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GE Form AB, AC, AD Oscillators  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Mon Sep 11th, 2017 09:02 pm
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Jim Humphrey
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Just one of those things that nag at me when I can't sleep at night or don't have anything better to think about.  Has anyone noticed the relative frequency that GE Forms AB, AC, and AD (1922/23/24) 12" brass bell oscillators show up on eBay and at Fan Fairs and in the wild?  It seems to me that AB is about 10%, AC I haven't seen, and AD is the rest.  I have a hard time believing it was original production numbers by year, so maybe its just my imagination?
Jim

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 Posted: Mon Sep 11th, 2017 09:18 pm
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Steve Stephens
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I have one Form AC from 1923, 12" and a 16" Form AC AOU so two for two on Form AC.   I have not watched the Form letters closely to see the numbers of each that show up.

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 Posted: Mon Sep 11th, 2017 10:26 pm
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Jim Humphrey
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Steve,
Yeah, I probably spend too much time noticing or imagining that I notice oddities on eBay auctions, and the only reason I even started watching the AB/AC/AD thing was that I've got an un-restored AB that's so smooth and quiet I won't ever sell it.  Even thought about getting another, and that's when I started noticing a herd of ADs.  Now watch, there won't be another AD on eBay for years because I brought this up!

Jim

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 Posted: Fri Mar 23rd, 2018 03:31 pm
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Jim Humphrey
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OK, just thought I'd resurrect this thread from a while back.  Since Sep 2017 I've been watching eBay and to some extent I've searched this website for GE 75423 and 75425 12" and 16" brass bell oscillators from 1922 - 1924, Forms AB, AC, and AD.  On eBay I only recorded the auctions where I could clearly see the Forms in pictures that accompanied the auctions.  I don't think I have any duplicates in the auctions, but some fans have appeared at least twice, like if an auction ran out and didn't sell and the fan was relisted.  On those I only counted the fan once.  So, the results are as follows and make me think that there was something going on with GE during the 1922 - 1924 period for at least these particular fans.

Form AB - 17 fans

Form AC - 2 fans

Form AD - 16 fans


Steve Stephens had in his possession 1 of the 2 Form ACs, a 16".  I've corresponded with Steve Rockwell on this apparent lack of Form ACs, and he's of the belief that it might have been a shortened period of production of ACs, that is, that AB production ran well into 1923 and AD production started well before the beginning of 1924.  That would seem like a logical but unexplained answer, but maybe someone out in fanland might have some thoughts on this??

In any case, if you've got one or more Forms AB/AC/AD I'd like to get the information from you so I can expand the survey.  And possibly there is no actual shortage of ACs, because let's face it, this is miles away from a scientific survey!

Thanks

Jim

Last edited on Sat Mar 24th, 2018 12:37 am by Jim Humphrey

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 Posted: Fri Mar 23rd, 2018 05:56 pm
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Steve Stephens
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Hi Jim, it looks like I erred in saying I had a 12" Form AC as it's actually Form AB.   I did have a 16" Form AC that had a brass cage, all painted the same factory green as the fan.   Your research is interesting but I have no explanation for the very different numbers of each forms you are finding.   With all of these three years of the GE AOU fans being virtually identical could it be the different forms included some unique changes or modifications which gave them the different form letters?

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 Posted: Fri Mar 23rd, 2018 06:41 pm
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Jim Humphrey
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Got it Steve, I changed my numbers to 17 AB, 2 AC, and 16 AD.  From talking to Steve Rockwell, I think what you said about running changes resulting in different Forms could very well be the case.  I don't know what those changes might have been, though.  Steve Rockwell has seen indications that the Forms being specific to a given year may be only partially correct.  Maybe he'll see this discussion and weigh in here, because I'm putting a lot of words in his mouth!

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 Posted: Sat Mar 24th, 2018 12:23 am
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Vic Valencheck
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My 16" brass bell 75425 is a Form W1, Type AOU, Spec 272010-1.

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 Posted: Sat Mar 24th, 2018 12:39 am
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Steve Stephens
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Brass belll oscillators:
Form:
V   1920
W  1921
AB 1922
AC 1923
AD 1924

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 Posted: Sat Mar 24th, 2018 01:28 am
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Tom Morel
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I have noticed far fewer form W models than AB or AD.

