Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Robbins & Myers List 1404 desk fans, 1911-1915

(text and photos added 10-29-13. See bottom of page.)
Introduced for 1911 and continued in production through at least 1916-1917 is what I consider to be one of the best and simplest fans of the period, the Robbins & Myers "List 1404" model 14, three versions of which are shown in the photo above.  A similar 16" fan was also made, the List 1411 and 14110 which, other than the fan size, was basically the same as the 12" model.

Left to right are the original 1911 model (one of my favorite fans and often a daily user) with a guard using a square back ring.  This is the same cage used on later production versions of the R&M "lollipop" fan.  An early lollipop fan is shown below.  For 1912 the guard of the 1404 was changed to a two ring cage using a round wire back ring and the same common flag cage badge that R&M had already been using for a few years.  For the final few years of the 1404 the List No. became 14040 and was, basically, the same fan as the 1404 but with a felt covered base plate.  The last year of production was actually after R&M introduced their new drawn steel fan motors for 1916 and appears to have had a cage with the new, smaller solid cage badge as shown on the right of the photo above.   The fan on the right has its original felt on the base.  All three fans have their original paint, finish on the brass, and head wires.

Was the 14040 continued in production for a year or more after the stamped steel motor modles came out or am I seeing the result of some cage substitutions?  I have found some new information from the Toronto, Canada The Electrical News, below, that shows the old cast iron R&M fans were sold alongside the new 1916 stamped steel models.  This would account for the small round badge on the latest List 1404 models.  It appears that the 12" and 16" fans for 1916, both the old cast iron models and new stamped steel models, used the old flag badge while only the smaller (stamped steel) fans used the new round solid cage badge.  1917 models, both iron and steel had the newer round cage badge and a brass cage.   For 1918 and possibly 1919 R&M's larger fans had a wrapped steel cage followed by a welded steel cage c.1920.

Feb. 15, 1916 The Electrical News, Toronto, Canada
showing that both cast iron models and the new drawn steel models were available at this date.

One can closely, if not exactly, date the List 1404 and 14040 models as follows:
   1911    square back ring cage with open flag badge  (1404)
1912-1914 double ring cage with open flag badge  (1404)
1915-1916  double ring cage with open flag badge  (14040)
   1917    double ring cage with smaller, solid cage badge  (14040)

Robbins & Myers was one of the oldest fan companies, having begun the manufacture of direct current ceiling fans in 1897 in Springfield, Ohio under the ownership of Chandler Robbins and James Myers.  Direct current desk fans were added in 1899.  After acquiring a patent from Charles Eck for an oscillating fan mechanism, R&M put into production their unique DC "lollipop" oscillator in 1904, followed a few years later by an AC version.  A sheet brass disk in front of the fan was acted upon by the air from the fan causing the fan to oscillate back and forth.  Stops on the base of the fan were contacted by a pin at the bottom of the lollipop shaft to shift the disc to the other side, resulting in the fan oscillating to the other side.

An early, c.1905 R&M "lollipop" fan produced well before the R&M List 1404 models were introduced in 1911.

R&M had been making only direct current fans until 1908 when their first AC fans were introduced.  Their new 12" and 16" AC fans were made by Westinghouse and re-badged for R&M.  They were virtually identical to the Westinghouse "tank" fans but with the R&M open flag cage badge.  With Westinghouse's impending introduction of a new drawn steel fan motor in 1912 it is likely that R&M found it would no longer have a source of AC fan motors, prompting them to design their own AC fan motor, the "List 1404" and varients.

The 1404 did away with the mechanical start switch of the previous R&M AC fans made by Westinghouse.  The 1404 incorporated three speeds with a good speed separation between high and medium and medium and low.  They also run pretty quietly and are an easy fan to live with for daily use.

The much more commonly used "open flag" cage badge as used on most 1404 and 14040 fans is shown in the top photo, right, and was used on 12" and 16" R&M fans through 1916.  The photo below, right, is of the smaller round badge used during the last year of R&M cast iron fan motor production, presumably 1917.   I have both the 12" R&M 14040 and a 16" R&M 11530 oscillator with the round cage badge.

Robbins & Myers motor tags from the 1911-1917 era have little information on them; the "List No." (the first two digits are the "model number") and the voltage and frequency, as well as direct or alternating current.  That is all you got- no serial numbers or patent dates or other information was included.  If there were patents pending they never were on the motor tags of these fans as an actual date.

