Thomas Edison Electric Battery Fan Savory Airator Banker's or Office Fan Larry & Carole Meeker
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Antique Dealers & Brokers

Purveyors and Dealers of Americana  /  Patented & Mechanical Antiques

Antique & Vintage
Electric & Battery Fans / Water Powered Fans
& Other Alternative Fuel Power Fans

If you have an interesting or unusual early AC or DC electric fan, battery powered fan, hot air fan, water powered fan, or other alternative power fans that that you want to sell please contact us by email at .

To see examples of antique fans and other antiques that we currently have for sale please go to our sister site at . To see examples of fans I have bought and sold in the past find the appropriate link in the right hand column.  To learn about the types fans we are interested in buying and can help you with see below.

Battery Powered Electric Fans

The first electric fans produced and offered for sale in the US were battery powered.  The Edison style fan motor pictured on the left or edison fan motorthe Manhattan Battery Fan that is in the top left corner of this page are prime examples of the types of early collectible antique electric fans that I want to buy.  There are several other fan makers from right around the turn of the century who made and marketed battery powered electric fans.  All of them are of interest.

The Edison Electric Fan derives its name from the famous inventor Thomas A. Edison.  Edison's battery powered fan was the first commercially produced electric fan. They were introduced in the 1890's, and there were about 10,000 of them made.  It was offered with or without a cage or blades, and also came in a very desirable version with wall-mount base.  These early battery powered motors were sold as plain motors and came with different bases when offered this way.  Most are 6 volt battery powered, but he also produced a 110 volt DC model that is pretty rare.  Another variation is referred to as the ironclad,fan, and it had a cast iron housing encasing the motor. Any or all versions of Edison Electric Fans are desirable andArmature Bell Co. Newark NJ  # 1 Battery Fan Motor of interest.

Early battery fans can sell for over a wide range depending on the maker, model, condition and other factors.  In general Edison fans and motors sell in the $1,000 to $3,000 range depending on the condition, which version, and other factors.  I bought my first one for $20.00 at a yard sale, and have seen them sell for as high as $4500.00 in some situations.  There are a couple more rare versions that can sell for even more.  It is all in the details.  Condition is critical to value as well.  As is completeness meaning the blade and cage which are oftentimes missing.

DC Electric Fans

I am also interested in early electric fans that run on DC current.  Battery Antique Electric Fanpower is direct current, and many of the first fans commercially offered for sale were designed to run on direct current, and later to run on alternating current  as well.  My understanding is that Nicola Tesla was the force behind alternating current, and that Edison pushed the idea of direct current.  Tesla's ideas behind how electricity was to be delivered were adapted, and become the standard, but Thomas Edison was more personable and a better businessman / salesman and became far better known. That story of how, and what went on there can be found on other sites and in numerous books on the subject.

Most vintage electric fans that are of interest are going to date from near the turn of the century to no later than the 20's in most cases.   Most of these early fans will have plaques or tags on the head or elsewhere with the patent and other information about the maker, current, AC or DC, type, etc.

Electric Fans w/ Unusual Oscillators

Later fans that are of interest are going to have unusual oscillating features or other unusual features that make them stand apart from the norm. Electric Tank Motor Fan Some of these fans can go up to 4 figures or more, but most common or typical fans even by good makers made after the 30's struggle to sell for more than 100 or so.  An example of these would be green General Electric fans with rear oscillators that date from the late twenties, and most other typical looking fans from later than the 1930's.

Unusual oscillators would be those operated with vanes or Lollypops / designs using the fans own breeze to move them back and forth.  Or fans that are known as sidewinders, fans with a very complex mechanical oscillator attached to the side of the fan as opposed to the rear as is typical on later fans.

In general the fans that I am going to be able to help you with are going to have brass blades at a minimum, and almost all are going to have cast iron bases as opposed to later fans that have stamped steel bodies.  Cast iron bases with "Beads" or multiple steps are better than smooth ones, and so forth.  Cast iron tripod like bases with three fingers are better than round bases and so forth.

Robbins & Meyer 16 Feather Vane Oscillator Electric Desk Fan Many of these earliest electric fans represent the first uses of commercially produced electrical power back near the turn of the 20th century in America and are an interesting and important piece in the development of electricity.   They can make a dramatic statement about the development of electricity and this technology when displayed and understood.  We are also interested in buying and selling early open frame or bi-polar electric motors from this same era.  Those early motors that have exposed coils and armatures as opposed to fully incased later motors are of special interest.

