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Century brass blade  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2018 12:36 am
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John Beard
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Found this coming up for bid at a local auction. Everything that I know about this fan is what they are showing in the picture. Any suggestions on a max bid?



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 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2018 12:55 am
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George Durbin
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Pot metal rear housing... very fragile...

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 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2018 03:07 am
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Steve Stephens
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Kind of risky and problematic buying the Century fans that used a lot of pot metal, sometimes including the motor housing.   They can self destruct.  Now, the older 5 speed cast iron models are the ones to have and did not use pot metal.   Remember, 5 speeds, not 3 speeds and you will be looking at a good Century.
Good looking fan from the front !!



Showing the aged and cracking pot metal.   Not much you can do about it and it won't heal itself.


 
Wish I could offer you encouragement.   Some pot metal Centurys are not cracked but how long will they last?




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 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2018 05:55 am
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Tom Morel
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These fans are well designed electrically, but physically are weak. I've had several good ones over the years and enjoyed them all, especially a minty 12". I agree with Steve, the skeletals are great fans and love mine.

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 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2018 10:11 am
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Lane Shirey
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Hi John, agree with what has already been said, but will add that the generation of 5 speeds just after the skeletal are just as good, but just not as fancy. 

I'd pass on the auction fan 

Last edited on Thu Apr 5th, 2018 10:12 am by Lane Shirey

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 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2018 11:30 am
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John Beard
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As more seasoned collectors, in your opinion what is a reasonable cutoff point for bidding?

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 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2018 11:32 am
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John Beard
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Lane Shirey wrote: Hi John, agree with what has already been said, but will add that the generation of 5 speeds just after the skeletal are just as good, but just not as fancy. 

I'd pass on the auction fan 

I’m going to place a bid. Even if the fan as a whole is unsalvageable, it may be good for parts should I run across one that is worth some effort. 

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 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2018 07:18 pm
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Steve Stephens
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John Beard wrote: I’m going to place a bid. Even if the fan as a whole is unsalvageable, it may be good for parts should I run across one that is worth some effort. 
If you have room to store parts and want a collection of parts or parts fan that's fine.  Most want to end up with a collection of good or better condition of fans that are well made and run or can be made to run well.   Or some like the challenge of a hard to do restoration.  If you are newer at fan collecting you will end up with many good fans in a few years and may look back and say "why the heck did I buy that piece of junk?"
I'd pass and spend my time and money looking for a good fan.

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 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2018 09:32 pm
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Tom Morel
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Steve Stephens wrote: John Beard wrote: I’m going to place a bid. Even if the fan as a whole is unsalvageable, it may be good for parts should I run across one that is worth some effort. 
If you have room to store parts and want a collection of parts or parts fan that's fine.  Most want to end up with a collection of good or better condition of fans that are well made and run or can be made to run well.   Or some like the challenge of a hard to do restoration.  If you are newer at fan collecting you will end up with many good fans in a few years and may look back and say "why the heck did I buy that piece of junk?"
I'd pass and spend my time and money looking for a good fan.

This is very true. I did the same thing John with other fans and now look around and see some junkers among the brass and brass, all crammed together. Best not to fall into that pit and it's usually cheaper just to buy good original fans. Whatever you do, enjoy the fans.

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 Posted: Fri Apr 6th, 2018 01:57 am
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John Beard
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One of the reasons that I value the AFCA is the amount of knowledge that members are willing to share. I’ve learned some lessons because of some bad purchases. Anymore, I don’t gamble with the great majority of what I do buy. Every now and then I still get a feeling on a fan that is probably not worth my time. The thing is that rolling the dice on one once in a while adds a little bit of a risk vs reward fun element. If I can snag it for a super low price I won’t have to regret passing on it down the line. Thank you to everybody for all of the advice. I’m going to roll the dice and see if I get lucky.