Yes, R&M did make Direct Current versions of the 1404 and 14040.  Above is the motor tag of a later version of the List 1505 with felt base plate making it a List 15050.  Note the 30 volts on the tag.  A standard 110 v. DC version is a List 1500, or List 15000 with the felt base.

Most information for R&M fans is hard to come by.  I have not seen any catalogs of their earlier fans so that I might see what voltages and frequencies they made fans for or the other models that were made in this series of the Models 14 and 15.

Right:  The 1911 1404 on the left in the photo and the c.1915 14040 on the right.  Not too many fan makers pin striped their fans but R&M was one who did well into the 1920s.  Usually a pair of double stripes was used, hand applied, around both the motor and the base.  A single stripe was applied to the sides of the trunnion.   R&M's finish was second to none in this period and their black japan finish was very durable.  It can usually be cleaned up using acetone and a rag and Q-tips with no harm to the japan.  That finish is really tough!

Click on photos in the blog to see a larger version.

There are two wing bolts on these fans.  Here you can see them both painted black; one for the tilt adjustment on the left upper side of the trunnion and a smaller wing bolt, also painted black on this fan, at the bottom center of the trunnion to adjust for side to side position of the fan. The tilt adjustment must be the easiest to use and most secure locking of any fan ever made.  A wonderful design of a simple part.

What is unusual to me is that a brass wing bolt should indicate that the bolt is made of brass and, one would think, a black painted wing bolt would indicate an iron wing bolt.  Also, one would think that brass is earlier and iron is later.  The 1911 model has both wing bolts of lacquered brass.  On the newest fan discussed here, the one with the small, solid cage badge, the large wing bolt is steel but the small one is brass, painted black.  The fan in the center of the first photo and the DC fan both have a brass large bolt but a black steel small bolt.  Such minor details are not uncommon for old fans.  The companies probably used what they had on hand.

Rear bearing caps or covers were never used on these fans.  On the earlier models without the felt base plate a tan fiber cover was screwed to the base which helped to protect the switch and wiring.  Three rubber feet protected the surface the fan was placed on.

Probably a very early R&M 1404 that showed up on ebay.  Note the rear bearing which is not recessed into
the rear motor housing as on every other 1404 and 1411 that I have seen.  Compare to photo above, right.

Below are comparison photos of the early (1911) cage with square back ring and the later cages with the two round rings.  The double ring cages only differed among the years used (1912-1917) by having the smaller solid badge on the 1917 cages.

Cage struts and clips as shown to the right were made of stamped steel in all years and did not differ.  Attaching screws were solid brass.
Blades were highly polished and lacquered.  Cages and other brass parts were probably dipped and lacquered and not highly polished as is commonly seen on modern restorations.  I have never figured out what the "dipped" part of dipped and lacquered is but will often see that term used in fan catalogs of the period.

Some photos, below, of the 30 volt Direct Current, List 15050 fan.  After some cleaning of the commutator and brushes and lubricating the oil cups, this fan runs very well.  I connect the power cord to my variac to reduce the voltage to 30 volts or less and plug it into a power strip socket in which I have installed a bridge rectifier which gives a close approximation of direct current voltage.  The bridge rectifiers are small, about $4 each, and are easy to hook up.  They can be installed inside the base of most early fans if there is room in the base and the fan can then be plugged into a regular house wall outlet.

While the base of the DC models is the same (the switch is not the same) the motor is larger in diameter and deeper, with different construction.   I would say the DC has a better looking motor than the AC versions.  The tubes sticking out from the rear sides of the motor are the brush holders.  Earlier versions differ somewhat in having a screw-on knurled cap.

There were no typical two prong plugs as we know them today until about 1917.  Instead fans and other electrical appliances used "attachment plugs" as shown below allowing the fan to be connected to a light socket.  In the nineteen teens wall outlets began to be installed in buildings but the attachment plugs persisted into the 1930s, by then separable from a standard two prong plug.

Venting on the DC fan motors is very different from the AC motors.  A few large openings on the DC motors contrast with many smaller vent holes on the AC motors.

Oil cups are made of brass and have spring loaded felt wicks in them to wick oil to the bearings.  20 wt. non-detergent is the proper oil to use on old fans.

