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Antique & Vintage
Bi-Polar Electric Motors & Steam Engines
Electric & Battery Fans / Water Powered Fans
& Other Alternative Fuel Power Fans

If you have an interesting or unusual 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.

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.  Most are 6 volt battery powered, but he also produced a 3 speed 110 volt DC model.  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 sought.  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 commercially sold electric fans were designed to run on direct current.  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 both men.

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

I want to buy Fans that have unusual oscillating features or other unusual features that make them stand apart from the norm. Electric Tank Motor Fan Unusual oscillators would be fans operated with vanes or Lollypop 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 on most common fans.

In general the electric fans that I am interested in buying are going to have brass blades at a minimum, and almost all are going to have cast iron bases as opposed to fans that have stamped steel bodies.  Cast iron bases with "Beads" or multiple steps are better than smooth ones, and so forth.  Electric fans with three finger cast iron tripod bases are of special interest.

Robbins & Meyer 16 Feather Vane Oscillator Electric┬áDesk Fan Many of these earliest electric fans represent the first uses of commercially produced electrical power in America and are an interesting and important piece in the development of electricity. They make a dramatic statement about the development of electricity and this technology when displayed and understood.  We are also interested in buying 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.

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. This style of open frame electric motor can range in size from as small as a couple inches like the toy or demonstration motors  I also buy 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.

Alternative Fuel Powered Fans

Some vintage fans are powered by sources such as hot air or water. The Lake Breeze hot air fan / floor model to the right is driven by heat supplied by a kerosene or alcohol lamp. It operates on the Sterling engine design. Lake Breeze Fans came in both a floor model and a couple of different desk top versions. Lake Breeze Hot air Fan

These hot air fans were not necessarily earlier than the first electrics, but rather were aimed at consumers in those areas where electricity was not 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 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. 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. Antique Water Powered FanThe 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 partner fans 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.  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.
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 earlier models like those I have pictured 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. 
Savory Airator Banker's or Office FanWestinghouse 12 Electric Tank Desk Fan w/ Vane Oscillator

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   


Early Electric Motors / Generators / Dynamos & More

Other scientific related antiques that we are interested in buying and can help you with Patented 19th Century Electric Motorwould include very early electrical devices such as pre 1900 electric motors and dynamos.  These are oftentimes referred to as Open Frame or Bi-Polar motors.  (see pic at left).While Edison fans are probably the best known early electrical device that is typically seen he was also instrumental in developing stand alone motors and dynamos.  These ranged in size from as small as battery powered toy motors to dynamos large enough to power entire towns.  See the past sale electric motor / dynamo archives to see an example of an Edison Long Leg Dynamo that dates from 1884.  Water powered motors from this era are of interest as well.  Toy size electric motors and dynamos have an info page found at this link.

Early electric and water powered fans of all types have their own page on this site.  Past sale results for antique electric and water Roth Bros & Co. 1/4 Horsepower Bi-Polar Electric Motor powered fans can be found at this link.  We are also interested in any pre 1900 electrical devices such as demonstrator or open frame bi-polar motors antique dynamos, and generators, early telegraph keys and other telegraphy related  pieces, early light bulbs, turn of the century or earlier electric appliances, and so forth.  This would also include pre 1900 meters and gauges from before the turn of the last century.  Any antique electrical devices by Edison, Western Electric, or that have the name Tesla associated with them would be of special interest as well. 

We are full time experienced antique dealers who specialize in patented / mechanical & scientific related antiques as well as Porter Electric Motorantique tools and technology.   I can help you sell early examples of electrical technology ranging from early or vintage electric motors, antique electric fans, telegraphy and telegraph keys, medical quackery devices, all the way to vintage electric light bulbs, early electric meters and more.