Last edited on Fri Apr 6th, 2018 01:59 am by John Beard

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 Posted: Fri Apr 6th, 2018 02:00 am
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George Durbin
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We have all made those buys in the past... It is a learning process and over time your tastes will change many times...
Geo...

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 Posted: Fri Apr 6th, 2018 03:12 am
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Jamie Williams
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John,

Look just to the right of the cage ring between 5 & 6 o'clock. See the brass crimps on the rings? That's the tell-tell that the cage is brass. No doubt, there are a metric crap-tonne of 9 & 10 inch Centuries for sale. Very few sport brass cages. A nice one of these will go for $300+. The cage should probably fetch $100 so if I were to give advice, I'd say this- Don't bet the farm, but don't let it sell for less than $100 either.

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 Posted: Fri Apr 6th, 2018 03:25 am
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John Beard
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I have fans that carry some decent value. I also have some that serious collectors would tell me to never buy. It boils down to, if I like it and the price is right, I buy it. I’m having a good time and I’m not breaking the bank.

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 Posted: Fri Apr 6th, 2018 03:23 pm
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Steve Stephens
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Jamie Williams wrote: Look just to the right of the cage ring between 5 & 6 o'clock. See the brass crimps on the rings? That's the tell-tell that the cage is brass.There is no indication from the color of the cage wire that it is made of brass.  That fan was made past the time of the brass cage Centurys and almost has to have a steel cage as have all of the pot metal Centurys I have seen.  These steel cages were made using the wrapped wire method and not welded so a cage wire connector would be used.   The connector on my 5 speed enclosed motor Century is missing but the cage is wrapped steel and the rear ring is disconnected where there should be a crimped connector.

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 Posted: Fri Apr 6th, 2018 08:25 pm
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Alec Burns
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Jamie Williams wrote: John,

Look just to the right of the cage ring between 5 & 6 o'clock. See the brass crimps on the rings? That's the tell-tell that the cage is brass. No doubt, there are a metric crap-tonne of 9 & 10 inch Centuries for sale. Very few sport brass cages. A nice one of these will go for $300+. The cage should probably fetch $100 so if I were to give advice, I'd say this- Don't bet the farm, but don't let it sell for less than $100 either.

I've got a steel-caged AOU that has brass crimps on the cage ring. I think its more than likely a steel cage with brass crimps.

As for value, I bought a similar 10" Stationary for $60 when I first started out. Took it home, and about 1/4 of the motor housing crumpled off as soon as I touched it. They're cool looking fans, but I wouldn't want to be worried about it falling to pieces every time I picked it up or moved it. I recently passed on a later 12" Century at $35 for the same reason. I personally, if the fan is in great shape, wouldn't pay more than $75. If it is in any less condition, I wouldn't pay more than $25. I think if you were able to fully restore it, granted expect to spend tens of hours working on it, it could get $175-$200 on here, maybe $300-350 to the public with the money. Good luck. It is definitely worth it if you can get it for real cheap!

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 Posted: Sat Apr 7th, 2018 03:05 am
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Jamie Williams
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I've owned plenty of crimped steel cage fans. They are probably the standard on some fan models.

I've owned 41 (I think) 9" or 10" Centuries. That's all I collected when I started. Every small Century I have personally owned has either been welded steel or crimped brass. And I haven't seen any examples of brazed brass Century cages or crimped steel ones.

That certainly doesn't mean they don't exist. I have just never seen any evidence of one.

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 Posted: Sat Apr 7th, 2018 03:17 am
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Jamie Williams
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Alec,
You couldn't dream up an AOU cage combination that I would think was wrong- they made brass, steel, rear brass front steel rings, rear steel front brass rings, crimped, welded, etc.  And they made them for so long it spanned decades.

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 Posted: Sat Apr 7th, 2018 04:52 am
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Alec Burns
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Jamie Williams wrote: Alec,
You couldn't dream up an AOU cage combination that I would think was wrong- they made brass, steel, rear brass front steel rings, rear steel front brass rings, crimped, welded, etc.  And they made them for so long it spanned decades.
That is true. I need more Century's and GE's to know exactly.