What about rarity and availability of these R&M fans?  I would say they are a bit uncommon but not too hard to find.   Certainly they are much less common than even the 1902-07 GE pancakes, or the GE "Big Motor Yoke" and "Small Motor Yoke" models of about the same period.  DC models are fairly rare and hard to find which makes sense since Direct Current power disappeard for the most part from our country fairly early.  I bet a lot of DC fans met their fate in the scrap drives of the two world wars.

(To be continued)  I have not yet covered or even mentioned that there are 16" versions of the 1404; List 1411, 14110, etc.  The size difference is about the only notable difference although the first year model 1411 used a square back ring cage but with a front (round) ring that the 12" fan did not use.

Thanks goes to a noted collector of R&M fans for providing me with this scan of an R&M catalog page for the 1911 year List 1404 series of fans.
The only numbers I have encountered are the List 1404 and 1411 fans for the common 110 volt 60 cycle current.

What came after the List 1404 and other CAST IRON R&M fans?
Added 10-29-13

Up until 1916 all R&M desk fans were made of cast iron.  Beginning in 1916 R&M had new designs made of drawn steel, a feature that Westinghouse pioneered for the 1912 model year.  It appears that the cast iron models were still available for a year or two after 1916 but, predominately, their fans would be of the new pressed steel construction.

The new offerings included a 6" two speed fan with four blades, a three speed 9", 5 blade fan- Models 26 and 27 (AC and DC), and 12" and 16" 6 blade fans- Model 21 and 22 (AC and DC non-oscillators) as well as oscillating fans, Models 24 and 25 (AC and DC).  The model numbers were the first two digits of the "List Number" which is the important number in describing R&M fans.

For several years the 12" and 16" fans were available only with 6 blades.  A brass cage was used on 1916-17 fans with a change to wrapped steel cages for one or two years more before the cages went to welded steel.   Before the welded steel cages appeared the four blade fans returned and the 6 blade may have been discontinued.  As R&M information is hard to come by I will leave it at this for now until I can update the details.
                                                                                           Pictured at left is a 1916 R&M 6 wing oscillating Model 24 (List 2404).  This is probably the last year for the large, open flag cage badge to be used and followed in 1917 by the smaller, solid, round flag cage badge, still on a brass cage and with a 6 wing blade.    
1916 R&M 6 wing oscillating Model 24 (List 2404).
The corresponding non-oscillating model would be the
List 2104 which was followed several years later
by the 4 blade List 2110 and the oscillating 2410.

 R&M's famous "THE STANDARD" flag cage badge was
used starting no later than 1908, possibly a few years earlier.
Note the gilt like finish which was used on the cage.
The fan blade was highly polished and lacquered.
Compare this 1917 R&M List 2404 with the same model from 1916, above.
The only visible change is in the cage, now using a smaller, solid flag badge.
Knowing that the drawn steel R&Ms came out in 1916 and that they are found
with the open flag badge is helpful in dating these early stamped steel R&Ms.

1916- open flag cage badge.  1917- small solid cage badge.  1918- the same solid cage badge 
remains through much or all of the 1920s.  Cage changes to wrapped steel.  1919- A bit of 
guessing goes on here.  Due to the wrapped steel cages being uncommon I would say that 
1919 was the last year for the wrapped cage or the first year for a new welded steel cage.  
I have yet to determine when the List 21xx and List 24xx ended but it must have 
been in the early 1920s, to be replaced with new but similar models.

        The earlier cast iron List 1404 and the oscillating 1153 models seem to have been 
available, at least in limited numbers, as late as c.1917 as they can be found with the 
smaller, solid cage badge as seen in the very first photo in this blog page.


  1. You seem to be a very knowledgeable collector and fan enthusiast, any interest in writing a book about this hobby of yours?

  2. Actually I am waiting for someone else to publish a large and lavish coffee table book with well restored and original fans in great settings. But, wait, wouldn't that drive up the price we all have to pay for fans? For now my blog will have to suffice for those hungry for information and photos of early fans. A dozen years ago I didn't know zip about old fans. I still have a lot to learn but wanted to treat others to some of what I know and the fans I have an interest in as well as have a web page where the information stays in one place to make it easy to find.