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 Posted: Sat Mar 24th, 2018 01:49 am
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Steve Stephens
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 Posted: Sat Mar 24th, 2018 02:12 pm
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Jeff Rusnak
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Steve Stephens wrote: Brass belll oscillators:
Form:
V   1920
W  1921
AB 1922
AC 1923
AD 1924

Interesting info guys !! So now I have a question ? We're the V forms only for the brass bell oscillators ? I now have to look at the Brass Bells in my collection and check those letters.Also have a stationary 16" to get letters off of.I've talked to you Steve in the past about my 1919 G.E.Brass Bell 12" oscillator and we've decided it is a 1920 not 1919,but the fan has the warpped wire guard and 4 wire head wire with speeds wound into the armature,and the paper label on the bottom cover states the date as 11/21/18.so wouldn't that make it a 1919 model ? Or at the very least an early variant of the 1920 Brass Bell Oscillators ? I got the fan in the early 1970's from the original owner who got it when they got married around late 1919 and the fan was and still is well cared for and a preserved unaltered original fan.So yes Steve it's a fan with great patina almost as it was just made,all brass is nicely patina'd and paint MINT and original head wire and matching power cord with G.E.plug !! 

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 Posted: Sat Mar 24th, 2018 03:48 pm
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Steve Stephens
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Jeff Rusnak wrote: We're the V forms only for the brass bell oscillators ?
No, Form V started in 1919 which was the last of the 2-star oscillators but the first brass bell oscillators were also Form V  in 1920 and also had the wrapped steel cage, the last year for that cage.
GE form letters make some sense but not completely.  Supposedly one can tell which year was what form letter but there are still questions that occur to me "why did GE do it that way" (such as Form V for 1919 and 1920 yet the fan's construction is somewhat different.  Some form letters were used one year only while others were used two years, possibly three years?

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 Posted: Sat Mar 24th, 2018 04:55 pm
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Steve Rockwell
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   That's a good story of the fan's provenance, Jeff, it's enjoyable to read that you spoke with the original owner of a century-old artifact, and have it in such original condition... thanks. Would you be willing to post up a few photos?   What I can add to what's already said is that I've been assembling a listing of Form and Serial# information, whether PM'ed by fellow-members, from posts in the Forum, eBay listing (where such info is provided) and the limited fans in my possession. It started out as a means to sort out the confusing overlap with Forms PQRS, but I expanded the project to include quiet fans, since there isn't such an abundance of 1930's GE info, and my goal has been to link serial #s to as specific a time as I can, treating the Serial Number as the essential raw datum with Form alpha-numerals as supporting data and as a rough time frame. I only started even paying attention to brass bells in autumn or so, and the limited listing has roughly equal numbers of AB and AD, perhaps weighted slightly in favor of AB, with far fewer AC---- a fraction. Why is probably unknowable, and we can grind mental gears with a lot of speculation and end up only with educated guesses... they were in the midst of reorganization and relocating... there was lessened demand... too many to list, beyond which this list of mine is highly UN-scientific, and is merely a sideline in a larger story I'm trying to assemble. Still, I think it would be useful to have an approximate correspondence of serial numbers to years of production, so that's the first step... after that, to figure out exactly what is being indicated with Forms...
   Very interesting things came to light in recent posts http://www.afcaforum.com/forum1/50571.htmlhttp://www.afcaforum.com/forum1/50518.html and this classic, http://www.afcaforum.com/forum1/41212.html,  depicting among other things the variations in field windings, and GE was changing stator windings for years... (these matters, the windings and patents thereto were the major reason GE purchased the Eickemeyer Company [and got the genius Steinmetz in the bargain])... and I haven't been comfortable treating Forms as year stickers for some while now... GE literature will read, for instance: "1916 1917 and 1918 design electric fans, forms S,T and V construction" and I think this is a truer indication of the meaning, that innovations took place within a certain time period which can be correlated with years but is mainly about the developments. My point is that they were changing items frequently as well as regularly, and if GE used Forms as time stamps pure and simple, the same form designations would apply across the board to large motors, arc lights, inductoria, traction motors, alternator/dynamos, et cetera... and with perhaps a couple exceptions, I'll state this is not the case (this can be confirmed as absolute fact without too much effort, I just haven't made the time to prove this point) because I can accept the simpler explanation that, if they wished to indicate year, that two digits do the job perfectly and will not be repeated for another 99 years. No need for a decoder to tell what year's being signified... this isn't the year 20IB after all...What does a manufacturer do if a red-hot design comes up in April and they desire immediate production? Get it into production pronto and give it a new form designation because it is a new form of the device... add a new number to the alpha-numeral (there was a Form R-13) or put out a new letter if that fits the scheme.....
"With all of these three years of the GE AOU fans being virtually identical could it be the different forms included some unique changes or modifications which gave them the different form letters?"      Exactly, but it should be determined that they are virtually identical...
   This whole thesis is more of that idle speculating I mentioned, and I obviously have been sharpening the axe to grind on this subject for a while. Believing as I do that Forms equate to innovations as much as year (at least during this era), I'm trying to learn more about motors in general, these (GE) motors in particular, to be able to understand what specific innovations might apply to which Forms.... making this a lonnnng-term project...