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 Posted: Sat Apr 7th, 2018 02:31 pm
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John Beard
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If I end up bringing this thing home, I will post pictures and maybe we can see what is what as far as the cage is concerned.

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 Posted: Sat Jun 9th, 2018 01:04 am
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John Beard
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I decided to go ahead and pull the trigger on this Century 103 despite the advice of the folks out there that advised me otherwise. I’m probably in for a mess. I just could not resist the challenge. At least I have a good idea of what I am in for materials wise. I didn’t pay much, and it won’t be a heart breaker if it does crumble in my hands. I just want to give this thing a shot at a new life. Its date of manufacture is December 23, 1914. I am a sucker for anything that has survived over one hundred years to make it to my workbench. Risk a little to lose a little. Risk a lot to save a lot. There isn’t much to lose but time. I’ve got that. 








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 Posted: Sat Jun 9th, 2018 01:55 am
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Tom Morel
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Date of manufacture will be in the 1920's. In 1914, the skeletal was being manufactured.

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 Posted: Sat Jun 9th, 2018 03:14 am
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John Beard
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ahhhh yes... “patented 1914”

Last edited on Sat Jun 9th, 2018 03:37 pm by John Beard

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 Posted: Sat Jun 9th, 2018 03:30 pm
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Geoff Dunaway
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  Be sure to remember if you decide to tear that fan down ,that the motor handle is screwed thru the pot metal into the laminations of the motor. Also , the motor tag is nailed thru the pot metal into the laminations of the motor. You got to get the motor handle & ID tag off the top of the motor before anything will come apart in one piece. At least the back of the housing is in good shape.  Best of luck with this project.

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 Posted: Sat Jun 9th, 2018 03:36 pm
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John Beard
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Thank you for the heads up. I’d have never known that. I always rely on the experience of the seasoned collectors. I don’t always follow advice when purchasing hahahahaha. But I still value all input. With that said, what is the best way to get the motor tag off?

Last edited on Sat Jun 9th, 2018 03:40 pm by John Beard

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 Posted: Sun Jun 10th, 2018 04:56 am
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Jamie Williams
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Hey John,

As I mentioned previously, I've bought and sold a lot of these. Primarily because I had to buy a bunch of broken ones which were readily available, piece them together, and sell them in order to fund my fan habit when I started. I still have many parts, let me know if you need anything. Hopefully you don't.

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 Posted: Sun Jun 10th, 2018 05:26 pm
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John Beard
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Jamie Williams wrote: Hey John,

As I mentioned previously, I've bought and sold a lot of these. Primarily because I had to buy a bunch of broken ones which were readily available, piece them together, and sell them in order to fund my fan habit when I started. I still have many parts, let me know if you need anything. Hopefully you don't.

Jamie... much appreciated! I have a Peerless that I’m about to start. From what everybody has told me, I’m going to want to feel good about my skills going into this one :D. I plan on documenting the project as I go. I’m pretty excited to get to it. I love a good challenge (even if it is a less than desirable fan). The monetary value of my collection doesn’t mean a thing to me. I collect because I love history and the electric fan is one of the greatest, most diverse and significant inventions in the history of ALL technology. The battle between AC vs DC/Tesla vs Edison is so obvious when simply looking at an electric fan. 
With all of that said, can you provide me with any information on this Century 311? I can’t find a whole lot of information. It is a nice little desk fan, runs like a top and has an amazing spin down time. 



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 Posted: Wed Jun 13th, 2018 03:55 am
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Jamie Williams
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John,

I like the way you think! And I became curious about fans for many of the same reasons.

Unfortunately, I can't offer much on the 311. I'm sorry about that and should be able to help more on the earlier fans. This fan is just much later than the ones I am familiar with.

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