Last update 3-11-15 (Instruction sheet at end of page)
|Style No. 80421, two speed tank c.1908-09. Paint is all original.|
A popular and widely available early fan is the Westinghouse "tank" fan, so named most likely as they are "built like a tank" or do look as if they are so built. Squat, sturdy, heavy, nice lines, and made of cast iron and brass, you will find that tanks pretty much all look alike but that there are a good number of small variations made during their seven years of production from 1905-1911. The "tank" is also a relative affordable early fan which you should be able to find in the $100 to $300 range for AC models.
|From a 1906 Westinghouse catalog|
Tanks were made in 12" and 16" sizes, for AC or DC current, and with two or three speeds. All tanks APPEAR to have three speeds, however only DC tanks are three speeds along with one Style Nos. 83239 and 83241 of the AC tank. From the beginning AC tanks were two speeds with the switch having two contacts bridged together, usually on the top of the contacts and visible through the switch opening in the top of the base- contacts 2 and 3 are bridged, below, left but hard to see. I have an early 16" tank from c.1905 with a single speed where all three speed contacts are bridged together (right, below). Did Westinghouse believe that their 16" fan could not restart itself on low speed should the power be interrupted so made it so there was, effectively, no low speed on this early model? All AC Westy tanks use a centrifugal starting switch to engage the start windings. If the fan was unable to start on low speed the start windings could burn out.
Enlarging the photo, above left, you can just see the copper strip that connects the second and third switch contact together. All AC tanks except for one later Style No. have bridged contacts on their switch which is what makes them two speed fans in spite of the switch seemingly having three speeds. On the right photo, above, you can see that all three of the visible contacts are bridged together with a copper strip. This is what makes this early 1905 16" tank a single speed and the only single speed tank I know of as well as being the only known "small motor" early 16" tank.
|Westinghouse's first production fan, made in significant numbers |
and not too dificult to find today, was their "Tesla" model shown above and made
from 1896 through 1902
The Tesla was followed in 1903-04 by the hard to find Westinghouse "pancake", above. Like most pancake fans the motor is large in diameter but thin, and has a single bearing.
The new 1905 Westinghouse fans first appeared in a short-lived series of "Style Numbers" as listed to the right in a 1905 catalog and which would be replaced by an improved model with a new series of Style Nos. believed to have been introduced later in 1905 or in 1906. The first tanks differed in many subtle ways from the later tanks: A slightly smaller motor, different struts, no square bosses on the motor where the struts mount to, a cast hub blade, no cage badge, no fiber cover over the bottom of the switch, an unreinforced trunnion with other design differences and, probably, some other minor differences without taking into account any changes inside the motor. Still, looking at a very early tank it can be hard to see that there are so many differences from later tanks. Changes continued for the duration of manufacture of the Westy tank but, basically, they all appear alike at a casual glance.
To the right are a series of photos of what is probably a 1905 tank, 16" size, Style 60679. Though this particular tank has the early "small motor" and is the only 16" tank I know of with the small motor, it's still a later Style Number than shown in the Price List illustrated above wherein that earliest of 16" tanks would be a Style No. 46972 for the most common 60 cycles and 110 volts. It may be presumed that Westinghouse made some important changes in the motors from the earliest Style Numbers to this later Style 60679 and it's companion 60677 12" model. These Style Nos. lasted until the end of tank production in 1911 and are the most common of the tank Styles.
The rear view of the early "small motor" shows the difference from the later and common "large motor" tanks as shown in the photo directly below. The vent holes are slightly larger, the solid area on the outside of the holes is narrower than on the usual tanks. Note that the back of the rear bearing is painted black just like the rest of the motor. It is common to find much of the paint worn off the back of the rear bearing housing from rubbing against a wall or other surface. All black is the way they were when new.
The photo below, left, is an early "big motor' 12" tank and give an idea of the difference between the motor vent holes on the "small motor" above and the "big motor". Also, better seen when you enlarge the photo by clicking on it, can be seen the early strut design without the large reinforcing rib on the outside of the trunnion added in 1906 or 07. The motor in this photo is sitting backwards in the strut and the tilt thumbscrew is missing.
The photo to the right, below, shows the unique struts used on the small motor tanks. The motor end of the strut conforms to the curvature of the front of the motor. The later big motor tanks had squarish bosses on the front of the motor where the new style of struts mated up to. The reinforced yoke on the big motors went through another change in the areas where the motor was mounted to the yoke. The tilt adjusting thumbscrew was threaded into an enlarged flat area on the new; on the old it had a separate small round boss.