  3. I have a Robbins and Myers single square hoop 12" "Style" # R-134031. Any info on these?



  4. Hi Greg,

    Your R&M predates the R&M List 1404 and is actually a re-badged Westinghouse "tank" model made from c.1907-1911 and, possibly, overlapping the first 1404 by a short time. Take a look at my Westinghouse tank blog where your R&M will fit right in. R&M was, from its inception until c.1907, a maker of strickty DC current fans. It would seem that, instead of designing their own AC fan, that they contracted with Westinghouse to provide their AC fans which Westinghouse obliged until Westinghouse came out with their drawn steel fans in 1912. R&M, probably seeing that Westinghouse would be discontinuing their cast iron motors and would no longer be able to supply a re-badged version to R&M, came out with their first AC fan of their own design, the 1404 which did not use a centrifugal starting switch as alll of the Westinghouse fan motors had. The later Styles R-134031 (and similar) models have a tiny "micro date" in the lower left corner of the motor tag dating to either 1910 or 1911 which would be the last years that Westingouse would make these fans for R&M and, probably, several other companies that they made fans for.

    The first of the Westy made R&M tanks used a different Style No. which did not have a prefix letter. Otherwise they appear the same as the later models with the only apparent differences through the 1907-1911 run of the fans being different voltages as well as being made in 12" and 16" sizes. These are all somewhat uncommon but not rare.

    Prior to 1911 R&M sold their "lollipop" and "feathervane" air driven oscillators which had Westinghouse Tank motors. For 1911 R&M had Westinghouse make a new geared oscillator. The 1912 version of the R&M geared oscillators looked nearly identical to the 1911 model save for the double ring cage used on later 1404 R&Ms but the motor was no longer made by Westinghouse. No start switch and a few other small changes set the 1912 and later geared oscillators apart from the 1911 model. R&M made fan motor have a "List No." on the motor tag but the Westinghouse made fan motors use a "Style No." on the motor tag. The R&M geared oscillator of 1912-c.1916 had a motor that looked exactly like the Westy tank motor. I presume it was actually made by R&M since Westinghouse had moved on to using drawn steel motors and bases. R&M would follow with their own stamped steel motors in 1916. I hope I have satisfied your curiosity.


  5. I have a Robbins & Myers table fan ..serial # M80 R , List # 1204-A , 60 cycles . .35 Amps works great..what yr was this fan made...and what is it worth. Thanks... Andy

  6. Andy, I am sorry it took so long to reply to your questions. I must have missed notification that you made your comment. I am not familiar with your model of R&M without seeing the fan itself. Most fan companies used a model numbering system that is not easy to learn or understand. Emerson's system is very easy to understand and most collectors do know Emersons by their "Type" number. Information for most other makers' fans is hard to come by and to learn by heart. I have a feeling that your fan may be from the 1930s, a period outside the realm of this blog. May I suggest that you post your question on the Antique Fan Collectors Association website forum. I don't give appraisals here because the value of a fan can vary so widely due to condition, the exact model, and other factors. R&M made a lot of excellent fans for many years. I feel they are under appreciated in many instances.

  7. I have a universal AC/DC oscilating Robbins & Myers fan, list # 2610. It has five blades and is 10" in diameter. Do you have any information on this fan or do you know where I can get information on this fan? Thank you. Linda

  8. Hi Linda,
    Information on R&M fans is quite limited which is a shame as they made some wonderful fans and some of my favorites. The List 2610, if I am not mistaken made from 1916 with a brass cage and up to c.1920 ending up with a steel cage. I am thinking the fan is a 9" one but measure the BLADE, not the cage diameter to check.

    I had a List 2700 which was a DC only version of your fan. I think they also made an AC only model. Here's a photo of the 2700 I used to have:

    You have a very nice fan and I hope you will enjoy its cooling qualities in the warmer weather.

    1. Hi Steve, Thank you so much for your reply and for the picture of the fan you sold. You are correct, the fan blade is 9" and the cage is brass. Do you think that the value of mine would be any where near the price that you sold yours for and do you have any idea where the best place to sell it would be? Everything on my fan works, it just needs a little cleaning and we had to replace the original plug. Thank you so much. Linda

  9. Linda,
    It's hard to say if your fan would bring more of less than the one I sold which I had priced for exactly what I had invested in it. Purchased on ebay around 10 years ago it probably sold then for more than it would now plus it was really an exceptionally nice all original fan. I would think ebay would be the best place to sell your fan but be sure to include many excellent, detailed photos plus a complete description. Packing an old fan for shipment so it will arrive safely takes some understanding of how fragile parts of the fan can be as well as the rigors that shippers put packages through.

