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 Posted: Sun Jan 16th, 2022 08:43 pm
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Mike Kearns
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Working at Oklahoma A & M College, Ralph K. Odor began experimenting with methods to improve the efficiency of propellers in the 1920's, creating a working model of an "intubed propeller" which used a carefully constructed cavity to increase air flow.  He combined the words "vortex" and "tornado" to describe his proposed aircraft, which he called the "Vornado."  The aircraft project was shelved in 1938 to focus instead on fans, but then World War II intervened.   After the war, he met Ottis A. Sutton, a Wichita Kansas entrepreneur, who helped put his ideas into production as the Vornado fan, or "air circulator" as he preferred to call it.                                                            {Ralph Keeley Odor, in 1928, image courtesy of Russ Huber}

The company prospered and at one time accounted for fully one third of all fans made in the U.S.  Unfortunately, according to the Vornado Trust operated by his grandson, Sutton began to submit Ralph Odor's patent applications under his own name.  This understandably led to a falling out between the two men.  Mr. Odor left the company with the plans to challenge Sutton in court, but didn't have the financial means to pursue this.  During the air conditioning rage of the 1960's, fan sales dropped and the Sutton company declared bankruptcy.  The Vornado name was revived in the late 1980's, but the new owners gave the now late Mr. Odor no credit for his ideas.  In fact, someone else was credited with the original design (Richard Van Eyck, incorrectly).  Now under new management, Vornado gives full credit to Mr. Odor with an excellent video on their website.]The Vornado plane never achieved commercial production, but the designs Ralph Odor created and the patents he developed led to a popular and successful air circulation system used in a fan known as the Vornado. Odor would continue to be an innovator and research engineer for the rest of his life and secured nine U.S. patents. He died at age 91 on Feb. 10, 1987. Now, for the Ottis A. Sutton side of the story: From the Wichita Eagle, June 30, 1955 -






Last edited on Fri Jan 21st, 2022 09:37 pm by Mike Kearns

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 Posted: Sun Jan 16th, 2022 08:43 pm
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Mike Kearns
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Filed July 6, 1939 - The machinery that makes the ribbed aluminum exhaust cones used in the early Vornados:























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 Posted: Sun Jan 16th, 2022 08:44 pm
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1945 -

















                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Two images of the same fan, a smaller pedestal, possibly a prototype, right image courtesy Rob Duffy:



March 3, 1945 - Odor applies for and achieves patentability for Vornado's first pedestal:










Member Rob Duffy submitted an image of what is likely a design prototype, compare the cage design to the patent figure 2:

Here is the production pedestal, of which only one of has surfaced, on EBay in 2016, brought to my attention by Mike Mirin:





















Filed March 9, 1945 -











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1946 -
















































































Ralph Keeley Odor demonstrating his Vornado window fan concept in 1940:



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1947 - This year Vornado transitions from the "jailbar" grille design to a more conventional "gunsight" style cage:
























Another example of style transition, a Vornadofan jailbar cage fan assembly mounted in the new style yoke mount pedestal:




















































Last edited on Fri Jan 21st, 2022 03:04 am by Mike Kearns

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1948 - 1948 seems to be another style transitional year for Vornado production, phasing out the Vornadofan script cage fans for the concentric circled Lucite golden jewel-style V cage badged fan designs:











This rarely seen example of a Vornado pedestal has the type 1 three legged pedestal base of the first design with the yoke mounted fan of the type two design:

























Last edited on Fri Jan 21st, 2022 01:22 am by Mike Kearns

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1949 -













Designer Richard Ten Eyck designed the new fan for Kenmore in 1949, this is the original sketch for the re-design of the Vornado base model for sale in Sears department stores.  
Richard Ten Eyck Design Sketch for Kenmore Vornado 1949:

And here's the production fan:



May 12, 1949 -






Filed October 10, 1949 -






Filed October 10, 1949 -




Filed October 10, 1949 - How the fan cowl is flanged together:








Filed November 8, 1949 -












Filed November 19, 1949 -







Filed December 2, 1949 -



















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1950 - Filed July 3, 1950: 



