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Century ceiling fan timeline  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Tue Sep 11th, 2012 09:55 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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As I am redoing 2 Centurys at the moment, I delved into the history a little.  The experts have already posted some info in other threads which I link and exert from below.

Steve C:

"There were really three types of [highlight= #FFFF88]Century [highlight= #88FFFF]ceiling fans. Earliest was the Pillsbury. They had very ornate open top and bottom castings. About 1906, [highlight= #FFFF88]Century came out with a newer model called the open top. Still had open top and bottom castings. I think ca 1912 or so (it's a guess) [highlight= #FFFF88]Century brought out the closed top. The bottom castings were ornate, but closed. The top was a sheet metal cover. Like an upside down funnel. [highlight= #FFFF88]Century fan catalogs are very hard to find. I have two. Naturally, the 1925 catalog on my computer has one invalid image and that's the one I need. But here's a good shot of the closed top [highlight= #FFFF88]Century, from the 1931 [highlight= #FFFF88]Century Fan Catalog. There was an old folk tale about why [highlight= #FFFF88]Century went to closed tops. The story goes that the University Of Texas had open top Centurys in the classes. Students would toss spitwads up on top of the motors, causing them to stop. So [highlight= #FFFF88]Century went to closed tops. I don't that tale is true. I think that as motors improved, they ran cooler, so no flow through ventilation was needed. Also the closed top design was much "cleaner" in design, so was more in fashion of the late teens and twenties. Just a guess."




Paul P:

That very ornate "pillsbury" is mine. However, it is actually the very earliest version and it is pre-[highlight= #FFFF88]Century. Pillsbury went to work for the H.E. Lindsey Electrical Supply in about 1902. He soon bought out the owners and turned it into a manufacturing operation rather than a jobber outfit. But not before they had produced this [highlight= #88FFFF]ceiling fan These [highlight= #88FFFF]ceiling fans were manufactured for only 6 months under the HE Lindsey Co before the company changed their name to [highlight= #FFFF88]Century. To my knowledge only one more of these are known to exist."


Here are a few images.  First 3 on top are Paul Ps "Lindsey"
Then an eBay photo of an early, maybe still Pillsbury fan, then my no model number fan and top, then 3rd row, my early tag, a model 15, my model 173.

Patents:

the 1st?
http://www.google.com/patents?id=GIwtAAAAEBAJ&pg=PA6&lpg=PA6&dq=pillsbury&source=bl&ots=Iu1JK4lVQZ&sig=RTm6tvycNeJuj4DmsFLh6M_tFvk&hl=en#v=onepage&q=pillsbury&f=false

the one on the fans
http://www.google.com/patents?id=bRB2AAAAEBAJ&pg=PA2&lpg=PA2&dq=pillsbury&source=bl&ots=aSRlUyS_Zm&sig=oYWB9qIS9j6GGm5LY5guZJpghFo&hl=en#v=onepage&q=pillsbury&f=false

Then centrifugal switch improvements:

http://www.google.com/patents?id=NXBIAAAAEBAJ&pg=PA3&lpg=PA3&dq=pillsbury&source=bl&ots=8bEXvpp2N-&sig=AFUaxPZmNG9hytyQvohqywymayw&hl=en#v=onepage&q=pillsbury&f=false

http://www.google.com/patents?id=99dDAAAAEBAJ&pg=PA2&lpg=PA2&dq=pillsbury&source=bl&ots=QSCvhSQvJW&sig=i1m_S3VvTT3hBXRClBRSnimCXzk&hl=en#v=onepage&q=pillsbury&f=false

There was one in 1914 that lead to the completely closed motor, but I haven't found it yet.


Some thoughts:

You can trace the motor improvements as the space in the bottom decreases.

It would seem that the No. (on the tag) may be an indication of the actual fan count that was discontinued on the 175 model.

There was a call for Emerson fans for a timeline at St. Louis FanFair.

Let's not slight other St. Louis makers (I don't have ant Wagners).

Attached Image (viewed 3150 times):

Century CF history combo.jpg

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 Posted: Tue Sep 11th, 2012 10:03 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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It also turns out that Century made up and down brackets.