I use antique / vintage electric fans around the house, with some running all day long, while I just threw out the new plastic one I bought 2 years ago that had no more than 50 hours on it.  That is the kind of statement that much of the old technology we collect and buy makes, and is one of the prime reasons we are drawn to it and shy away from later or newer stuff.

Bi-Polar or Open Frame Electric Fans

I am also interested in other early or vintage open frame or bi-polar electric Bi-Polar Fan Motormotors or fans similar to the early Westinghouse fan pictured on the left.  It is actually harder to find than the Edison motor above, but does not sell as well or for as much in most cases.  As can be seen the condition of this example is marginal which would hold it value down considerably.  It too is often found without a cage or blade which also affects the value greatly.

Many of these early fans were sold in different configurations and could be had with or without a cage and were also available as just motors for other uses around the home or farm. This style of open frame electric motor can range in size from as small as a couple inches like the toy or demonstration motors that I also deal in (you will find a page about them elsewhere on this site) to those used to power factories and small businesses and weighing many thousands of pounds.  Edison dynamoes like the long waisted "Mary Ann" pictured and described in the archives on this site are a prime example  My focus and interest in buying is mainly on the smaller more manageable varieties.

Alternative Powered Fans

Some vintage fans are powered by alternative sources of power such as hot air or water.   The Lake Breeze hot air fan / floor model to the right that is driven by heat supplied by a kerosene or alcohol lamp, and operates on the Sterling engine design are a prime example, and are sought as well.  The Lake Breeze came in both a floor model and a couple of different desk top versions. Lake Breeze Hot air Fan  Jost is another well known maker of this type of fan.

These fans were not necessarily earlier than the first electrics, but rather were aimed at consumers in those areas where electricity was not yet available or where the cost to electrify was prohibitive or not feasible.  Hot air fuel driven fans are a contradiction of sorts, and smelly to operate to boot.  The concept of using heat to blow warm heated and smelly air to cool you must have meet with some scowls and disbelief even back then, no matter how hot and humid it was and how much one longed for a cooling breeze.  This is what makes this style of fans so desirable as a collectible today.  In general these style fans sell for 800.00 to 2,000.00 depending on the condition, maker, model, and other factors.  The Lake Breeze fan came is several different sizes or models over the years, and there are several other makers that can be found including those by Jost and several European models.

Antique Water Powered Fans

The fan just to the left is a water powered fan, and all versions or examples of water powered fans Antique Water Powered Fanand water powered motors are eagerly sought.  The fan pictured here is a double-headed fan with a blade and cage on both sides to blow cool air in opposite directions.  This style fan is typically referred to as a partner fan and they also came as electrics.

This fan was made near the turn of the century and was marketed to those people who had a seemingly endless supply of water.  What a strange concept given the situation in today's world.  I sold the fan to the left back in the hey-day of fan buying for something near 4,000.00.  I have sold others for nearly as much, while some of the more common varieties might sell for 1000.00 or so.  All water powered motors fans and other devices are sought after and of interest.

Other Antique Fans

Other antique electric fans that are of interest date from roughly just before the turn of the century to about 1920. Antique Electric Fan Some of the examples shown below are fans that we still use on hot days.  The big GE below on the right moves as much air as a whole house fan and its breeze can be felt over 20' away.  Another of the fans shown below is nicknamed "the tank" because of the large, heavy circular shape of the motor housing as opposed to earlier and thinner "Pancake" motor fans.  Skinnier and slimmer models with a larger diameter motors are often referred to as having "pancake" motors, and these are always of interest. Prices can fluctuate over a large range depending on condition, model, vintage and other factors.
GE Antique Electric Fan
I am interested in buying many of these early electric brass bladed cast iron fans, and particularly those with decorative fluted cast iron bases and fancy cages or odd or unusual oscillating mechanisms.

After the 1920's most fans moved away from cast iron as the material of choice and into lighter more streamlined materials like sheet metal, plastics, and the like.  Although there are some interesting designs from this period and many are actively collected, I am mostly interested acquiring and helping you sell the earlier models like those I have pictured here on this page.

The fans you see here are examples of the caliber, condition and quality of antique fans that we primarily deal in and can help you sell. 

Click this link if you would like to see past sales results for Antique Fans we have sold.  Past Sales Results for other types of Antiques including early electric motors are linked on the right.

If you have similar antiques you would like to sell, please contact us at with details.

To see examples of similar antiques that we currently have for sale please go to our sister site at and visit the numerous sale pages you will find there. 
Savory Airator Banker's or Office Fan Westinghouse 12 Electric Tank Desk Fan w/ Vane Oscillator

Thank you!!
Larry & Carole

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Larry & Carole Meeker