its face and smashed the blades backward. I could have fixed it but I wasn't ready to spend that kind of money for damaged goods. There was a few others that found their way into my path, but nothing very rare. Lets see, there was a Signal, an Emerson 2150, a 77646 (marked not for sale, oh the irony!), two larger overpriced Emersons from the 50's, varying models of GE's of the stamped sheet metal variety, a Coronado, an extremely overpriced 8 inch Emerson that I have eyeballed before. Finally, an odd little story, several weeks ago I journeyed to a small town near here to visit some antique shoppes that I hadn't been to in a while. When I was there I found a couple fans I was interested in. One was a 16in BB Century oscillator. My mean wife tried to hide it from me. I was marked reasonably in price then I noticed that it said, "motor just hums". No big... I have had them before. Anyway, due to the little spat with the dearest, I did not acquire the fan that day. Since that day I have thought about that fan and considered driving to pick it up. Well, today was interesting because the second shop we hit had several fans in it, like a westinghouse with BB but they didn't look like they belonged. It was too expensive anyway, but just before I exited this fine establishment, I saw it, the same Century that had haunted my mind all these weeks. Someone bought it and moved it to their display in another store. Same little note "motor just hums". Today, I passed on everthing I saw and got beat on an auction. Where's my pills!!


Friday, September 23, 2005

Fear of the Bid

As many of you know, Ebay is a large source of fans. I myself enjoy, just watching what goes through. Every once in a while there will come a fan that I must have. I determine my price and go for it. I usually have it restored in my mind before it is won. Fast forward>>>Here I am I won the bid. I am overcome with joy. Then just as fast as I got happy, I am riddled with fear. "How am I gonna break it to my wife?" "What is she gonna say?" I want her to be excited for me, or better yet that we have added another fan to our collection. She'll just say, "How many fans do you need?" She is right. I don't need any. I am starting to realize that it isn't about how many, but that part of the hobby is going after them. They are each a trophy. One that tells it's own story in my mind. They through restoration tell another story of endurance and a brush with the dumpster. There are all levels and reasoning for each collector. Some of you guys are wealthy and retired. That would be a good place to be for a fan collector. Some obsess about quantity. Some like me can't afford pancakes, gyros, and hurricanes. We just drewl over pictures of them, and settle for descent 20's and 30's models that are pretty beat up. Whatever stage your in, love the hobby, help others when your can, and enjoy the fellowship. Let's face it, some don't understand, but they don't know what their missing.

Peace out!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A dream

Last night I dreamt about fans... I think that is a first. There is a factory here in Sikeston that closed down not long ago, Essex wire. I dreamt that they had an auction to get rid of junk, and I was there looking for fans, but could only find late model junk. Then, all of a sudden, I am in an old house, I believe that the owners were elderly and had passed away. Their children were selling things. I for some reason had given up on what they were displaying and was snooping around and found a really nice 6 blade Emerson in a back closet. Oh the rest is too horrible to tell, so I will spare you.

Anyway, I think I am getting out of control. My wife seems to think that I have an obsessive nature. I do talk a lot about fans. I did start a blog about them. Maybe it's time to find that little bit of self control that I have stashed away and utilize it. Just for a little while anyway.

For now, I will keep fanning the blog, or blogging the fans... Later ya'll,

Crazy Larry

Monday, September 19, 2005

Emerson 77646 AS

Ahhh... My good old Emerson. Not that collectible, but still very special to me. This was the first fan in my official collection. I got it from my mother when she owned an antique store in Oak Grove, AR. (just north of Paragould) I went in there all the time, because my girlfriend was the secretary. One day I was in there just milling around as usual, and I saw two Emersons. One was a 79648 and then there was this one. It just screamed, "take me home!". Well, they had it priced $27.50, but my mother who always encouraged my hobby, told me I could have it. As I recall my Stepfather, was real upset about that. He would ask from time to time, when I was going to pay him for that fan. Oh well, they're divorced now. Let's see, that was probably ten years ago now. I have lugged this thing from place to place over these years and never did anything with it. Well I started on it this weekend. I took it apart and realized that it is missing the shaft and worm gear for the oscillator. So I am looking for those. Also I am trying to figure out the proper paint to use on this fan. I know that it looks kind of brownish, but also a little metallic. I am open to any suggestions. This fan will mean a lot when it is finished. My girlfriend, mentioned before, is now my wife of nearly ten years. It was like I said a gift from my mother, and my late father worked at Emerson Electric all his life. So, I can construe my tie to this fan in many ways. Stay tuned my fan restoration fans for more info as we go.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Century Restore Completed

Well, I finally got it done. I have to admit, I was starting to worry. Anyway, it turned out fairly nice. I know things I wish I would have done differently, but they are minor. I utilized some of the new cord I bought here in town on this fan. I am pleased. This is the first time I used anything except black cord from Hudsons. I also used a repro plug that I bought from Lowes. I really like these plugs. The have that antique look, but have modern safety built in. JB Weld contributed to this fan's restoration. I learned to consider whether a fan is cast or steel. I will think long and hard before starting another restore of a cast fan. Oh yeah!!! That is my daughter giving the fan bunny ears. Isn't that funny...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Understanding Weirdness

