Vintage Fan: Part One

There are a small number of things I can’t resist:

  • Vintage sewing books
  • Vintage patterns
  • Vintage citrus juicers
  • Vintage fans

One of my prized possessions is a small Fresh’nd Aire fan that I’m too afraid to use because it needs oiled and I don’t know how often or where to put the oil.  This is not a story about the Freshn’d Aire. This is a story about the Dominion 2026 that was sitting at Community Forklift for $45. 

I brought it home, plugged it in, and it made an unholy racket.  

My father, who knows everything, started by taking the fan apart to see if there was anything wobbly. His conclusion?  That’s just the noise it makes.

Perfect, but now that it is taken apart, I might as well make it pretty, right?  

I wiped it down with rubbing alcohol (mineral spirits would have been better – it etches the original paint so whatever you’re putting on it next adheres better) and taped off things I didn’t want to paint.  Namely, I wanted to preserve the sticker that provided the model number and the brand.  

Next, a color scheme.  Originally, I thought I’d paint it all a glossy white and I’d put a nice white cord on it, but then HH suggested that I get more creative and that was all I needed to hear. 

The painting went well enough.  It is now a lovely two-tone copper and teal.  Not to everyone’s taste, but in keeping with the MCM sofa and chair that I’m re-upholstering (slowly) for the family room that we are reclaiming (another story, another day).  Of course, this also required a different cord to go with the new color scheme. For some reason a brown cloth-covered cord with a flat plug (for fitting neatly behind the furniture) cost a fortune, so I found an extension cord that matched my specifications and we just cut off the bit we didn’t need.  

Now, this Dominion fan was re-wired at some point – it had an ugly gold cord and the two-speed fan only had a one-speed switch.  

I made two mistakes.  The first was getting ahead of myself in taking the motor apart.  I took a picture, but the picture didn’t capture one of the connections.  I should have waited for my dad.  

The second mistake was assuming that my dad would find it easy.  In my mind, when it comes to practical things like motors and the like, he knows everything automatically.  Rewiring a fan with all of these unmarked wires that all look the same without bothering to label which wires belong with which?  Obviously, my dad can do that. No problem.


We burned out the motor.  

Right now, I have a pretty fan that is pretty useless.  

Captain Obvious lesson for the hapless: next time you take something apart, label the wires and take good pictures.  You can’t necessarily wing it when it comes to putting things back together.  

The recovery plan is as follows: go to Ebay and find a Dominion fan with a 3.75 inch diameter motor to cannibalize for the pretty fan.

Of course, that is going to leave me with a new fan shell to play with.  

What I don’t understand is why a new motor wouldn’t work.  I get that the old motor fit in to the housing perfectly, and a new motor is unlikely to do the same, but you can work your way around that, assuming that your modern motor is small enough to fit in the housing, has the right shaft size, and is appropriately powered – this little fan blade isn’t going to be the right fit for a motor that generates a hurricane.  

Honestly, I’m just not smart enough to know what I’m looking for, aside from a small two speed fan.  

The incoming fan shell will get set aside for another day.  Maybe it will be a project for me and my nephew… next year.  

We’ll have to wait for the replacement motor and its extraneous shell to arrive to finish this project.  Dealing with the remaining shell will turn into part two… eventually.  

Anyone have a suggestion for what to do with a burned out motor?  

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