  10. Hi Steve,

    I have a Robbins & Myers Oscillating Desktop fan List No 5304.

    Could you please tell me what time period this fan is from?


  11. Bill, I had a hard time learning what year your R&M 5304 is and had to rely on a friend to give me the information. Not too much is written about many of the R&M fans so a lot of guessing has to be employed. Anyway, here's his info: "the 5204 (12 in) and 5304 (16 in) came out circa 1926 - had 6 pole reactor start motors and 4 deep pitch blades".

    The 6 pole motor allowed the motor to run at a slower speed then the more common 4 pole motors yielding a quieter fan. R&M made excellent fans for many years and they are a favorite of mine although I am into the earlier ones from pre-WW-1.

  12. i have a robbins and myers fan but my model number is 8804.110 volts 60 cycles alternating current.4 brass blades.heavy . it has the rm sm flag on flag pole in center.any info on this what year how much its worth.

    1. Hi Holly, If the LIST number on your R&M fan is 8804 I am not familiar with that model. It may be a later fan than I have information about but, with a brass blade, it should date prior to about 1930. The List No. does not ring a bell with me. Are you sure that you have the "List No." correct of 8804? . May I suggest that you post on the Antique Fan Collectors website and ask there. There are a lot of knowledgeable people but even they may and probably will need to see a photo or two of your fan since most of us don't memorize model numbers. Here's the link to the AFCA forum-

  13. Steve,
    I have a Robbins & Myers fan that looks just like the fan on the right at the top of the page. It was in excellent shape until I decided to clean it. I got her back together and plugged it in and sparks came out of the hole that the power cord enters to the motor. I can get the back cover off with no problem, but cannot figure out how to get the front off to access the power cord connection to the motor. Can you let me know how to replace the power cord? The information on fan:

    Robbins and Myers fan
    List #2117
    3-speed AC 16"
    brass blades
    Volts 110, cyc 60
    Springfield, Ohio

    I appreciate information you provide. Thanks, Tom

    1. Hi Tom,
      The 2117 is a model I am not familiar with but it would be one of the first of the stamped steel motor and base models that replaced the older cast iron models in 1916. If yours is an oscillator the front of the motor would have to come off to access the head cord if that is the wire you need to replace. If the fan is a non-oscillator then the rear cover of the motor would be the removable one. Looking at the top of the motor you will see a faint parting line. After removing the screws holding the cover on gently tap and pull the cover off if you can. This may be an exercise in frustration as stamped steel motors can be hard to open up and to remove the stator for a headwire replacement. Sometimes you can get a knife blade, putty knife, etc. into that parting line and help to pry (gently) it apart. Be careful to not mar the paint or metal. If you get the cover off the next step may be to remove the stator but, being unfamiliar with working on stamped steel motor I will refer you to the Antique Fan Collector's website and forum where you can search for what you need to know or post some questions for help.

      If it is just the power cord from the wall to the fan's base that should be easy. Remove the felt covered base plate to access the switch. Any wires that you disconnect be sure to mark as to where they go. The guys on the AFCA will be able to give you some specific instructions should you need them. Often times it is only a worn cord that shorts out. Hopefully no harm has been done to your motor or speed coil by the switch. Good luck,

  14. Found a fan at a yard sale. R&M Fan List No 104 any info on how early a fan this is?

  15. I don't know of a "List 104" but am wondering if you missed a digit when reading the List No. Could the number possibly be 1404?

  16. Hey Steve,
    Thanks for some great info on the R&M's. This past weekend, I picked up a R&M A/C List # 5204 in a garage sale for $20. It looks to be in original condition and is painted black on everything I can tell(except the brass center ring holding the fan blades) including a cage similar to the one on the top of the page on the right side with solid badage. The power cords are original as well as the transformer (?)(wires and insulation are in sad shape) for the speed control switch. I didn't even plug it in to see if worked because the motor is hard to turn over. My question (since I already started taking it apart) - is it worth more to try and restore to original condition and sell for what I can, or just refurbish it with modern wiring and/or other parts along with a repaint (maybe not original colors) to be used as a converstion piece once it it is working again? Also, any idea on what may be wrong with the motor and easiest way to make it work without messing it up. One other thing well I have your attention. Where the base connects to the motor is not the U shaped yoke like the ones above, it is a single piece with what looks like a bolt with a wing nut, it is not a bolt from what I can tell, only a threaded stud for the wing nut - does this sound right? Any other info you can provide on the #5204 would be of great value to me. Oh, it also has on the tag Pat. 3-15-2X X=0,6,or 8, I can't tell which? Thanks in advance for bothering you! Have a great day. Kevin

  17. Hi Kevin,
    I am not familiar with your List 5204 R&M, at least without seeing a photo. I know of no document showing the great number of R&M's "List Numbers" which might give more information about your fan. My contact phone # is shown in my first post on this blog "Welcome to my Early Fans blog" from Feb. 2011 if you would want to call to discuss your fan.