Many people ask me, why fans... One of my daughter's friends even looked me in the eye and said, "that's retarded!" Okay the way I see it... Yes it is a little strange, but I did not choose this hobby, it chose me. When you are a child and you put down a toy to spin the blades on fan, or you're playing in a barn with friends and you're stopped in your tracks because you've discovered a dust covered fan. Then you know it is natural. I worked on two box fans that my Aunt Nellie gave me. I cleaned repainted and rewired them. I did this at age 10. I remember my Grandpa Hancock had a fan called a Mathes. It had a wooded box. I remember that even though I was eight when he died. My Aunt Callie had a GE Vortalex. I didn't know what they were called then, but I remember those blades ever so vividly. My Grandpa Toler would give me refrigeration fans and motors out of old soda boxes that had gone south. These were some of my most treasured toys. I am much older now and there is a group of folks called the AFCA (The American Fan Collectors Association). I didn't discover them until four or five years ago. These folks are for the most part good folks, I only know a few, and they have helped me learn things to enhance my love for the hobby. As I have grown, I have decided to embrace my fascination as a hobby. I have learned to relish the history behind them. I have met one other friend that shares the love as I do, and I cherish that friendship very dearly. If you’re reading this. Thanks for listening.

Friday, September 02, 2005

R&M 3804 6-blade

This is a particularly interesting story. I bought this fan off ebay from a fellow in MS. I had always wanted a 6 blade fan. I spotted this one and decided to go for it. It was already climbing in cost. I had done some computer work so I figured that I had some extra cash and thought it would be okay to go after it. We'll the final day to the bid came and I found myself at home during lunch hovering over my computer. I watched the battle for dominance increase and closing time neared. I became nervous, because I had determined that life simply would not continue if I were not victorious. So I ended up placeing a max bid of 100 dollars. I ended up with this fan for 88 plus shipping. To shorten the story somewhat... My wife was a little upset at the news that I had spent that much money on a fan. She doesn't understand, few do. The funny part is that when I got the fan the seller had improperly packaged the fan, and it was damaged. Parts were bent and I worried that it was irrepairable. I immediately contacted the seller and he told me to contact UPS. I did and they were very helpful. They ultimately refunded me the cost of the fan. I, after many hours, restored the fan to it's current condition. Excuse the poor photography, brass does not photograph well when flashed. I am going to load some photos of the resto process.
First, is the fan torn down and in rough paint coats. I have learned that for the best results, one must coat sand and recoat several times. It is a tough thing for an impatient person such as myself.
Second is a photo of the stator. I usually dread this part and I don't know why. Perhaps it is because it is so tedious. If you break those leads off, you are screwed, unless you can rewind stators... When you restore a stator, you first have to deagrease it and get the 100 years of dust and gunk out. I use an electrical degreaser that evaporates quickly and is expensive. It usually amounts to one can per stator. Once the stator dries the windings must be resealed. I use a red spray to seal them. I really like the contrast of red through the black vent holes of the motor housing (see finished photo). This fan turned out real nice. I still turn it on from time to time to watch it go.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Golden Jubilee

I bought this fan on ebay also. The picture showed a fan with painted white blades. I had a feeling that it was a Golden Jubilee based off the poor quality picture alone. I got it in and was glad that it was in fact a GB. For those of you who don't know what the significance is, this is a commemorative edition fan for Emerson Electric. Anyway, I left it painted for some time and went on to other projects. Then one day I decided to take the blade off and strip that hidious white paint off. I applied a chemical striper and removed the paint easily. I took some rouge and buffed the blades with my grinder. After that a little brasso and elbow grease. The finished product a very nice and shiny blade. This is one of my favorite fans.

Century S2A-9 Restoration

This is my current restoration project fan. I bought it off of ebay from a guy in Jackson, MO. I bought it cause I figured I could go get it and save any shipping. Turns out the guy traveled alot with his job and so he was willing to drop it by my office. Great deal for the money. The fan is a Century 9 inch oscillator. There was lots of dirt caked in this sucker and and it didn't work. I cleaned it and oiled it real good and then it came to life. The housing on the oscillator was made of "pot-metal" a brittle metal not meant to last. It was broken and marred. I used a little jbweld and some artistic nature and rebuilt the housing and I have a friend who is machineing and new cap for the housing. I cleaned it stripped the old paint and the thing is currently in primer. I went to lowes the other night with my kids to buy some stuff for the fan and they were out of spray black laquer. I did get some grommets though. I am taking my time with this one. I hope it comes out good. I will put some pics on soon to let you see how it is going.

Welcome to my Fan Blog

I wanted to start this blog for two reasons. First, my brother in law has one and I think it is very interesting. Second, I wanted to provide a place for my fellow fan atics to converge and talk shop. Please feel free to visit and comment. I wil try to post updates on restorations as I go. Any advice will be appreciated.