Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Second Look

I bought this little fan a long time ago. I took it downstairs like I do all my fans for testing. This particular fan did not run. Boy I can tell you I was mad! Anyway, I bought this beast before I learned about AC DC motors and brushes. So I gave up and put it on the shelf. For a couple years I would just walk by and look at it and groan.

The fan is A Star/Fitzgerald 1200. It was manufactured in Torrington, CT.

After my Northwind experiences I learned a lot about AC DC motors. So the other day it occurred to me that maybe I could take a second look. So I did. I notice that I had no brush spring or cap on onside of the motor. Duh... I rummaged around in my shop and found a leftover spring that fit and a piece of metal which I bent to fit over the brush housing. I oiled it and applied power. AHHHH!!!! It really is an unequalled feeling. Success.

Moral: Sometimes when you get frustrated, just set it up on a shelf for a while and come back later. Time just has a way.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

At Long Last...

I have been after this fan for sometime, but the prices on ebay have been through the roof. You maybe saying, "Larry don't you already have a few of those?" Hold on a sec.

The price on ebay have been a little erratic lately. Some fans will go crazy others slip in under the radar. Like this one. This was a case of a seller not know what he had, or maybe he did. Anyway... The photo on ebay showed the oscillator (fuzzy). It was like looking at photos of UFO's. I was like, "is it? yeah, squeak for joy, I think it is." Now your asking what. True I do have 3 Northwind 450's, but not one like this....

That is a Ball Detent oscillator. Emerson Northwind Type 450A. The first 450 model.

The ups and downs. I could see in the photo that the head wire was blown. It happens on these. The seller did describe the item as nonworking so I was taking a chance that nothing else was wrong. This seller was not real prompt in returning email. They did however ship it quickly, which poses a question. Riddle me this...does a plastic sack and shredded paper constitute proper packaging materials. The answer is no. The cage was pretty warped. Fortunately no irreparable damage.

I stayed up pretty late last night working on this fan. Straightening the cage and blades, greasing the gears in the oscillator, oiling the shaft and oscillator, Oooo here's a tip you may have known that my Maintenance friend James told me about... sanding the edges of your carbon brushes back down to flat then clean the commutator with the white stick he gave me. Then I replaced the head wire with my signature green and yellow cloth. Moment of truth... Remember this is a 1917 universal motor... Well, I will just say I was impressed and scared at the same time. Impressed with my skills and scared by the haunting perfection with which this fan performed. The RPM's oooo the sound of those blades whirling at that speed.



Monday, April 09, 2007

Westinghouse Flashbacks

As most of you recall, I had a bout of serious frustration with a Westinghouse fan a while back. Well, I still have that fan on my workbench, but I would have to give the victory on that one to the nut jobs that worked at Westinghouse during that era. That stator was not intended to come out easily.

I have a list of antique stores that I try to go to often. Two are just off the interstate on the route to our favorite shopping and dining town. Usually I run in there and do quick once over and then split. These establishments are just next door to one another and are competitors. One is a little older than the other, but neither are more than five years old.

Right after the first one opened I went in and found a Westinghouse like the cursed beast that plagued me for month, except this one ran great. There were several fan including the one pictured in the upper left hand corner, another Westinghouse. This fan had brass blades, as you probably can tell. I passed this fan by on many of my visits to this store due to the fact that I didn't know if the blades were correct.

One day on a visit to this store I noticed that this fan was gone and I lamented that it had gone the way of so many antiques... schuffled from booth to booth as the owner tried to hard to make a quick buck...

A few weeks later I noticed that a new store had opened next door and stopped by to survey their goods. I found many less desirable fans mixed in amongst the other rusty items. Then there it was and I must admit my relief to see that the little fan that was missing was found again. Still doubting its originality, I passed on the fan once more.

Keep in mind that this has all been more than two years ago.

About a month ago we set off on our little ritualistic journey and we stopped into look for new prospects. That day, as I was headed out the door, the fella behind the counter asked me if there was anything particular I was looking for and I almost said nah, but I said yeah I have a question. "Is that old Westinghouse fan back there in working condition?" He replied, "Why yes it is, but let's check." We went to get the fan and brought it to the counter. He hooked it up and flicked the switch...Nothing. He checked the surge protector and it was on. He said, "Well it used to..." Finally after looking real frustrated he said,"will you give ten for it?" I told him I lived just down the road and I'd think about it.

Last Saturday my family and I decided to "make a run". I told the wife about this guy's offer and that I thought I would stop by and see if he would still have it. As I walked through the store I became increasingly concerned as I couldn't find the fan anywhere and was about to walk out when I decided to just inquire. The same guy was in behind the counter with a bunch of folks who were joining him in some fast food. I looked at him and said,. "you don't remember me but I was in here the other day..." He said, "oh yeah the fan..." I asked him if he knew what happened to that fan and I braced to hear the expected, "I chucked it..." Much to my surprise he said, "it's under the counter right there." I asked it he would still take ten and we had a deal.

I threw the fan in the van and went on our trip. Later that night I visited the Fan Cave and broke out my surgical instruments. (I have learned that seldom are good fans unfixable or at least that was my hope for this little 10 dollar piece) After removing the base I quickly surmised that a wire to the switch had simply come unsoldered. A little fresh solder and the fan was working again. It runs really smooth and puts out good air.

This fan made the long journey and I almost missed it several times. For ten bucks I don't even care if the blades are original. It also offers me some appeasement toward Westinghouses. Later y'all.