On this page I will show you some pictures and provide you some general info to give you an idea of what we are interested in and can help you with.  Basically, both full size and smaller toy size or miniature electric motors that date from near the turn of the last century or before are of special interest and most desirable. Full size bi polar or open frame electric motors, and antique fans are covered on their own pages on this site.  Past sales results for all can be found through the links to the right
Antique Battery Fan
Most small vintage electric motors resemble early large electric motors from the same time period. They are referred to as open framed and or bi-polar in design.  The first few miniature electric motors pictured stand about 3 or 4" tall.  Some like the Porter Electric Motor on the left just above or the Manhattan electric motor came in graduated sizes up to 10 or 12" tall.  They can be found with fan blades or not.  Different versions sell for different amounts, but in general the values range from about $20 to $300 or sometimes more for these small toy motors.

Weeden Electric MotorOn the right is a common form battery powered electric motor from near the turn of the century.  It has a label that says Ajax and can be found marked Hustler and a few other names.  This one is a bit different because of the fan blade, but it is a common small electric motor none the less.  Full size early electric motors and open framed or battery operated electric fans look similar but are much bigger.

Small electric motors that came with erector sets are pretty common as well.  Toy Electric motors that came with  toy steam engines like Weeden and Bing as shown here are similar in design, function, and a step better. They too came in graduated sizes and generally sell in the $100 - $300 range Vintage Electric Motor

Just to the left is an example of an antique Weeden type toy electric motor.  It has a cast iron base and a flywheel. It was most likely sold as part of a steam toy or as an electrical demonstrator.  This type or style motor can be found in a variety of different sizes as well.  The next picture is of an electric motor called the Manhattan, and this motor came in various sizes and configurations as well.  The one pictured is one the smaller sizes available and was most likely sold as a simple demonstrator or toy,  but larger sizes like the #3 size were sold as working battery powered fans in early novelty catalogs.

 Early Toy Steam Engines

The next picture is of a common form of toy steam engine that was Edgar Side Steam Engine made by a number of different makers over the years.  This particular one is called "The Pioneer" and was made or marketed by a fellow named Edgar Side of Philadelphia, PA. near the turn of the century.   It is unusual in that it is in its box, and for the fact that it cost a whopping $15.00 back near the turn of the last century.  It is a hard to find variation.  Most toys from this era cost but a dollar or two including most child size sewing machines made for the girls of the day . Mr. Side must have been bought out by Weeden or some other maker as his toy steam engines are quite rare and hard to find but are almost exactly the same design as those offered by these larger better known makers in laterEarly Electric Motors years.  These can sell over a wide range from $100 or so to well over $2000 for rarer and more unusual variations.

Other makers of similar toys were Weeden, Bing, Jensen, and Plank to name a few.  Some of the nicest and most detailed examples of toy steam engines were German and made in the 1880's and up to the first World War.  Some of these toys in the form of boats trains and both vertical and horizontal steam engines can command prices into the 5 or even 6 figures.

Steam Engine / Electric MotorJust below I have also pictured a contemporary model of a slightly larger steam engine that is quite well done. Antique Demonstrator Motors These types of models are also available as kits and are really nice pieces of craftsmanship when finished properly.  They are often sold at Christies or other auction venues and identified as works of art.  There are many similar but earlier examples that were shop built by skilled machinists, and many of these models are desirable and of interest as well. Another type of motor or generator found were  used as demonstrators in classroom settings.  Later examples are oftentimes found marked Central Scientific. They offered things like seen here as well as cutaway models of motors and engines.  

These next couple of picture are of other small bi-polar and open frame electric motors of the vintage and form that I am actively seeking.  Please contact me at if you know of or have similar pieces that are for sale.

Antique Electric Motor Small Antique Electric Motor

The electric and steam powered devices pictured are examples of the caliber, condition and quality of this type of antique that we can help you with.  Past sales results can be found by clicking the appropriate link in the right column

To see examples of antique motors, fans, and electrical related antiques that I currently have for sale please go to our sister site at and visit the numerous sale pages you will find there.

Thank you!!
Larry & Carole C & C / Curtis & Crocker Bi Polar / Open Frame Electric Motorntique Bi-Polar Electric Motor

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