I love old fans, you know, the kind where your fingers are at risk while running.
I like to keep them as authentic “as I found them” as possible. Therefore, I’ll replace cords with cloth cords as needed, oil the motor, clean them up a bit, but otherwise leave the original patina intact.
I currently have these in my collection:
This is an “AirMaster” fan that my wife gave to me as a gift. Looks to be maybe late 40s, 50s. This is as-found.
Cleaned up and running like the day it came off the assembly line! I expect it to outlive me.
The little 6″ “Busy Bee” fan was found at a junk shop. I installed a new cord, oiled the motor and it runs perfectly. I suspect the green paint isn’t original and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s got lead in it.
The WestingHouse “Lively Aire” fan runs like new. All original as far as I can tell.
Found this “Wizard” at a flea market. It was totally seized. I applied oil, and got it spinning freely once again. Plugged it in and it ran perfectly!