GE Pancake fans are considered some of the most beautiful fans ever made. These late victorian era fans feature sturdy cast-iron construction, imposing proportions and ornate designs.
The 1904 model is the second year of models featuring the five-speed switch mechanism housed within the base. Prior versions had this feature on the back of the motor housing. By moving the switch to the base, GE made viewable the stunning bronze cast rotor hub, something that has been accentuated in this restoration through polishing and plating.
Other new features of the 1904 model include a semi-ribbed base, something carried out through midway into 1906 when all ornate flutings were hastily removed from the fan in general, a sign of the new century.
1912 Fidelity Oscillator
1911 GE Kidney
The 1911 GE Kidney fan was GE's second attempt at an oscillating fan. Due to its use of pot-metal (cast zinc), this fan was likely much less expensive to manufacture than GE's first oscillator. Unfortunately the use of this material combined with design decisions made this fan a very poor long-term survivor. Nearly any Kidney fan that is available today is either lacking the kidney gearbox or the gearbox is in very poor condition.
Despite its materials, a properly restored Kidney fan is a true pleasure to own. The six-blade variant shown here is quiet, reliable, and very simple to use. Simply switch the lever from "OUT" to "IN" and the oscillation action begins. Tilt is adjusted by pulling the spring loaded plunger arm on the right side of the fan and moving the fan to your desired position.
This particular fan was not an easy restoration and rarely is. It required a full motor re-wind as well as a gearbox rebuild. The results, however, are well worth the effort. This fan will last another 100 years easily.
1915 GE Three-Star
The 1915 GE Three-Star was the second introduction of the "AO" style of fan. Also known as a loop-handle. This fan included a fully cast iron construction, having eliminated the problematic pot-metal components from the previous four years (although the early version of the three-star did in fact have a pot metal oscillator wheel). Three adjustments were made simple by the ergonomic "star" adjustment knobs for oscillations on/off, pivot around the vertical axis, and oscillation range.
These small considerations make using a three-star oscillator an absolute pleasure in this modern age; it is also extremely quiet as a result of the six-blade design. One of the most sought after fans in the GE catalog, this fan is extraordinary in design and function.
1912 GE All Brass
The GE All Brass fan was introduced to the market in 1910. Interestingly, this fan was not marketed in bare brass finish. It was originally black-oxide treated, producing a satin black coating. This black-oxide or "blued" finish can be reproduced too.
1932 GE 8" Oscillator
Past the mid 1920's brass blades and brass cages became more or less absent from offerings in the market place. In came the steel era, accompanied by stamped steel base and motor housings instead of cast iron. While more complicated to manufacture, advancing technology made the stamping and drawing process more economical than their cast iron counterparts, and the prices for fans started to fall.
The 1932 GE 8" oscillator is an evolution of GE's first oscillating fan introduced in 1909. Despite 20 years of history between this fan and earlier oscillators, the mechanism and overall construction changed very little, making this 1932 fan a true beauty and extremely reliable. Decorated in deep forest green with gold pin stripes, this restoration is a joy to look at and use.
1909 Hawthorn Vane
Vane fans are a word used to describe wind-powered oscillating fans. Rather than using a mechanical linkage attached to the motor, these fans used the power of the wind generated by the fan to oscillate the fan. Despite their inherent complexity, these were actually the first type of oscillating fans developed by manufacturers.
Originally patented by Shedd in the early 20th century, vane fans lasted about 5-10 years before were replaced by more reliable mechanically oscillating fans, such as GE's side-winder oscillator, Westinghouse's Double-Lever and others.
1914 GE Small Motor Yoke
GE's Small Motor Yoke (SMY) fan is a brass and brass beauty. Read more here:
Polishing 100 year old brass is no easy task. It takes patience and lots of practice to achieve a perfect, scratch free mirror finish. In this article I will explain the process I use that I have found yields the best results.