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 Posted: Mon Apr 4th, 2016 05:27 pm
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Andrew Scheip
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Hello, I am a curatorial assistant at a medium sized museum and we are trying to identify this particular fan. I will go ahead and say I am novice when it comes to antique fans so I apologize in advance for any misused terms or silly questions. 
Hopefully the picture comes out in the post but there is some other information on a metal plaque that is almost indistinguishable. What I was able to glean from it was: A/C Fan motor                  Type A                  Form ____          Volt 108/115
Cycles 60                              No. 80705            Spec 17258

Pat’d May 17: 87               May 9: 89             General Electric Co. 
The fan had an old exhibit card that stated the fan was from post 1900, but the plaque clearly says (I am assuming) patented on May 17, 1886 or May 9, 1889. Any further information regarding this fan would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. 

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 Posted: Mon Apr 4th, 2016 05:41 pm
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Andrew Scheip
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Here is another shot 

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 Posted: Mon Apr 4th, 2016 05:55 pm
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Lane Shirey
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Hello and welcome to the forum! To my best guess, what you have there is a 1902 or 1903 GE fan that is referred to as a "pancake motor" due to the shape of the motor. The cage appears to be correct, though is missing the center badge. The blades however are from a later fan. The wings on pancake blades are more squared off on the outer edges and resemble a pizza slice. In the past, when the blades were damaged by a fall, the local repair shop would often order a newer replacement blade. This practice was also done with cages as many with the pierced back ring were broken and replaced with a newer style one. 

Patents were issued several years before production and generally the patent dates predate the manufacture dates. 

We have several pancake experts here on the forum, and hopefully they will chime in and more accurately give you their assessment. There are also folks here that repair cages and do restorations if that is a desire of your museum. They are well built, great running fans.

Best of luck, 

Lane

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 Posted: Mon Apr 4th, 2016 06:32 pm
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Steve Stephens
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It is a very nice "stick" 16" pancake from 1901 or 1902.  The way to tell the year is that the 1902 has a small brass OFF tag below or above the switch knob.  This is my 1902 model the same as yours.   Wonderful but powerful and somewhat noisy workhorses.  The 1901 will be two speeds and the 1902 will be 5 speeds starting on the high speed.  The patent dates are just that and have little bearing on when an item was made.  Your GE contains details of those patents in its construction.

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 Posted: Mon Apr 4th, 2016 06:33 pm
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Steve Stephens
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Next two photos are of the fan before I got it and cleaned it up.  I like my fans to keep their old patina but not be dirty.
The cage wires on yours have broken or separated from the back ring, something that is more common than we want and can be repaired by several people in our club.  One member also makes castings of the early large cage badge that your fan is missing.  Ted Kaczor I think is who makes that and he repairs cages and makes new ones just like the originals.

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Last edited on Mon Apr 4th, 2016 06:36 pm by Steve Stephens

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 Posted: Mon Apr 4th, 2016 06:33 pm
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Steve Stephens
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.

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 Posted: Mon Apr 4th, 2016 06:38 pm
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Andrew Scheip
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Thank you so much for the information, this will certainly help us create a more accurate interpretation of one of our items.

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 Posted: Mon Apr 4th, 2016 06:38 pm
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Steve Stephens
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Here is the OFF tag I mentioned on the 1902 models.  I would encourage you to try to preserve the patina on your fan and do a good conservation instead of restoration.  Old items are only original once.

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OFF tag891e.JPG

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 Posted: Mon Apr 4th, 2016 06:40 pm
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Steve Stephens
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Here is Ted Kaczor's batch of new large GE badges along with an original one.

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new and old badges100_2760.jpg

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 Posted: Mon Apr 4th, 2016 06:43 pm
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Steve Stephens
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Here is what your fan should have under the base.  If the switch or other parts are missing sometimes you can get good reproduction parts.  The motor tags are stamped lightly and can be hard to read.  Polishing only makes the reading worse if not carefully done.

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 Posted: Mon Apr 4th, 2016 06:45 pm
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Andrew Scheip
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Yes, Steve, that is exactly what the bottom looks like. I assumed the power chord on mine was unoriginal because the wire below looks to be insulated with fabric while the exterior chord has rubber insulation.

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 Posted: Mon Apr 4th, 2016 07:54 pm
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Steve Stephens
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It is quite rare for a fan to retain its original power cord over more than half a century.  Fans until after about 1915 did not have the common two prong plug we use today but had an attachment plug that screwed into a light bulb socket.    What are the plans for your museum's fan?  For me these two year only solid frame GEs are the very best of the 16" pancakes.  And the only model that did not have live screw terminals on the back to get shocked by.

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 Posted: Mon Dec 2nd, 2019 10:21 pm
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Richard Daugird
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Sorry to bring up an old post, but how did power get to the motor?

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 Posted: Tue Dec 3rd, 2019 03:47 am
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Steve Stephens
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Richard Daugird wrote: Sorry to bring up an old post, but how did power get to the motor?From the switch and wiring under the base a headier goes up through the inside of the base to the motor.  This model I call a "safety pancake" because there are no live electrical terminals on the rear of the motor to shock you.

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