    You might want to first get the fan to turn over smoothly by making sure the bearings are clean and the oil cups are cleaned and refilled with 20 wt. non-detergent oil or, if the oiling provisions are not oil cups, that the motor is properly oiled. I am not experienced in working on fan motors so cannot tell you what might be the problem with yours. New wiring would certainly be in order and some old style wiring is available from several sources. If you visit the Antique Fan Collectors website there are some suppliers listed in the INFO/RESTORATION & SUPPLIES section or just put up a post asking for what you need and someone should answer with help.

    As for worth, a well restored fan can be worth more than an unrestored one to some people but a very good original may bring more money to others. For fans in fair or worse condition a restoration will be beneficial but, unless you do your own work, the cost of a quality restoration will often far exceed the resulting value of the fan. I always encourage people to restore to original specs and colors but there have been some very nicely done custom colors, sometimes making the fan much more attractive than the original colors. But good old BLACK is hard to improve on with the earlier fans.

    Mostly early fans had their motors often mounted in a trunnion with later fans dispensing as they found ways to allow the motor to both rotate and tilt without using a trunnion. Some of the connections of the motor to base can be difficult to figure out how they come apart. Once you accomplish the task you will see that it is easy but different fans have different "secrets". Lastly, a patent search might give some useful information on the patent on your fan's tag. Good luck and feel free to call me if you want.

    1. Steve,
      Wow, your info above has definitly got me set on a path of seeking some more information, trying to make some difficult decisions concerning a restoration, getting my hands dirty at least one more time (I don't mind this part - I have been taking things apart since I was three-it is the putting back together I sometimes have a hard time with-but the invention of the camera has helped), and always asking myself WWID?

      Thanks for the phone contact information (another great invention by people just like us). I will look it up an believe me - you will be hearing from me one or more times throughout this process, if not to ask how or why, to let you know I finally finish 1 of the 1001 projects I always have going on.

      Thanks again for your time and trouble in dealing with ones like me - it is refreshing to know that some still care about others - after the last month or so that I have gone through. I will try to figure out how to send some pics as well sometime along the way.

      Take care and may you be blessed throughout your life.


  18. I recentley purchased a 16" brass blade advertised as having come off of a Robbins Myers "The Standard". Well, after I got it, I realized it's designed for counter clockwise rotation. Oops,learned that lesson the hard way. Do you know what years or model numbers would operate counter clockwise?
    Thank you

    1. I think a good rule of thumb for the rotation direction of the early R&M fans would be that any model having a motor made by Westinghouse, or of the Westinghouse tank type, would be CCW rotating. The one exception would be the R&M lollipop which uses a Westinghouse motor on which the blades rotate CW. A Westinghouse made motor will have a "Style No." while an R&M made motor will have a "List No." R&M started making desk fans right after the turn of the century but they were all DC motors. To enter the AC current market R&M went to Westinghouse and had them rebadge some fans and/or make motors for R&M through 1911.

      CW- Very early R&M DC fans. 1911 and later 1404/1411 style fans. Westinghouse motor R&M 'lollipop". All R&M stamped steel motor fans from 1916 onward.

      CCW- Rebadged Westinghouse motor fans. These are all cast iron motors and bases and would include the stationary tanks from c.1908-1911, the 1911 and later gear back oscillators 151174/1153/1159 (both the 1911 Westinghouse made motor and the 1912 and later R&M version without the start switch), and the "feathervane" oscillator.

      All of the R&M blades will have rounded ends on the wings except for the pizza style 12" lollipops (16' are rounded, at least on later ones) and the very early R&M DC fans prior to c.1909 that have pizza shaped wings. I hope I have covered what you wanted to know and have not left out any model or blade.

