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Who might know the manufacturing date of this fan?

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    Posted 7 years ago

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    We are trying to date this fan to use in an historic house museum in NJ. Oscillating, 4 blade table top fan with bolts to attach to table or surface. "Electrex" is on the front center. The metal label along the base reads: United Drug Co., Boston-St. Louis U.S.A. K 571 Series "C" 110 V AC 60 cycles only. The blades are silver color in excellent condition and appear to be aluminum. 12" high, 6" diam. base, 10.5" diam. encasement of silver color thin metal "wiring" with large openings; not child safe. The design of the "wiring" encasement looks like lightning bolts zigzag pattern. Base and motor are very heavy metal painted black.

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    1. fortapache fortapache, 7 years ago
      I can't find any solid information on this so unless anyone else comes up with something you will have to go with my WAG of 1940.
      The base and motor housing look 1930s. The cage looks a bit later. Fans of the 30s and earlier almost all have the squiggly line cage design. After that they go art deco and space age.
      Not sure if United Drug co made this or just sold it. Fans would be made by one company and sold to another company that would but their name on it. Anyway this is what is known as a drug store fan.
      Anyway somewhere from after 1930 to before 1950 aka circa 1940.
    2. handsonhistory, 7 years ago
      Thank you for the helpful information.
    3. fortapache fortapache, 7 years ago
      I will disagree about it not being a residential fan. The unsafe cage was standard back in the day as were the bolt wholes for mounting it to a wall. The safe cage doesn't come into existence until about 1960. Drug store fan were meant for residential use. Industrial fans would be larger and heavier.
    4. fortapache fortapache, 7 years ago
      Sorry Ripley. That just is not true. I have a number of post 1950 fans with aluminum and steel blades that do not have safety cages. They are not industrial fans. If you see a fan with a safety cage it will be circa 1960/later 50s. Box and window fans a bit earlier. Trust me on this, there is a lot of fortapache in this category.
      In the meantime good work on looking up the United Drug Company/Rexall connection. That will help me do some investigation on some of my fans.
    5. wiskeylizard, 7 years ago
      The fan you have was made by United Electric of Menominee, Mi. from the early 1930s and is a desk fan. I have the same fan that badged a Wolverene. They also made them under the Eskimo name. Al Bersted of Bersted MFG. Co. bought out United Electric in the mid 1930s. They used the stock that was left from United Electric and just put their name on it until they changed the style around 1939. That is why their are some of the same fans that have a United Electric Decal on them and some of the same fans that are stamped Bersted on the bottom of the fan. Bersted did not make any fans until they bought United. They made small cheap appliances until then. As far as United Drug Company they contracted out their small appliances which they sold in their stores with their name. They didn't manufacture any small appliances. They carried this over when Bersted bought United Electric. He supplied fans for Rexall which were called Rex Ray. Aluminum bladed fans started during WWI when Brass was being used for bullets and shell casings. Fan manufacturers switched over to Aluminum and Steel. After the war they used Brass for a short period but by 1930 almost all fans were Aluminum or Steel Blades. On fan sizes 6,1o, and 12 inch fans were considered Residential, 16 and 18 inch were considered Commercial, and 20,24,30,and 36 inch were considered Industrial.
    6. handsonhistory, 7 years ago
      Thank you all for your input. It is so important in museum interpretation to get the time period correct. Are there any books or organizations dealing with the topic that you would recommend?
    7. kerry10456 kerry10456, 7 years ago
      I'm making a guess that you Steve? aka whiskeylizard
    8. wiskeylizard, 7 years ago
      No this isn't Steve. A good place for fan info is the AFCA (Antique Fan Collectors Association). As far as books there is Collectors guide to Collecting Fans by James Witt.

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