 Filed march 24, 1950: 




Filed October 20, 1950 - 







                                                         


















Vornado labeled as Kenmore for sale thru Sears & Roebuck department stores:




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1951 -



















                                                                                                           Vornado dealers were provided with press kits and display kits to showcase stock for fullest effect to the buying public: Vornado advertising backdrops - Wilharm Collection





An exciting sales pitch phoenomenon, an entire living room set for clients to experience which Vornado fan would suit there needs best. The Hutzlers image below is not a store front photograph, but of the actual Vornado Testing Chamber:







A sales giveaway promotion in front of what appears to be another Vornado Test Laboratory:




At least one Vornado dealer, in the pursuit of associating Vornado with sexy women, commissioned professional models to pose for advertising:

 
Two images of a Vornado cardboard advertising standee, both original B&W image and one colorized, by Dimensional Products, Inc., Milwaukee, Wisconsin


An extraordinary image from the Rich Raclawski Collection:


 







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1952 - June 27 -











July 18 -
















November 18, 1952 - Canadian Vornado management:




A rare Vornado-variant made in Canada, from the Mike Mirin Collection:











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1953 -








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1954 -
                                                                                                                              Electrohome desk model images courtesy of the Fuchs Collection:


Another example:





























And another pedestal, in factory pink:





And another finish variant, showing the rheostat type speed control the Canadian Vornado's are know for:








 

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1955 -















A table floor model, image from the McSheridan Collection:


























An advertisement from Canada:

A pristine example of the fan in the above advertisement, courtesy of Russ Huber:









Vornado M25E1-1 - Rob Duffy Collection




Last edited on Sun Jan 23rd, 2022 02:57 am by Mike Kearns

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1956 -




























Last edited on Tue Jan 18th, 2022 05:33 am by Mike Kearns

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1957 -

 

  Of note to collectors, for the 1957 and 1958 model years, Vornado fans were offered in different colors:

The Vornado colors lineup for the 1957-58 season, image courtesy of the Chris Talley Collection:

Concerning Vornado paint color varieties over the years, Vornado expert Rich Raclawski (The Vintage Vornado Doctor, look him up, many Vornado replacement parts and service, I'm a satisfied customer!) is credited with the following information: "Kansas Paint and Color at 132 N Mosley in Wichita, KS supplied paint to The O.A. Sutton Vornado Fan Division". The names of paint colors give by Vornado are as given;
    Mist Gray (1956-58) Dark Green (1956) Light Green (1956) Charcoal Gray (1956-58) Mint Blue (1956-58) Coral Rose (1956) Vornado green (1950-1955) Machinery Gray (1950-55 motor, propeller, flange, flange brackets)
A rare Vornado Accessory; factory touchup paint - 

                                                                                                                                                                                           

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1958 - Vornado continues to market it's portable automobile air conditioners..


And it's leftover stock of fans at reduced prices:



The last of the Vornado labeled fans had a rectangular "Vornado" cage badge replacing the familiar Lucite "jewel" and the plastic and brass cage badges:









A Vornado Travel-Aire - Lane Shirey Images









Last edited on Sun Jan 23rd, 2022 03:11 am by Mike Kearns

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1959 - The stockholders of Vornado and Sutton's inability to turn a profit brings an end to another iconic American manufacturer, with "golden parachutes" for the Vornado executives, big checks for the stockholders and the loss of careers for the workers of Vornado. As for the factory itself? Liquidation... 

                                                           May 24, 1959 - 




                                                                                                                                                                                              October 4, 1959

                                                                                                                                                                           October 15, 1959 -



                                                                                                                                                                 





Last edited on Tue Jan 18th, 2022 03:35 am by Mike Kearns

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Postscript: November 22, 1961 -




December 27, 1981 - Interstate Properties, Inc. closes Two Guys stores, because the real estate is more valuable than a sinking chain store:


February 10, 1982 - Two Guys is done. Vornado Realty/Interstate, Inc. will still own the real estate the store locations were.




Last edited on Sun Jan 23rd, 2022 04:05 am by Mike Kearns

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