  19. I have a Crocker-wheeler table fan that my grandfather had. I think it's all brass. it works great. it has A.C. 110 volts 60 cycles code 6237 . it has 4 4 inch brass blades. it does not have a cage, looks like it never had one. do you know what it might be worth?

  20. A quick search on bay's completed listings on 3-2-13 shows four CW all brass 8" fans with ending prices from $128 missing the cage to $281 in pretty nice condition to "best offer accepted" on an asking bid of $600 to $630 for one that looked pretty nice but with some cage issues. As you can see the prices are all over the place. The overall condition of any fan will have a big influence on the actual value or what someone is willing to pay. I don't follow the prices of the CW brass fans nor have I ever had one so I hope this is of some help. These fans, by the way, did come with a cage and there is a photo here-

  21. hi steve ,I have a r&m , list #2104,it is a 12 in. fan it has 6 brass blades has the old flag badge on the cage. do you have any info. on this model? thanks in advance, jim

  22. Hi Jim,
    When you say your R&M has the "old flag badge" do you mean the large flag inside the open cage inner ring or on the later, smaller, solid brass cage badge? If the former it would be from the first year of the drawn steel bodies, 1916, when R&M produced only 6 blade fans other than their smaller 9" 5 blade fan. The cage would be a brass one as it would be for 1917 but then with the smaller, solid cage badge and, still, a 6 blade fan. I think the following year, 1918, they went to 4 blade fans and steel cages with wrapped wires and that model was, I think, a List 2110. R&M is very hard to get any information about due to lack of available catalog material as well as lower interest from many fan collectors. Too bad as the company made top quality fans and many models. I consider R&M to be one of what I call the "Big Four" fan makers: GE, Westinghouse, Emerson, and Robbins & Myers. R&M was the smallest by far of those four. I hope I answered your questions.

  23. Hi Steve,

    I live in Argentina. I have a Robbins & Myers Oscillating Desktop fan List No 5203. Volts 220, Cyc 50.

    Could you please tell me what time period this fan is from?


  24. Hi Christina, you are in luck as information about R&M fans is hard to find. I happen to have an image from one page of a 1934 catalog that shows the R&M 5300 series fans but also shows two 5200 series which are the 12" version of the 16" 5300 series. I would assume that your model was made for several years during the early to mid 1930s. There would have been a number of different models in the 5200 series with differing voltages and frequency plus a few DC models. I think my first "favorite fan" that I really enjoyed using was a non-oscillator of just about the vintage of your fan. I liked it due to it being quiet when running which was because the motor was a 6 pole slower turning motor.

  25. Hi Steve!

    Can you tell me anything about my Robbins and Myers List # 1404 Serial # 140-1-N ? It's 100-120 Volts. We just bought this and don't know much about this brand. Thank u so very much!

  26. Hi Noel,
    Are you sure that your R&M fan is a List 1404 and looks like those in my R&M 1404 post, above? To my knowledge no R&M fan had a serial number other than on some early DC models that predate the 1404. Sometimes there are some small numbers on the motor tag but, in the case of R&M, none seem to have been used and they would be a "tag" number anyway and of no consequence. If you would like, phone me on my contact number which you will see on my first post:
    I can then advise you how to send me some photos of the fan you have. Did you read the List # correctly? Is the fan of cast iron construction with a brass blade? If not you may have a newer fan that I have little knowledge about as I specialize in the early fans. Feel free to call and I will try to tell you what you have. R&M fans are of excellent quality, at least on the older ones, and the company was a very early maker of fans. I would say that they rated just behind the big makers Westinghouse, Emerson, and GE.

  27. Hi Steve,
    Your site is amazing! So much info, thank you. I am a proud owner of a Robbins & Myer Fan.(it's the best fan I've ever owned and use all the time). My fan was purchased by my grandfather in the early 1900's. and still has all the original parts.
    It looks exactly like the Fan on the right at the beginning of your blog. I don't find it in the list # appearing in your blog. The list # on my fan is very clear and it says List# 2 10 but looks exactly like the 1404.
    The only difference I can find is the layout of the R & M label on my fan has all three values listed on the same line, where the labels you picture have the three values on different lines Any thoughts on the sameness of the fan and the odd List#? Any light you could shed on this family treasure would be most appreciated.