My 173 came with 3 of one and one of the other (haven't tried to figure out direction yet).  Below is "as found".  Clearly the blades had the same paint, the same dirt, the same patina, etc, except there was an odd man out.  One wonders how this fan performed.

Also interesting is the method of balancing them.  Each wooden blade has a weight in grams and they varied considerably.  So stamped cut inserts which perfectly fit the hollow under the brackets were added with various parts removed for weight.

One wonders why bother with a 20 lb stator.

So if anyone has a 1980 bracket, or three C862 brackets, I am in the market.

Attached Image (viewed 2792 times):

Century CF 173 just removed brackets.jpg

Last edited on Tue Sep 11th, 2012 10:03 pm by Tom Dreesen

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 Posted: Tue Sep 11th, 2012 10:04 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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brackets

Attached Image (viewed 2750 times):

Century CF 173 up and down brackets.jpg

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 Posted: Tue Sep 11th, 2012 10:05 pm
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Steve Cunningham
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Maybe we should call the Lindsey as First, the Pillsbury second, the open top Century third, and the closed top Century fourth?

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 Posted: Tue Sep 11th, 2012 10:08 pm
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Steve Cunningham
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Years ago Sidney Lamb found a way to wind the Century fans as three speed reversibles. I don't think he does that anymore.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 11th, 2012 11:09 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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So my no model number without Pillsbury is c1906?  It won't have centrifugal switches?

The 173 in progress:


Attached Image (viewed 4564 times):

Century CF 173 during.jpg

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 Posted: Tue Sep 11th, 2012 11:17 pm
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Steve Cunningham
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Once Century started using motor tags, the serial numbers can be used as a dating tool. I don't think the Lindsey or Pillsbury had tags. One of my Pillsburys was originally a split phase motor with three switches. But it had been rewound as a shaded pole.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 11th, 2012 11:19 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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Of course there was an East Texas dirt dauber nest and about a pound of red Texas clay on the inside.

Attached Image (viewed 2961 times):

Century CF 173 windings.jpg

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 Posted: Tue Sep 11th, 2012 11:21 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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Before:

Attached Image (viewed 2729 times):

Century CF 173 before 1.jpg

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 Posted: Wed Sep 12th, 2012 01:50 am
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Stephen Sanders
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I don't have the fan yet but recently bought this one

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cent 4.JPG

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 Posted: Wed Sep 12th, 2012 01:52 am
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Stephen Sanders
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I cautioned them about the switch and  I am sending my own boxes with instructions.

The seller never sent a picture clear enough to read the model #. Should this be a 173 ? Not a Model 15 since the raised lettering is not there on the top.

Can you tell me what I'm gettitng?

Attached Image (viewed 2648 times):

cent 1.JPG

Last edited on Wed Sep 12th, 2012 02:03 am by Stephen Sanders

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 Posted: Wed Sep 12th, 2012 02:09 am
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Tom Dreesen
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That last photo ... OUCH

Well at least the switch is OK.

I don't know of any model numbers except 15, 173, then 175.

So should be 173. I would appreciate you posting the No. when you get it.

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 Posted: Thu Sep 13th, 2012 01:36 am
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Stephen Sanders
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Are these Century blades? I have 5 blades and think they are century. Did they make a 5 blade fan with short blades?

Attached Image (viewed 2700 times):

century blade.JPG

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 Posted: Thu Sep 13th, 2012 01:49 am
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Steve Cunningham
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As far as I know, Century only made four blade fans.

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 Posted: Thu Sep 13th, 2012 03:46 am
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Tom Dreesen
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Certainly Century shape. I have not heard of a smaller fan, but that bracket was not made for the full size. It lacks the tongue and pin (when not broken).

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 Posted: Thu Sep 13th, 2012 09:58 am
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Stephen Sanders
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this shows the pin

Attached Image (viewed 2631 times):

cent blade iron.JPG

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 Posted: Thu Sep 13th, 2012 12:51 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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The pin is on the outside portion unlike the standard bracket which has the pin on the inside pointing tongue.

Definitely wouldn't work on the full size.

Definitely looks like a Century product.

Seems there is a "missing" fan motor for your blades and brackets. I would be interested in them if you ever want to let them go.

