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Nicholas Denney
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I jumped on this particular example despite its condition and incompleteness, minus even the guard initially, because I noticed that it was a new variant, as far as I knew. 

Aside from many extra holes, some of which appear to indicate this is a 3-strut fan rather than one as the other known examples, the base is significantly different. 

So, here's a "special" fan from the Specialty Manufacturing Company of Indianapolis, Indiana

There are FIVE IMAGES of the fan, followed by the 1896 patent and TWO other known examples of this fan to compare. NOTE that my base design more closely resembles the cross section in the patent drawing.

If you review the text of the patent 0565772, you will find that the holes in the rim of the base appear to be for the guard mounting.

(PDF DOWNLOAD)

0565772.pdf

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Edited by Nicholas Denney
Patent
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Looks like someone drilled a hole in the top to make a lamp out of it 

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7 hours ago, Lane Shirey said:

Looks like someone drilled a hole in the top to make a lamp out of it 

In the realm of possibility, but very unlikely due to the hole being 9/16" while a hole for lamp pipe would be 3/8". As stated in the original post, this fan has more holes than all the later models known, so I won't be too quick to braze it shut. 

Edited by Nicholas Denney
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8 hours ago, Lane Shirey said:

Looks like someone drilled a hole in the top to make a lamp out of it 

I bet it was for flowers 🌹🌹

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Glad someone here picked it up.   It was within driving distance for me but the hole in the top ran me off.  It will still display well regardless.  👍

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45 minutes ago, Steve Butler said:

Glad someone here picked it up.   It was within driving distance for me but the hole in the top ran me off.  It will still display well regardless.  👍

If it comes to it, the hole can be repaired to the point of being invisible.

I've determined that it is the earliest known model from the Specialty Mfg. Company, so I was more than happy to pay what I did even in the shape it's in. 

1898 ad below. Based on the similarity to the patent drawings, my example may date 1896-98. Unfortunately what may be the correct guard as shown in both has not been seen or made before.

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5 hours ago, Nicholas Denney said:

If it comes to it, the hole can be repaired to the point of being invisible.

As is, it can be old as the Mayflower, it still has a large hole in it that shouldn't be there. We all want to see your repair to the point of being invisible. 

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4 hours ago, Russ Huber said:

As is, it can be old as the Mayflower, it still has a large hole in it that shouldn't be there. We all want to see your repair to the point of being invisible. 

It's brass which can be brazed shut, then sculpted with Dremel bits. This part of the fan isn't unique so patterns are available, but like I said, I'd rather leave it alone if it's part of the fan's history in use. It's unlikely to be a hole that was made in recent times due to its size.

I personally suspect the fan was used with a funnel in the hole as a spittoon. That would make lots of sense historically, a self-emptying spittoon. Every man in town would be jealous of the idea! (Yes, I'm serious - explain why this wouldn't be a useful or practical feature in the heyday of spittoons; it's 1898)

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Take a whiff, tobacco smell is not easy to get rid of, especially tar. It'd pool up somewhere in there.

That said, is the shaft frozen or does it turn?

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2 hours ago, Michael Rathberger said:

Take a whiff, tobacco smell is not easy to get rid of, especially tar. It'd pool up somewhere in there.

That said, is the shaft frozen or does it turn?

It will last awhile, but over a century is asking a bit, it's an organic material after all. The motor case does have a brown dust and crust inside it, but it can be iron deposition. (No rusting, remember this is a nickeled brass casting, the water wheel is also brass)

The shaft turns very freely, ironically better than most fans I've worked on around this age. It came from the auction with a brass Westinghouse blade, so it had at least two lives as a fan.

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