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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Emerson Northwind Fan Restoration

Here is another completed fan. I finally got spun back up (LOL) to action with fan restoration after taking a brief break from the hobby. I have several more fans to finish, and I intend on finishing all of the them before November.

Fan restoration process: I am not a hardcore professional restorer. I don't have the shop nor the sand/bead blasting tools, nor a pro paint shop to truly make these units "factory new" or better. I am truly envious of the true professionals out there who astonish me every single time I gaze into their work. I aspire to one day have the tools and time to improve my trade to learn from the true masters!

My restoration process is more of the home craftsman grade. I disassemble all of the fans completely. I clean every single part, bolt, shaft, bushing & blade by hand. After de-greasing and inspecting all parts, I move on to the electrical side. I create a custom diagram and electrical schematic for each fan. I use my Fluke meter to calculate & test all of the components and resistance/flow readings through the circuit. I then replace all wiring with period-reproduction wire & resolder all connections to the newly cleaned speed coil and switch unit including feed wire from base to motor and base to AC input. After replacing the plug with a period-replacement unit, I test the electrical.

Once cleaned, the parts all get painted and all metal polished and buffed.
The fan is reassembled and usually after a few adjustments & proper oil treatment, they power back to life!

I still find it incredibly fulfilling to start a fan that has been dormant in the basement cellar or attic, rusted & neglected for over 6 decades and inject new life into it.

One thing about my restorations: I always leave some original wear, patina and age on my work. It reminds me that you can never reinvent the past, nor take away the process nor influence of time. It allows me to retain & respect the character & history while at the same time restoring these little marvels of American culture.


This little guy is a Emerson Northwind 450 G model. This letter suffix places the fan date somewhere in the early 1920s. Even by the "cheap fan" standards compared to other fans in that era, this is miles beyond any modern product in both overall quality and craftsmanship.

It is an absolute truth - They just don't make em like this anymore. :)

Emerson Northwind 450 - Before Pic

Emerson Northwind 450 - After


flying finn said...

I have a 450m, do you know where I can possibly locate a date chart for Emerson fans? Nice resto by the way. thanks.

flying finn said...

I have a 450m, do you know where I can possibly locate a date chart for Emerson fans? Nice resto by the way. thanks.