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 Posted: Thu Sep 13th, 2012 03:38 pm
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Paul Pierson
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Regarding the H.E. Lindsey fans, the seriel number, voltage, etc. are stamped on the rotor. I will try to find that info.....
Also, in addition to the 2 H.E. Lindsey's known, there are a few (2-3) of the identical fan known to exist with "Pillsbury / Century" on the top rather than "Pillsbury / H.E. Lindsey".

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 Posted: Thu Sep 13th, 2012 09:32 pm
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Chuck Abernathy
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Steve, those are for a small Century CF...very plain motor without any special details in the casting. I have one or two back there...will try to locate soon to show you the motor. It is a four-bladed fan, so you have a spare.
Blessings! Chuck

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 Posted: Thu Sep 13th, 2012 11:22 pm
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Fred Berry
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A ceiling fan with a centrifugal split phase motor??!! Now that would be interesting!! Was there such a thing as a low-speed centrifugal ceiling fan? I know that Century had some early split-phase desk fans...

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 Posted: Thu Sep 13th, 2012 11:40 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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Fred,

Check out the patents posted above.

The 1904 AE blurb Russ originally posted and I used in the 1st post above says:


Attached Image (viewed 2560 times):

AE Mag 1904 035 detail.jpg

Last edited on Thu Sep 13th, 2012 11:43 pm by Tom Dreesen

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 Posted: Sat Sep 15th, 2012 09:22 pm
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Stephen Sanders
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Can someone please help me planning packing material for the Century CF I posted above,

I am sending a box and all packing material to the seller, My concern is pre-planning the box for the motor.

I need to know the total height , motor diameter , and diameter of the nose cone from smallest to largest. I intend to cut multiple layers of 3" styrofoam and have them place the motor in the box upside down. I will precut holes in the styrofoam. I will also send egg crate foam and & a piece of 4" cushion type foam and hope the guy can use some common sense tweaking it to fit.

With luck he will take the switch and lighting arms off and put them in the other box with the blades and canopy. Otherwise egg-crate foam can go under the lights with the arms folded and fitters removed.

Does anyone have a better idea of what I should do?

thanks

Last edited on Sun Sep 16th, 2012 02:48 am by Stephen Sanders

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 Posted: Mon Sep 17th, 2012 12:07 am
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Tom Dreesen
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Stephen,

I have shipped many cast iron CFs.  Immobilization is the key with any shipping situation.

I happen to have access to O/N biologicals dry ice solid foam containers and outer boxes through my work.  Hollow in them is perfect for nose cones.

If you don't have academic/hospital contacts, solid foam blocks work as well.  Support the fan by the bottom plate such that the nose is 1 plus inches from the bottom.

Solid 1 inch foam on the sides.  1 inch foam on top.  A 14 inch square box is perfect.

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 Posted: Mon Sep 17th, 2012 12:32 am
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Stephen Sanders
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Thanks Tom.

 

You have it worked out  more efficient that what I was planning. I will check with the lab and material handling at the hospital tomorrow and see what I come up with.

14x14x14 sounds a lot cheaper to ship than the 17x17x17 I was considering using.

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 Posted: Fri Oct 26th, 2012 06:53 am
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Tom Dreesen
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I'll keep this Century thread going.  The 173 above is awaiting a bracket.  I may have up and down cast.  eMail or PM me if you want a set of either up or down brackets.

I started on the no model open top.  I got this one several years ago because I knew it was early.  When I took a look at her innards, she sat in Andrew's warehouse as at that point in my restoration experience, she was too much for me then.

Now, with a bunch under the belt, and just doing the 173, I decided to tackle the older one.

Much the same innards, but with notable differences.  The porcelain wiring block has both a 100V line in and a 110V line in. She has a seven wire donut, only 2 of which are utilized.  The other 5 are neatly labeled with numbered tags.  WUWT?

The coils seem to be fed at 2 locations that don't go to the donut.  The donut output ties into another wire that disappears in the spaghetti.  I haven't traced the wires to the switch (which is there as is the switch rod, but not the handle), but it looks like 2 taps to the windings with one feeding off the donut for 3 speeds?  Seems a bit strange.

Unfortunately the rotor is stuck.  Any suggestions on what to do AND what NOT to do to get them apart?