Another couple of photos to the right showing the early struts and how they mate up to the front of the motor. Used only on the small motor tanks for 1905 it is presumed from the small number of small motor tanks that have been seen.
Left: A page from a 1909 Westinghouse catalog listing the different Style Numbers available in their AC fan line for that year.
In addition to the old standby Styles 60677 and 60679 that were designed for 100-110 volts, new Style Nos. 80421 and 80422 had been added c.1907 and designed to operate on 111-120 volts. Other than the voltage differences there is nothing to differentiate between the two Styles.
New for 1909, I believe, were two THREE SPEED 12" and 16" tanks, Styles 83329 and 83421, rated for 112-115 volts.
Finish of brass parts on Westinghouse tanks seems to have been constant through the years of developement. The 1910 issue of Electrical Review and Western Electrician on p. 561 says "the blades are finished in polished and lacquered brass, and the guard in dipped and lacquered brass". This is consistent with what I have observed. Highly polished brass blades but a soft finish to the guard. What the guard was "dipped" into I can only guess. Was it some kind of acid to clean the natural brass or was it a gold paint of some sort? Before you start to polish up your new Westy tank take note of this. You might want to leave the cage unpolished but cleaned. That is how the tank pictured at the top of this post was done and I think it looks very nice. Unfortunately I do not have a good feeling of what the fan looked like before the brass was cleaned with "Soy Gel" stripper by the ebay seller. The wife said the brass was painted green. The husband said, no, it wasn't. Perhaps it was just quite dirty and with some greenish tarnish on the brass. It came to me all clean after which I polished the blades better with Wenol All-Purpose Metal Polish.
WESTINGHOUSE DC TANKS- a comparison to the AC tank.
I know little about these obscure and rare DC tanks but just acquired my first one, an early, c.1906 12" Style 60673. I present some photos here of the motor and base which show the details better than after I attach the cage, blade, and struts. The AC tank is a c.1909 model as pictured at the top of this blog.
Westinghouse's DC tank fan motors are exceptionally plain with no vent holes in the motor. The only opening is in the rear where the wires to the brushes exit the motor in front of the rear oil cup. There are no brass acorn nuts like the AC motor has.
In the photos to the right (front view at the top and rear view at bottom) you can see that the profile of the lower part of the base is different. Both of these are 12" fans, the base on the left is of the later and more common style while the DC tank has the earlier flatter base seen, probably, on the 1905 and 06 Westy tanks. I think it was 1907 when the "taller" base was first used. 16" tanks used the same base, larger than the 12' fans, for the whole time of manufacture. The 16" base more nearly resembles the early style base.
Later motor tags with the 1906 patent date as above, left, are attached to the motor with fillister head screws while the earlier 1893 patent tags are riveted to the motor; you may see some exceptions to this general rule however. Note that the DC tank motor tag, above, right, does not have patent dates. The tag below is from the earliest of tanks, the 1905 Style 46970 with the small motor. From observations it appears that the first tanks to have the 1906 patent motor tag was no earlier than the 1907 model.
Westinghouse "tanks", year to year:
Changes through the years were many but the last tank still looked very close to the first one. Outlined here are changes from my observations and from other sources. It is not easy to pin down certain changes so I have made an estimated guess on some details. If readers have anything to add or correct please leave a comment or contact me.
For the time being please realize that there might have been some overlap in features in some years and some of the details, below, could be off a year or two. I'll be working to make it more accurate as new information becomes available.
1905 First year of the Westinghouse "tank". Motors were slightly smaller in diameter and shorter than in other years. Blade had cast hub, at least on the early 12" models. No cage badge at first(?) but the March 1905 American Electrician shows a cage badge. Center cage ring is solid and the ends of S-wires can be seen and felt on the inside of the ring. Cage struts were different than later ones. Switch had no fiber cover on the bottom. Trunnion was unique and without the strong rib soon added on the outside. AC 12" tank offered with 2 speeds but the 16" model has one speed (ref: March 1905 American Electrician p.140). 1893 patent motor tag. DC tanks also introduced this year. Note: All Westy tanks had a cage with a square back ring with no "reverse curve" segment at the bottom. If you see a tank with the reverse curve cage, that cage came from a stamped steel Westy.
1906 AC motor was redesigned to have a slightly larger motor that remained until the end. Struts attached differently to front of motor. Trunnion modified in several ways, most noticeably with the addition of a strong rib on the outside. Center ring remains solid but S-wires no longer visible on the inside of ring. Fiber cover added over bottom of the switch. 16" tank becomes two speeds.