    A million thanks,
    Rick in Ohio

  28. Rick, having a fan that your grandfather bought when it was new or nearly new is wonderful. You mentioned the List No. as being 2 10 but I am certain there is a missing digit after the 2 so that the number should probably be List 2110. I have added some new information to this blog at the bottom entitled "What came after the List 1404 and other CAST IRON R&M fans?" I hope your questions are somewhat answered there but feel free to comment if you want to know more. While your fan may look nearly identical to the featured List 1404 here, it is an entirely new design and construction. Being an R&M it would retain its family resemblance however. The 1404 is an all cast iron fan while the 2110 and R&Ms later than the 1404 are made of stamped (drawn) steel. The steel construction was a fairly new way of making fan motors and bases and resulted in a much lighter fan, good for shipping and for the user to be able to move around easier.
    I am assuming that your fan has a steel cage and four blades and is a non-oscillator. I think that I have photos of one I used to have (a 2110) that I will try to add to the blog.

  29. Hello Steve:
    I have a wonderful R&M List Number 3802 Four Blade Oscillating fan. The tag indicates 110 volt / 50 cycles. Runs great, very quiet. All three-speeds works great. I can't find any reference to this list number. Any help?
    John in Northern California.

    1. Hi John, Are you near San Francisco? That's where I am and feel free to contact me by email on the blog contact form. I believer your R&M List 3802 is simply a 50 cycle version of the common 60 cycle List 3804 12" oscillator made in the mid 1920s. There is very little information available on the R&M fans after their cast iron models in the earlier teens but just changing the specs from one frequency to another would change the List No. A 50 cycle fan will run adequately on 60 cycle current at the full 120-125 voltage in our homes. When the frequency is lowered and you are running on 60 cycles it will help some to increase the voltage which is what's done when running at 120 volts for a fan rated at 110. For a higher frequency than 60 cycles running on 60 cycles you would lower the voltage. A 125 cycle fan should run well on about 65 volts though you have to try different ranges to see what works best while keeping the motor from getting too hot. Good luck with your R&M.

  30. Hi, my 3854, 16' dia. R&M osolating fan works like new and appears to be all origanal. My questio is that i have an idea to repurpuse this fan. Is it worth making it worth around $50 or leave it as is and sell it out right. Thank you for you time.

  31. The R&M List 3854 is a good and relatively common brass bladed fan from the mid 1920s and of high quality. I don't know what you have in mind to repurpose your fan but I always hope one will keep their old fans and other antiques in their original condition as much as possible. It seems a shame to take an antique and make it into something else. I encourage you to conserve your old R&M.

  32. Hi Steve I have found a R&M fan but can not find much info on it.. I haven't found model number but I can give you this much.
    Type- Empty
    Fram -593
    H.P- 1/8
    RPM- 1750
    Amps- 3/ 1.5 or 3 1.5
    Serial number- M15228PD.
    Any info on this would be great I've looked but have not seen any fans that look like this one.
    Thanks, Josh

  33. Hi Josh,
    I think you have a fan that someone may have put together using a regular motor, not a fan motor that would be marked with a LIST NO. I'm sorry, but I have no information about what you have. You contact me by with the CONTACT ME at the top right of my blog page with your email and I will email you back so you can send me some photos if you want.

  34. Steve,

    Great website. I really appreciate the time spent to document R&M fans and help out the rest of us. I recently purchased a list 3804 the needs restoring. I have restored several GE and Westinghouse fans in the past for fun but I was surprised when I pulled this one apart that speed control was via a transformer rather than resistive. I cut the wires between the motor and the fan before I realized that there were three wires in the bundle rather than the expected two. Opps, too anxious I guess. Now I have to figure out which goes to what. Any suggestions? Also is I have never had to remove a stater windings before and always assume that it was pressed into the housing. Do these really "pop" out easily?
    Thanks so much for any insight you may have on these two issues.

    John B

  35. Thank you John. I'm afraid that I can't be of much help to you as I have almost no hands-on experience working on more than the very basics of my fans and I stick pretty much with the easier to work on cast iron fans of the earlier period. I think most AC fans did use a speed coil, a sort of transformer, to control the speed. I hope that I have my terminology correct here. I'd recommend that you post on the Antique Fan Collectors Association website (link at top of my blog) and ask your questions. A photo of your fan will show others who may not know the numbers what your fan looks like. It's actually a fairly common and popular model. Good luck and maybe someday I'll make the time to both add to this blog and learn more about the inner workings of my fans.


I welcome comments, corrections. or new information.