Antique desk fans have always been a point of attraction for antique freaks because of their unique designs and constructions. And when talking about vintage fans, you can’t miss the evergreen Westinghouse fans!
Westinghouse Electric Corporation is known for its several vintage fan series, which were popular for a limited period back in the 1900s. This makes those models valuable today! So, let’s see how to identify a vintage Westinghouse fan and how much it should be worth!
- Old and heavy Westinghouse desk fans made of brass blades and cages and cast iron bases with cloth-covered cords are one of the oldest and most valuable.
- Vintage fans with an embossed Westinghouse logo or a metal badge with the brand’s logo and motor tags are more valuable.
- Art Deco designs like geometric shapes and lines on the fan base can also fetch you good returns.
- Among different types, old Tank Motor and Whirlwind models are the most sought-after models.
How Do You Spot a Vintage Westinghouse Fan?
Looking at old desk fans, we can say that vintage Westinghouse fans would definitely be bigger and heavier with full metal bodies. But is that all? Definitely, not! Below are some highlighting features you can spot:
- Brass cage and blades
- An ornate design on the metal cage and base
- Open cage with fewer bars and rims for safety
- Fan cord covered with cloth
- Oil ports for motor lubrication
- A single-speed motor
- Left to right oscillation mechanism
A Walk Down the History and Development of Westinghouse Fans
It was in the 1890s when the popular Westinghouse Electric Corporation started making caged fans. They started with desk fans made of brass blades and cages and open motors. Although portable, these were quite heavy and unsafe, too.
The company started upgrading its fans in the early 20th century with its Tesla and Tank Motor fans with a large oil tank for motor lubrication. The next few years saw more functional models like Whirlwind featuring oscillations.
From the 1930s, Westinghouse started using safer and more affordable materials, like Bakelite, for their fan construction. It was during this time when new and more effective models like PowerAire, LivelyAire, and Riviera models also became popular.
The latter decades saw more improved models like Lifelong and CommandAire, which featured powerful motors and less heavy designs. But these models made more of plastic were mass-produced and lost their craftsmanship, making the older ones valuable today!
5 Popular Types of Vintage Westinghouse Fans
Let’s take a look at some of the important types of Westinghouse Fans, their identifying features, and a base price.
1. Westinghouse Whirlwind
Whirlwind fans are small-size fans with four 8-12 inches blades packed inside a metal cage. You can see s-shaped bars on the ornate cage and a round or hexagonal cast iron base.
These fans run on a single-speed mechanism, and most models will feature left-to-right oscillation. Generally, Whirlwind fans cost around $70 – $150.
2. Westinghouse Tank
Westinghouse Tank fans can be identified with their brass construction and a large “tank-style” oil reservoir in the motor housing for lubrication. What makes these fans valuable is their 12 and 16 inches strong brass blades.
Look for small motor tanks featuring small vent holes on the housing for an older make. But overall, you can expect a Tank model to be priced at around $110 – $450.
3. Westinghouse PowerAire
You can spot a vintage PowerAire fan with its closely constructed overlapping fan blades made of aluminum or brass. It may also have a Hamor Bronze finish. Besides, you can spot the company tag embossed on a circular rim on the front.
You will see 3 – 4 blades in this model with a possible 3-speed mechanism, and price these at $80 – $180. An old make may have a heavy, large base, too.
4. Westinghouse LivelyAire
These fans can be identified by their Art-Deco-inspired open cage with straight and curved spikes and its unique oval-shaped motor housing. You can find 3-4 aluminum blades in these models.
Moreover, the company and model tag can be found on the front of the cage. Being relatively newer, these fans will cost $50 – $150.
5. Westinghouse Riviera Floor Fan
Riviera is a unique model enclosing the fan and motor inside one cage. You will see a movable metal bar stand instead of a round and solid base with this one. Since these models feature plastic or Bakelite cages, a price of around $50 – $120 will be good.
7 Factors to Identify and Appraise Vintage Westinghouse Fans
So, as we saw, you can spot and appraise antique Westinghouse fans based on their types. But there are some other crucial factors that affect the price. Let’s take a look at these:
1. Westinghouse Fan Age (Using Model Number and Motor Tags)
If you want to verify whether your Westinghouse fan is a vintage model or not, you must know its age. One certified way of doing this is to trace the company’s logo, model number, or the motor tag of the fan.
But in case your old fan is missing these tags and names, here are some hints to trace the age through tags and features:
The 1890s Westinghouse Fans
These early Westinghouse fans were made of heavy metals like brass and iron. You can also find open motors with single-speed mechanisms in these models. Plus, the marking number plate or tag may be riveted to the motor. Being over 100 years old, these fans can cost up to $300.
The Early 1900s Westinghouse Fans
This era saw the rise of larger fans, such as Tank motor fans and oscillating Whirlwind fans, along with the use of brass and aluminum for cages and blades. These will also have blade sizes of up to 16”.
Besides, in these fans, you can see motor tags attached to the motor with screws and price them around $70 – $200.
The Mid-1900s Westinghouse Fans
If you see a company tag on the front of the cage with an Art-Deco or Mid-Century modern touch, it may be a mid-1900s (1930s – 1940s) Westinghouse fan. You can also find the use of Bakelite on these models, making them less expensive at around $50 – $120.