1907 New base that is not as flat on the lower part as previously used. New models this year rated at 111-120 volts, Styles 80421/80422, added to existing 100-110 volt Styles 60677/60679.
1908 Probably only small changes for '08. 1906 patent motor tag introduced but possibly later in 1908, maybe/ 1909? Motor tag screwed on to motor instead of previous rivet attachment. Center ring of the cage may have changed to rolled sheet brass instead of being solid, or this may have happened in 1909. Addition of the three speed tank Styles 83239/83241 (or possibly in 1907 as the first ones used the 1893 patent motor tag) to the two Style series of two speed tanks.
1909 Introduction of first Westinghouse oscillating fan, the "vane oscillator".
1910 New cage badge probably this year- if not then 1911- with solid banner instead of cut out banner. 6 blade, two speed model tank added to the line or, possibly, in 1909 as the 6 blade was made with cut through as well as solid cage badges.
1911 Last year for the Westinghouse "tank". Mechanical oscillator (double lever) introduced. Vane oscillator continued. Brass oil cups replaced with steel.
1912 For the 1912 season Westinghouse introduced their line of drawn steel fans. The cast iron tank motor "double lever oscillator" and "vane oscillator" continued to be offered alongside the new drawn steel oscillator. (Ref: Electrical Review, March 2, 1912)
1913 This seems to be the last year for a Westinghouse tank motor fan to be offered. The double lever oscillator was gone but the vane oscillator was still offered. (Ref: Electrical Review and Western Electrician, March 22, 1913)
In addition to their own fans, Westinghouse tank fans were re-badged the following companies to sell:
-Western Electric ("Victor"-1st year 1908- then marked "Hawthorne")
-Robbins & Myers 1907 or 1908-1910
-Dayton (no cage badge was used)
Possibly one other?
PATENTS relating to the Westy tank-
Fan Motor Adaptor-
...to be continued, please check back.
A friend just emailed me the following photos of an unusual Westinghouse "tank" fan found recently in an antiques shop in Iowa. He had seen the fan a while ago but the price was too high he said. On this visit to the shop the fan's price was lowered and he was able to negotiate a satisfactory price which was very reasonable.
There are several things about this fan that are most unusual. First, the motor is the earliest and unique "small motor" dating to 1905. Larger vent holes, smaller diameter and depth of the motor, and unique struts that fit the curvature of the front of the motor.
Notice the cast blade hub used only on the first 12" tanks (and possibly the first 16" tanks though I have never seen one). The cage is not supposed to have a badge on these early tanks.
The most interesting thing is the "REBUILT BY Queen City Electric Co, Chicago, ILL" motor tag which completely replaced the original Westinghouse motor tag an was riveted in place as was the original tag. Could "TYPE 04" mean it's a 1904 motor? The tank motor was introduced as a 1905 model but might have first been available late in 1904 although I have no confirmation of that.
Also, for you sharp eyed readers, note that the base is a later base used from 1907 onward with the steeper curve as the flat part of the base curves up into the neck. The owner says this fan has three speeds although I am not sure how that happened unless the later base and/or switch was from a three speed tank model which was introduced in 1908 to supplement the existing two speed tank fans.
The trunnion is still the early style used into 1906. Thank you Dick for sharing photos of your wonderful find.
I'm a fan of original and unrestored early fans and the Westinghouse "tank" is one of my favorites. They are fairly early, readily found, and not too expensive. They are also simple and run well.
Not long ago I spotted this tank for sale on ebay, below, and was drawn to it because of the nice restoration and the fact that you don't see restored tanks too often. That could be because the black japan used on the body was so durable that, usually, a good cleaning will bring back the old beauty.
This one, admittedly over-restored with urethane primer, black urethane, and clear coat, is still well done. The restorer blued the original screws but did replace some with brass screws on the cage clips. The original blued screws in those places were included in the auction. I'm not sure that these fans looked quite so perfect when new but they were very shiny with highly polished brass blades. The cage, I think was more of a bright brass, mill finish or might have been etched to clean it before lacquering and was cataloged as "dipped and lacquered". I see no evidence on original fans that the cages had the same high mirror polish as the blades.
This "tank" is a 1907-08 model. If you look closely you can see the repairs to reattach some of the cage S-wires to the back ring. Westy cages of this style are pretty durable but you will often find some of the wires broken from the rear ring.
|Style No. 80421, two speed, 111-120 volts|
This wiring and direction sheet above is from a packet (below) that came with the 1905 Westinghouse fans. 20 wt. non-detergent oil is the normally recommended oil for fans but I note that it says to use a "heavy oil" in the instruction sheet. 30 wt. non-detergent might be fine.