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 Posted: Thu Jan 13th, 2011 03:01 am
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Kathe McPhail
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Wow! I stumbled into the Fan brain trust! I am a collector but most of my fans are in boxes in the basement until we have a lot more time BUT I just brought home a Roto Beam with a wonderful bakelite blade & housing. I'll take a picture tomorrow & post it but can I get an idea of what time period these were produced?  There are many patents from lots of countries listed and it runs fine on the house current. Thank you for your help!

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 Posted: Thu Jan 13th, 2011 03:08 am
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Greg Miller
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Tough to say without a pic, but I'm sure you'll get more info than you need once you post a few shots. Welcome to the fray! I think once you spend a little time on here you'll find yourself tearing into those boxes sooner than later...:thumbup

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 Posted: Thu Jan 13th, 2011 03:14 am
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Kathe McPhail
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Thank you! I'll see you in the morning with snaps.

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 Posted: Thu Jan 13th, 2011 03:22 am
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David Hunter
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Even without a pic, I have been trying to do research on Rotobeam bakelite fans. It seems that they were made in the 40's and 50's. It all depends on condition but your fan is probably not a particularly "valuable" fan. I use quotes because value is relative but I say this because it probably would not bring in too much money on ebay; less than $100, I'd say. It would be great if you proved me wrong. Also, I have long felt that bakelite is one of the true wonder materials of the 20th century and it is still underappreciated. Perhaps not in our lifetimes but one day bakelite will fetch a fortune. Bakelite jewelry has been steadily going up in value but not bakelite fans. Since bakelite isn't made anymore and had such a short production run, I believe that all-things-bakelite will eventually be sought after. It is the Holy Grail of plastics, as far as I'm concerned.

Last edited on Thu Jan 13th, 2011 04:39 am by David Hunter

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 Posted: Thu Jan 13th, 2011 06:10 am
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Russ Huber
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Max Weber introduced and patented the blade FILED in 32. One decade later he FILED yet another blade change in 42. Annnnnnnnnd yet another in 44. More than likely.... the blade was on the market at the time of the patent filing date. Match your blade to the patent illustration and should give you a rough time line for your Roto-Beam.

http://www.google.com/patents?id=rD9UAAAAEBAJ&pg=PA1&dq=1933948&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=1#v=onepage&q&f=false

http://www.google.com/patents?id=RTd-AAAAEBAJ&pg=PA1&dq=2386154&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=1#v=onepage&q&f=false

http://www.google.com/patents?id=lv5pAAAAEBAJ&pg=PA1&dq=2386154&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=2#v=onepage&q=2386154&f=false

Last edited on Thu Jan 13th, 2011 06:11 am by Russ Huber

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 Posted: Thu Jan 13th, 2011 12:00 pm
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Kathe McPhail
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This may take a while...

Attached Image (viewed 306 times):

p1130439 (Modified).jpg

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 Posted: Thu Jan 13th, 2011 12:06 pm
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Kathe McPhail
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and another

Attached Image (viewed 305 times):

p1130438 (Modified).jpg

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 Posted: Thu Jan 13th, 2011 12:36 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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Actually David it is made.  How about 20 tons minimum order:

http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/273840241/bakelite_powder_Phenolic_Moulding_Compound_.html

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 Posted: Thu Jan 13th, 2011 12:45 pm
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Kathe McPhail
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Incredible! What a treasure trove of information. I think ours is the later model, with a deeper center. After I chisled ( OK-not really) off a half inch of dust the blades are in beautiful condition and the cage  came up nice and shiny too. The only part I'm going to try and find is the nuts that tighten the cage to the frame. I suspect they were bakelite also. Thanks again for your help!:clap:

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 Posted: Thu Jan 13th, 2011 02:55 pm
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David Hunter
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Tom Dreesen wrote:
Actually David it is made.  How about 20 tons minimum order:

Well, there is quite a bit of debate about bakelite. Catalin, the company that bought the bakelite formuala, shut its doors many years ago. The bakelite that is made today is "reproduction bakelite" and apparently it does not have the same properties. There is a lot of imitation bakelite out there:

Ultimately, Bakelite-Catalin's labor-intensive process proved to be its undoing. After World War II, mass production became the plastic industry's buzzword and Bakelite became a pleasant memory. Collectors today prize it for its patina and its versatility. Unscrupulous dealers, however, have tried to sell other plastic items as authentic Bakelite. One test for authenticity is called the hot pin test. Interested buyers should find an inconspicuous area of the object in question and apply a heated pin. True Bakelite gives off a distinctive odor as it melts, very similar to the scent of burnt human hair. If the pin melts the object but no formaldehyde/burnt hair odor is detected, it is most likely an imitation.

Last edited on Thu Jan 13th, 2011 03:32 pm by David Hunter

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 Posted: Thu Jan 13th, 2011 09:48 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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Any phenolic resin will give a positive hot pin test.

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