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Author Topic: Help restoring a antique fan (1921 Polar Cub)  (Read 5699 times)
Prof. Albrecht Von Taggërt
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« on: January 09, 2009, 12:28:52 pm »

So while hunting in my basement for a hose for the steam cannon, i stumbled upon this:
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It's a Polar Cub Model G fan from 1921. Made by AC Gilbert in New Haven, Connecticut. I have no idea where to start with something like this, the blades spin freely but it's missing a cap for one of the carbons (as my grandfather called it) similar to the brushes in a dremel, so i am not even sure it has any...lol. It is also missing the plug and some cylinder shaped tube fell out of it...tho i think it's only a guide tube for one of the body screws.

So I am asking if anyone here has any idea how to restore one of these? Shes so cute I must save her!!

Thanks!

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jringling
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2009, 02:01:06 pm »

Very cool fan! I was thinking it was a regular old antique fan... until the last picture with the soda can!

I didn't think old AC motors had brushes. Is there an identical cover on the opposite side? If so, pull it out and see what is  behind it...

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Prof. Albrecht Von Taggërt
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2009, 02:31:08 pm »

Yeah she is awesome!

 I am gonna hunt the area i found it to see if the issing one is still around. The good one has a spring but nothing came out I assume it's gunked up...lol
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akumabito
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2009, 05:28:33 pm »

That 'safety cage' is as pretty as it is terrifying.. Grin
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Siliconous Skumins
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2009, 04:31:54 am »

Yeah she is awesome!

 I am gonna hunt the area i found it to see if the issing one is still around. The good one has a spring but nothing came out I assume it's gunked up...lol

Look at the motor's rotor - if it has a commutator it's brushed, if not it's brushless AC type (probably capacitor start induction motor).  I think I can see the words "60 cycles or less" written on the name plate, which may suggest it's an ac induction motor....  Hard to tell.

SS
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alfa1
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2009, 09:38:22 am »

If it was me, I'd be not trusting an electric motor that old that has clearly not been stored in a known safe or intact manner.    If it was me, I'd be replacing it with a new motor that invisibly fitted inside the old case.
But... thats just me.
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Capt. Barley Wilkerson
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2009, 05:33:41 pm »

agree with alfa1
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jringling
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2009, 07:27:17 pm »

I've a couple of these old fans, though none with brass blades. I use them in the shop, only when I am in the room to ensure nothing get sucked in...
They run fine, no worries...

I'd put a plug on the end and try it out...
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maduncle
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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2009, 06:48:01 am »

I've a couple of these old fans, though none with brass blades. I use them in the shop, only when I am in the room to ensure nothing get sucked in...
They run fine, no worries...

I'd put a plug on the end and try it out...

... on a safety lead with a trip switch! Do you have a powerboard with a trip switch you can use if you do plug it in?

And stand well back...

And wear goggles...

And consider getting it looked at by someone who might know if it is safe to turn it on before you try it out...

Or else - remember what happened to elShogottho's place? And he wasn't even there to cause it!

(HEAVY HINT ABOUT ELECTRICAL SAFETY!!!)
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fciron
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« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2009, 07:43:43 am »

There is safety and then there is silly. If the cord looks sound plug it in and see what happens. Then unplug it.

Unless you have decided to test it atop a pile of newspaper it will be fairly hard to do any damage.

I have a similar old fan and it binds somewhere in the case and puts a very large load on the motor. So I don't run it. Looks great on the desk though.

Good luck and remember that common sense is your best defense.
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SPBrewer
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« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2012, 10:42:31 pm »

What happened to this fan?  I bought one just like it a couple of days ago, and plan to fully restore it.
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Drew P
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« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2013, 05:33:52 am »

I've had one for awhile now with the same intentions. Figured I'd just toss in a new motor-yeah,sounds easy doesn't it?

Has anyone done this before?
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oldskoolpunk
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« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2013, 07:01:16 am »

Old motors are restorable, but it's work.   I deal with this restoring old Teletype machines. There, fortunately, motors were compatible from 1924 to 1959, and I've had to put newer motors into older machines.  I still have a 1920s Holtzer-Cabot motor running.  Teletype had high quality standards and their motors were way overdesigned; most of their gear was leased and they had to send a tech to fix it if it broke. A consumer-grade fan made by A C Gilbert won't have that kind of quality.

First things first. Figure out what kind of motor you have.  If it has both rotor and stator windings, and brushes and a commutator, it's a "universal" motor, and will run on AC or DC.  If you're seeing "60 cycles or less" markings, and see brushes, that's likely.  You'll need both brushes and brush caps to do anything.

Check for shorts in rotor, stator, and to ground. You need an ohmmeter.  For a universal motor, expect some resistance value above 10 ohms.  Any non-infinite resistance to the case means big trouble. Check for breaks in the fabric insulation.  That's what usually fails.  Shrink tubing can help.  When powering it up, use a small circuit breaker and use a GFCI.  (I have a box with a 3A breaker for this purpose, and some plug-in GFCIs.) One alternative to a small breaker is to put a large incandescent light bulb (100W or larger) in series with the load. If the thing shorts out, all that will happen will be that the lamp lights up.  If it only draws 10W or so, it will still run and the light will barely light up, because incandescent lamps have a lower resistance cold than hot.

It may be the case that the power cord is shot, but the varnished wire of the windings is OK.  If so, you may have to replace the power cord all the way through to the connections to the windings and brushes. 

If the windings are shot, or loose in their slots, armature rewinding may be necessary. See if you can find an old Audels Electric Motor Manual, where all this stuff is covered. Probably not worth the trouble. 

I'd do a cleaning, brush check, and electrical check.  If that looks good, power it up with the appropriate circuit breaker and GFCI precautions, making sure it is far from anything that can burn, that you have a way to cut its power off from a distance, and that you have a CO2 or Halon fire extinguisher handy.

All this is probably too much trouble for a fan. Putting a modern motor inside is a good option. 
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Drew P
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« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2013, 02:20:50 pm »

Thank you for the info!
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