If you’re looking for a cool summer destination, why not take a spin to the Antique Fan Museum? Just a half-hour’s drive from Indianapolis, the Antique Fan Museum in, is a treasure trove featuring more than 450 antique ceiling and desk fans. It’s located at the headquarters of Fanimation, Inc., the premier ceiling and desk fan manufacturer renowned for original and reproduction fans. The museum’s collection represents more than 140 manufacturers dating back to the early 1800s, making it the perfect gathering place for decorative arts enthusiasts, gearheads and fan aficionados of all ages. Plus it’s the only museum of its kind that’s open to the public, which makes it a fun and unique experience.
The museum was first launched by the Antique Fan Collectors Association () in 1997, displaying fans acquired by its members. In 2008, the AFCA moved the museum to its current location at the invitation of Fanimation founder and CEO, Tom Frampton. Since age 17, when he repaired his first vintage fan while employed by an antiques dealer, he’s been an avid fan collector. Through his extensive world travels, Tom has curated a captivating collection of antique fans, which are now on exhibit.
A Revolutionary Collection
At the Antique Fan Museum, you’ll discover every kind of fan imaginable. Some are true curiosities; others are works of incomparable ingenuity; and each is a link with the past. Check out designs ranging from ephemeral hand-held advertising fans featuring brands, movie stars and politicians to über-durable fans for railroad cars and battleships. Explore a variety of indoor ceiling, wall, desk and pedestal fans with hot air engines, fueled by steam, lamp oil and—break out your flask—alcohol. And be on the lookout for surprises, like early coin-operated fans used in hotels and one of the world’s oldest electric desk fans, circa the early 1890s.
After you’ve toured the museum, linger in the lobby to learn about the history of Fanimation and to see fans inspired by Tom’s personal collection. These exquisite reproduction models unite authentic vintage styling with modern safety and control features to create fans that represent the ultimate in character, comfort and convenience.
Style You Can Bank On: The Fargo
Back in the 1920s, bankers, brokers and lawyers needed fans that would help them stay cool without blowing away their stacks of cash, stock certificates and legal documents. The solution then was the Savory Airator. A desktop fan featuring horizontal blades in a gilt cage, the Airator created lateral air movement that left their papers unruffled. Re-envisioned by Tom as The Fargo, this safer and more efficient desktop fan offers three speed settings, creating maximum comfort while your communiqués stay put. Available in satin-nickel finish with chrome accents, oil-rubbed bronze with antique brass accents, and burgundy faux leather with brushed brass accents, the Fargo adds the perfect touch to home or office décor.
All That Jazz: The Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald is often quoted as saying “There are no second acts in American lives.” But even The Great Gatsby author would have to agree that Tom and the team at Fanimation transformed the legendary Robbins & Myers Peacock fan, originally designed in 1933, into a thoroughly modern marvel. Uniting speakeasy styling with the latest technology and safety features, The Fitzgerald offers three speed settings, breezy oscillating motion and elegant satin nickel or oil rubbed bronze finishes. Equally at home on the wall and tabletop, The Fitzgerald is a versatile performer and powerful second act.
Now You See It, Now You Don’t: The Air Shadow
Inspired by one of Tom’s favorite vintage ceiling fans, The Air Shadow is composed of four curved blades, combining a striking silhouette and a 43-inch sweep. When the Air Shadow isn’t in use, the blades retract, presenting a different yet equally compelling profile. A handy remote control operates the fan at three forward and reverse speeds, plus you can dim or brighten the light at the touch of a button.
Take another look and discover fans in both an old yet new light.
The Antique Fan Museum
Address: 10983 Bennett Parkway, Zionville, IN 46077
Hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–4 PM, or by appointment at 317.733.4113.
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