The Late 1900s Westinghouse Fans
These newer models feature more use of plastic for cages and blades, making them lighter. You can also find different power levels and Bakelite control switches and levers on these models. These will cost less, around $20 – $100.
Here’s a quick table to help you age your models:
|Westinghouse Model Names
|Brass cage and blades, oil tanks for lubrication
|$110 – $450
|S-shaped bars on the cage, single-speed mechanism
|$70 – $200
|Closely constructed overlapping fan blades, heavy metal base
|$80 – $180
|Unique oval-shaped motor housing, Art-Deco-inspired cage
|$50 – $130
|1950s – 1960s
|the fan and the motor enclosed inside a single cage, compact motor
|$50 – $120
2. Fan Blade Size
The size of the blades of a Westinghouse fan can help you appraise your model rightly. Of course, the bigger the blades, the larger and costlier the fan will be. So, look for a Westinghouse fan with 16” blades, as these will be really expensive.
Here is a quick guide to how Westinghouse fans’ prices change with blade size:
|Fan Blade Size
|$20 – $100 (Older models can go up to $250)
|$20 – $150
|$50 – $280 (Tank models can go up to $500
|$100 – $300
Make sure that the fan blades don’t have any broken wings, as it might reduce the value of the fan.
3. Westinghouse Fan Material (Blade, Cage & Base)
Vintage Westinghouse started making their fans with brass and cast iron. But with time, many new, lighter materials started being used to create streamlined designs. And these materials of different components can help you trace your model’s age.
- Fan Blade: The earliest Westinghouse fans can be spotted by their heavy and sturdy brass blades, making them quite precious today, up to $450. The later fans feature micarta, aluminum, and Bakelite blades. A few newer models may also have rubber blades.
- Fan Cage: Like the blades, most of the oldest fans will have brass cages with curved S-shaped spikes, costing around $100 – $400. The later cages were made of aluminum, stamped steel, and Bakelite. You can also spot aluminum cages in some fans, but these will be cheaper.
- Fan Bases: You can find the oldest Westinghouse fans with cast iron bases with ornate designs, while the newer models can be identified with their stamped steel or aluminum bases.
Look for features like a rear-mounted on/off level or cloth-covered cord for a better value for your Westinghouse fan.
4. Westinghouse Fan Speed Mechanism
The motor’s speed mechanism is another factor that can help you identify and value a vintage Westinghouse fan. Here’s how:
- Single-Speed Mechanism: If the fan features a single-speed mechanism with a possible on/off switch, it is one of the oldest Westinghouse fans. You won’t see a speed switch in such models, yet you can price them around $70 – $200, depending on size and model.
- Two or Multi-speed Mechanism: Newer Westinghouse models like PowerAire, Riviera, and LivelyAire models can be seen with this mechanism. It lets you switch between two or three fan speeds via a plastic or Bakelite lever. As we saw, these models can cost around $50 – $150.
5. Westinghouse Fan Color
You’d find the old Westinghouse fan with its natural color of brass for blades and cages and black-finished cast iron base. And it’s this natural finish and color that makes them worthy.
But the newer models, influenced by the Art-Deco and Mid-Century eras, can be found with earthy colors like brown, cream, gray, and mint green. You can also see colored Bakelite blades in these, costing up to $30 – $100 based on their age.
Please check whether the color and finish of your vintage fan are original or if it is repainted. Repainting will hide the valuable patina and other signs of use and age, devaluing the product.
6. Westinghouse Fan Condition & Patina
If you’re looking for a real vintage Westinghouse fan, look for the signs of age, wear, and tear. Usually, mint-condition vintage fans will fetch decent returns. In this condition, you may see paint chipping on the blades, cage bars, and base.
Tarnishing of brass or surface rust on steel components is also common. Besides, you may also find the bottom of the fan base rusty and chipped, yet the fan will be working fine.
Look for any missing screws, struts, bars, or other parts to price your model accordingly.
7. Restoration of Old Fans
Scratches and all are okay, but if a Westinghouse fan doesn’t function properly, it won’t be worth a lot. A collector may not pay much just to use it as a showpiece. And that’s where restoration comes into play.
You can restore your broken Westinghouse fan before putting it up on a bid. But remember that if any original, antique part of your fan is replaced with a newer one, it will devalue your model.
Restored fans with original parts may cost up to $400 – $500. Also, make sure to keep that exotic patina to maintain your model’s worth.
Which lubrication is best for vintage Westinghouse fans?
Any non-detergent motor oil will work well for lubricating the motor bearings of a vintage Westinghouse fan. You can use SAE20 motor oil or Supco MO98 Zoom Spout Oiler for an old fan.
How old is an antique Westinghouse fan?
Westinghouse Electric Corporation started making the first caged fans in the 1890s, with brass blades and cage and iron base. These earliest models would be around 130 years old as of today.
Though Westinghouse Electric Corporation has been serving its fans since the 1890s, its newer models, made of lighter, more sophisticated materials like plastics and rubber, are common. This makes the antique Westinghouse fan a great collectible for antique freaks!
So, use this detailed guide to identify your vintage Westinghouse fan and evaluate its justifiable price. And if you want help in identifying more interesting items like old Go-Karts and Screwdrivers, subscribe and hop on to the journey!