   Back to the main subject------- Jeff, I was not aware that Form V included brass bell disks, my examples have star-lobed thumb screws and the earlier disk... 


V1 1387291



V3 1404577



Jim, I think I shared what specific pertinent data I have, if not PM me for the update.


     Isn't this a great illustration of over-thinking a problem?


Last edited on Sat Mar 24th, 2018 04:59 pm by Steve Rockwell

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 Posted: Sat Mar 24th, 2018 09:13 pm
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Jim Humphrey
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Steve, I hope I didn't misrepresent your thoughts too badly when I brought up your study and preliminary thinking, I was just trying to add context to this whole discussion.  And yes, I'm convinced that the fate of the free world doesn't hinge on the results of what we collectively may discover that GE did or didn't do almost 100 years ago, but h_ll, historians write books about less interesting topics!  I do think we can conclude that Form AC brass bell oscillators are underrepresented in the population of Form AB/AC/AD brass bell oscillators, and I agree that we may have jousted with that windmill and can declare victory without knowing exactly why the disparity exists.
Jim

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 Posted: Sat Mar 24th, 2018 11:43 pm
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Steve Stephens
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Jim Humphrey wrote: Steve, I hope I didn't misrepresent your thoughts too badly when I brought up your study and preliminary thinking, 
Not at all Jim, I'm glad you are working on this "project" also with a few others.   I, of late, have not been digging deeply as it Steve Rockwell and maybe a few others.   I'm at the zenith of my collecting and winding down and busy with many other things these days but still maintain a big interest in the old fans.
I didn't mention one thing; that the stationary 12" GE I posted a little above, Form W, has a wrapped cage.   The last wrapped cages on the oscillators were in 1920, form V brass bell oscillators.   Could it be that the stationary fans, being much less common and cheaper, were the fans that GE would sometimes use up old parts on?   I don't know what cage style was used on stationary GEs after 1921 form W; wrapped or welded.  I would think welded.

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 Posted: Sun Mar 25th, 2018 12:09 am
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Steve Butler
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Just to make everything clear as mud, here is my W1 brass bell brass cage. Steve told me earlier that he had sold a bb bc bell before. I think GE just grabbed whatever was laying around and put it together. 🤷‍♂️

Attached Image (viewed 125 times):

62BB2ADB-B868-44B7-9A30-FB88C8975CB9.jpeg

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 Posted: Sun Mar 25th, 2018 12:09 am
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Steve Butler
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Tag

Attached Image (viewed 122 times):

5C2C2EF0-4D10-4CC6-9A76-7542DADE3F3F.jpeg

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 Posted: Mon Mar 26th, 2018 03:16 am
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Russ Huber
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All of mine are sandwiched together tight in storage so I can't read the tag for form letters.  :X

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 Posted: Mon Mar 26th, 2018 07:49 pm
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Jim Humphrey
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Not to worry Russ, they seem to be showing up in good numbers on eBay, and I've pretty much decided the Form AB/AC/AD discrepancy in numbers is reality, but I don't have any idea how I'd ever come up with an indisputable explanation anyway.  I just picked up an AB 1 here in Geneseo yesterday, like I needed another.  But made my wife proud of me, so what else could I do?

Last edited on Mon Mar 26th, 2018 07:50 pm by Jim Humphrey

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