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.
|Style No. 80421, two speed, 111-120 volts