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Imperial Swan coming together

Marc Sova

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Finally getting the imperial back together. Newly chromed cage and all. Here’s the long back story if anyone cares to read it….

     In a roundabout way this was a Christmas gift from my 12 year son and his aunt. There’s a way more heartwarming aspect to that story but I’ll leave that out. 

   Fan seemed to have been redone by someone somewhat competent…they did a pretty decent job on the repaint. And they used twisted cloth wire (although it was the stiff stuff not the good stuff). From the looks of the paint and the cloth wire, I never would’ve thought it wouldn’t fire right up. Well…almost “fire right up” it did on Christmas morning with a big spark and a pop much to the dismay of me and especially my son. 

   So after reassuring him that I’d get it running again a few days later I dug into it. Well, needless to say, the wiring was a total hack job. NOTHING was soldered. Just haphazardly twisted wires with crummy vinyl electrical tape. Even at the stator!!!!! ((If whomever did this fan is in this group you should be ashamed! Maybe you’ll recognize your work from the pix))). I couldn’t believe it. 

    Then…upon taking it apart (not my first headwire but my first swan tear down) to put a proper headwire on I bascially ruined the stator. (I’ll mention what I did hear just in case it helps another newbie….the rotor would not clear the windings and I wasn’t comfortable trying to push them out of the way. So I had the bright idea of trying to drop the rotor and the stator together and then pull the rotor out the back. Seemed like a decent idea at the time….well for some reason, (and yea I removed the worm gear, it was very difficult to get off. More on that later) the rotor was hanging up in the rear bearing! I didn’t realize this as I was cusping the housing and the rotor and gently tapping my hands on the workbench to drop them. So….you guessed it….the stator kept coming out and as the rotor wasn’t, it scraped on the rotor damaging some windings. 

   Totally deflated, the next day I endeavored to try a fix. It metered good so I thought there was hope.I sprayed the bejeezus out of the windings especially the damaged area with the proper varnish. Then did some surgery on the remnants of wire exiting the stator. I have to admit…this was a pretty darned nice bandaid repair.  In fact, I still have to wonder if this fix would’ve worked. But what I did next further ruined it….Mostly, I’ve worked on single bearing Emerson’s in which case I’ve ran the motor with the front housing off. You know so you can kind of see the rotor move into the center of the field etc. Anyhow….I did that with this not realizing the front bearing support was needed. Heck I don’t even know if I remembered to put the stator threaded rods in to firmly mount it in the housing.  Anyhow….I can’t remember if there was a pop, or if it just started smoking. I’m guessing the rotor was just sort of laying on the stater and that’s what fried the motor. But it was dead after that). 

    So…after fully tearing it down I decided to get the cage rechromed. There was a pretty thick layer of yellowed varnish on it. Plus in some areas it looked like somebody actually sanded it down to bare metal and then varnished. I don’t think it was original lacquer or clear…maybe it was…but the chrome underneath just don’t look good after I removed a bit and polished the chrome. So…I dropped it off at St. Louis Plating in stl and the guy got it done in 4-5 days for $100 cash!!!!!! Totally awesome job. And then I sent the stator off to Mark Olson who did a great job with faster than expected turn around. 

   So….here we are. I brought it with me along with an entire compliment of tools and such to my hotel in Sandusky (where I’m working for a few months). This was my first swan tear down and it wasn’t too bad. I did discover that the end of the rotor shaft was mushroomed a bit. Not sure how that happened but it would explain why the worm gear was sooooo hard to remove and of course why it hung up in the bearing (oh…I managed to salvage the bearing I suppose…rolled up little pieces of 320,400,600…1000 grit sandpaper and smoothed out the damage. It seems to be ok as there doesn’t seem to be any up and down or lateral slop but time will tell? I wonder if that mushrooming was from the factory pressing on that worm gear????? Or if the guy who did this fan for some reason was beating on it???? I guess in the future I will take a small file to the end of the shaft before even attempting to remove the work gear?  Regardless, I ended up taking a file and sandpaper to the end and getting rid of the mushrooming and got the worm gear on and everything back together.

    Also noticed that the cage to base mounting….it’s a little katywompus…skewed about to one side. It looks worse in the attached photo. There’s no adjustment built into this so not sure why it’s that way…maybe just a Monday morning?

    I’ve yet to attach the headwire and switch etc. Haven’t yet soldered in my hotel room….I’m thinking I may go in the bathroom and turn the exhaust fan on and close the door….that usually works for soldering and not setting off the fire alarm. Don’t want to be “that guy” lol. 

   Not sure what cord I’m going to use. Contrary to what a lot of people think these did not have twisted cloth wire on them. My chrome faced 10” swan from 1938 has the original cord and it is a little bit more similar to rubberized lamp cord. Although the groove down the middle is not as prominent. I have yet to find anything like this. if you look in the Emerson catalogs as well, you can see this style rubber cord. I may use some of the two conductor overbraid as sort of a visual compromise. I don’t want something that looks too modern or modern at all. I did find a nice soft rubber appliance cord at Ace Hardware that is much softer than typical lamp cord, but I just don’t know if I want the look of lamp cord on this fan.

   So….there it is. My imperial rising from the ashes story lol. 







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2 hours ago, Andrew Block said:

Are you local to St. Louis Plating? I'm having an issue with them because they don't seem to be open.

I am….well, when I’m home. I work on the road. I’ll message you the guys email I corresponded with. 

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