Attached Image (viewed 2427 times):

Century open top no number block.JPG

Last edited on Fri Oct 26th, 2012 12:53 pm by Tom Dreesen

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 Posted: Fri Oct 26th, 2012 12:50 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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the donut


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Century open top no num donut.JPG

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 Posted: Fri Oct 26th, 2012 06:17 pm
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Mark Nice
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Stephen Sanders wrote: Are these Century blades? I have 5 blades and think they are century. Did they make a 5 blade fan with short blades?
I have those on my 36" fan, four.  I made a set of blades out of cherry for a friend in TX for that same fan.  They were a little heavy even though I tapered them toward the end on my planer.  I have several Century fans.  I never though to check the UP/DWN on the brackets.  I may have to do that.  BTW, you've got some nice fans there.  I think the Century's have the best bearings of most CF's.

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 Posted: Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 07:32 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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Prepping the open top for surgery, a rotoectomy, a few observations:

The 2 speed snap switch, which I have never seen before, has a patent date of 1910 with the 1912 173 3 speed switch next to it.

The donut uses 2 of the nine taps.  What do c1910 Century desk fans use for 5 speeds?  Seems a waste a company would not do to use a coil  with multiple taps and only use 1?

The shaft has a set screw!  How did the drill that hole?  It is hairline cracked, I think only in the top part over the screw.

Son-in-law off to hardware store for some bolts.

Attached Image (viewed 3727 times):

Century open top switches.JPG

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 Posted: Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 07:33 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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no switch

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Century open top apart 2 no switch.JPG

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 Posted: Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 07:38 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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And Ron, here's how they soldered 3 wires, 1 larger than the other 2 in 1910.

How did they do?

Attached Image (viewed 2329 times):

Century open top apart 2 solder.JPG

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 Posted: Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 08:04 pm
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Nicholas Denney
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STEPHEN SANDERS:

Those light arms on that Century are from a Casablanca ceiling fan. I bet someone will want them.

You can get period-correct lighting instead of that 70's-80's stuff.

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 Posted: Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 08:57 pm
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Stephen Sanders
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Nick:

 

I knew they were not right but I didn't what from.

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 Posted: Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 09:01 pm
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Nicholas Denney
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Not a great picture of the sockets, but these are the switched version, on a Casa.

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 Posted: Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 09:46 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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Stephen,

You can pick up socket sets off eBay.  What is more difficult is the tubing, fittings, etc.

Replace the sockets if you want, but there is nothing wrong with using that spiral tubing.  Shade choice will make the most impact.

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 Posted: Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 10:06 pm
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Nicholas Denney
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The rope arms are a difficult catch, but brass arms are easy.

http://www.grandbrass.com/catalog.cfm?category=Arms&subcategory=Bent%20Arms

PERSONALLY.... I think these cast arms would make the fan look SUPER...

http://www.grandbrass.com/catalog.cfm?category=Arms&subcategory=Cast%20Arms

Last edited on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 10:07 pm by Nicholas Denney

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 Posted: Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 11:01 pm
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Stephen Sanders
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Thanks to both of you, Tom and Nick.


Tom, I'm really glad you are keeping this thread going. I have nothing intelligent to contribute but have really enjoyed following your saga with your Century restoration and pictures.

The doughnut with the tags is fascinating.

thanks

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 Posted: Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 11:20 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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Stephen Sanders wrote: Thanks to both of you, Tom and Nick.


Tom, I'm really glad you are keeping this thread going. I have nothing intelligent to contribute but have really enjoyed following your saga with your Century restoration and pictures.

The doughnut with the tags is fascinating.

thanks

Questions I have, answers few.

Life got in the way of the rotoectomy today.

We are ready for tomorrow.

LSU and Alabama tonight.

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 Posted: Sun Nov 4th, 2012 05:04 am
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Tom Dreesen
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While watching the game (why do coaches go to prevent when the normal defense just did three 3 and outs?), I checked resistances and such.

The 110 and 110 line wires give 6.8 or 6.9 ohms.  When 110 to 100 wire, 0.07 ohms.

On the donut, We can't get continuity with any pair of wires.  We scraped to get clean contact, etc.  I then noticed that the donut has wear to the cloth tape where is sat, unconfined, on the cast iron around the switch.  There was enough vibration to wear right down to bare wire.  We can get continuity on the exposed wire (arrow).

