Let's preface this post by saying that my opinion is that GE fans are the most desirable. Why? Well I have a lot of reasons.
First things first, they do NOT use that super annoying, terribly difficult to repair Emerson shaft-bearing system! I know I know, many reading this may absolutely scoff at such an outrageous statement. However, I stand by my opinion as a machinist with a degree and expertise in manufacturing engineering and product design, that Emerson's system is overly complicated, overly priced, and not as desirable as the more common dual bearing systems.
Many will point out that they've never had to repair an emerson bearing system. That's great! But in the event that you ever have to, you will almost definitely be out-of-luck unless you know an expert machinist that is willing to take on the troublesome task of making you a new shaft, pressing it into your motor housing and then truing your entire motor/rotor/stator around that. Want to freshen up your GE motor? Any beginning machinist can quickly machine two new bearings for you. Done.
So aside from GE's simple bearing system, what else do I love about them? Their elegant and understated design. It's hard to argue that GE pancakes were some of the most beautiful fans ever made, in fact I think we can just accept that as fact ;) But let's consider other models such as GE's BMY generation (the Big Motor Yoke fans). While Emerson was experimenting with fluted bases and Westinghouse with gigantic tank-like motors (commonly known as Tank Fans), GE had a simple but aesthetically significant design. Was it anything fancy? No. but it achieved a statement in a purposeful fashion.
Last reason why I love GE fans for this article, they didn't use cast iron blade hubs! Inevitably a fan blade assembly will go out-of-balance. This happens when someone pushes something into the rotating blade by accident and one of the wings bends. With a cast-iron hub (a la early Emerson), it's very challenging to repair. With all GE fans after 1903, all you have to do is bend it back.
So please tell me about what fans you like the best and why? In all seriousness, all of the fans we collect are beautiful and significant in their own right. Even though my parents never admitted it, I knew they had a favorite; who is yours?