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Visitors to the Museum


Kim Frank
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Last week, we had two visitors to the Museum with an old fan in tow. They were brothers, both retired, and had found the museum online. I figured they were wanting some info on it so I had them bring it back to the shop. I recognized it immediately as a 1908 GE BMY, but what really caught my attention was it's condition. Other than being a bit dirty and dusty, it was in remarkable original condition, right down to the ragged head wire and cord with Benjamin plug.  As I examined the fan, I explained to the owners what it was, it's place in the GE lineup and where it fit in. I asked what their intentions were for the fan and they said they wanted to sell it. I gave them price ranges that this model fan has sold for and showed them the examples in my collection in the museum. I made them an offer and they accepted. It is a 1st variant BMY that was made later in production with a serial number of 342973. It has the improved centrifigal start switch. Even with a sketchy cord and head wire, it fired right up and ran smoothly on all three speeds. After a bit of cleaning, replacing the wiring and installing new oil wicks, it will join my other 12 inch 1908 BMY with the plunger type start switch in the Museum time line. A nice survivor that is good for another twenty five years.

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Edited by Kim Frank
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2 hours ago, Michael Rathberger said:

It sticks out like a sore thumb. They're tough to "undent", it's thick metal.

FWIW....I have a small, rounded plastic end screwdriver handle that fits within the cap. I put the cap on thick cloth or padded surface on the concrete floor. With a hammer I carefully tap the dent out reshaping it as it once was. The amount of tapping hammer force will depend on the depth of your dent. 🙂

A rounded end steel rod or dowel will work. Use whatever will do the task. Just make sure you have some padding between the cap and the concrete.

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Edited by Russ Huber
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22 hours ago, Michael Rathberger said:

Nice. Survivor fan. Love those things. Bearing cap original? 

 That fan must have spent it's life in an upstairs closet, humidity controlled.  Great snag for the museum.

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2 hours ago, Geoff Dunaway said:

 That fan must have spent it's life in an upstairs closet, humidity controlled.  Great snag for the museum.

On top of that, you stumble across one once a decade, maybe.

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I have the original bearing cap almost done. The reproduction is okay, but does look obvious.

    I know that a lot of collectors see this fan and think how great it would look restored and the brass polished up. I have to agree. I mean, imagine it with a deep black finish, maybe a bit of pearl in the clearcoat, the brass polished brightly and cleared. Maybe even some bling... It would really make a great fan to set out, joining all the other beautifully restored fans in your collection. Trust me, I like a beautifully restored or custom fan and may have even done one or two like that..  On the other hand, here is a 116 year old fan that still has 95% of it's original paint. If this fan could talk, can you imagine the stories it would tell? Brass peeks out behind tarnish and old clear lacquer. A blade that is as true as the day it left the factory. A much more interesting fan to look at I think. I did change out the external wiring to make the fan safe to use but the original cord and head wire will stay with the fan.....The original felt wicks probably won't....

Edited by Kim Frank
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