Is it dead?

Can it be brought back?

Attached Image (viewed 2325 times):

Century open top donut wear.jpg

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 Posted: Sun Jan 6th, 2013 10:37 pm
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Steve Cunningham
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I opened up my Pillsbury today and found no markings anywhere. Where are they marked?

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 Posted: Wed Oct 29th, 2014 08:36 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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Century trade brochures including ceiling fans, undated





https://archive.org/details/CenturyFansAlternatingAndDirectCurrentPortableAndCeiling_456

https://archive.org/stream/CenturyFansAlternatingAndDirectCurrentPortableAndCeiling/CenturyElectricCoCca42922#page/n11/mode/2up

https://archive.org/stream/CenturyAlternatingAndDirectCurrentFans/CenturyElectricCoCca42911#page/n15/mode/2up

https://archive.org/details/CenturyAlternatingAndDirectCurrentFans_224


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 Posted: Thu Oct 30th, 2014 02:04 pm
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Fred Berry
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Nicholas Denney wrote: Not a great picture of the sockets, but these are the switched version, on a Casa.



I know this is an old thread, but:

Nick or Tom, is this a Casablanca fan in Nick's picture? I had thought that Casablanca fans were modern, started during the 1970's ceiling fan craze. But this fan in the photo is about as ornate as an antique, other than the shape of the motor case which might have a spinner hidden in it? Beautiful fan here, but not my Dayton...:P

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 Posted: Thu Oct 30th, 2014 02:10 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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Fred Berry wrote: Nicholas Denney wrote: Not a great picture of the sockets, but these are the switched version, on a Casa.



I know this is an old thread, but:

Nick or Tom, is this a Casablanca fan in Nick's picture? I had thought that Casablanca fans were modern, started during the 1970's ceiling fan craze. But this fan in the photo is about as ornate as an antique, other than the shape of the motor case which might have a spinner hidden in it? Beautiful fan here, but not my Dayton...:P

Yes, Casa's take on ornate.  Spinner in there.

Collectible in it's own right.  Tom Frampton didn't think his fans would reach the "collectible" level :P.

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 Posted: Sun May 17th, 2015 10:57 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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Century closed top that is reversible!!  Called Reversair.

Attached Image (viewed 558 times):

Century Reversair full.jpg

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 Posted: Sun May 17th, 2015 10:58 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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bottom

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Century Reversair switches.jpg

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 Posted: Sun May 17th, 2015 10:59 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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tag

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Century closed top Reversair tag.jpg

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 Posted: Sun May 17th, 2015 11:15 pm
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Louis Weedman
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I've never seen a reversible one! Nice...

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 Posted: Sun May 21st, 2017 10:53 pm
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Tom Dreesen
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Location: Roanoke, Virginia USA
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We have so many threads going on things so I thought I will add to this one instead of a new thread.  

I thought I had posted this one before but couldn't find it.


This is a Century model 179 closed top.  It was black without brackets or blades.


Even I tire of black.


The brackets are aluminum repops I got somewhere in hammered copper now.


The bottom and top are hammered copper.


The nose is distressed copper.


The blades are new ash wood stained cherry.


First the blades.  5/4 stock cut length wise, then planed, then rough blades cut.


Century has a taper from fan to edge which was done with a belt sander and 40 grit.


Then 80 grit on an orbital, then finally 220 grit, then stain and clear coat.















And the final blade






And the fan










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 Posted: Mon May 22nd, 2017 02:29 am
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Andrew Block
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Tom Dreesen wrote: Fred Berry wrote: Nicholas Denney wrote: Not a great picture of the sockets, but these are the switched version, on a Casa.



I know this is an old thread, but:

Nick or Tom, is this a Casablanca fan in Nick's picture? I had thought that Casablanca fans were modern, started during the 1970's ceiling fan craze. But this fan in the photo is about as ornate as an antique, other than the shape of the motor case which might have a spinner hidden in it? Beautiful fan here, but not my Dayton...:P

Yes, Casa's take on ornate.  Spinner in there.

Collectible in it's own right.  Tom Frampton didn't think his fans would reach the "collectible" level :P.

Actually these were belt/gear drive. They run at like 60 rpm. Not much air move as it is "aesthetic."

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