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Historic Fan Exhibit

Long before air conditioning Texas homes had fans to help allieviate the summer heat. In fact, the electric fan was one of the first electrical household appliances. With the invention of the light bulb 19th century homes began being wired for electric lights. It didn’t take long for manufacturers to decide that people needed more […]

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Long before air conditioning Texas homes had fans to help allieviate the summer heat. In fact, the electric fan was one of the first electrical household appliances.

With the invention of the light bulb 19th century homes began being wired for electric lights. It didn’t take long for manufacturers to decide that people needed more reasons to use electricity.

Steve Boehck lives in the Heights and collects antique fans along with his partner Allan Bies. Sixty-five of their fans, and others from another collector, are on display at the Heritage Society Museum at 1100 Bagby downtown. Fans have never become obsolete. We still use ceiling fans and we use them to circulate air from our heating and cooling systems. Portable fans nowadays are often made of synthetic materials and are pretty utilitarian in appearance, but that’s not the case with antique fans.

The fans in the exhibit are beautiful pieces of craftsmanship. The brass blades shine behind polished cages, which by the way were designed to protect the fan from damage not to protect people from the spinning blades. There are small opera fans that work by squeezing a trigger that spins the blades, a fan that is designed to shoe-flies from a table, a beautiful double rotating ceiling fan that the Heritage Society Museum’s Cassidy Gallaher says visitors were ready to buy.

Another favorite is the roller coaster fan that not only rotated 360-degrees, but moved up and down as it did. Fans from the simple and functional to the ornate and elite are on display at the Heritage Society Museum through August 28th.

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