Prone to restore: A “new” antique fan

I have a bit of a “vintage” thing going on in the room that some would label an “office” at my house. Since I moved in four years ago, I’ve always wanted one of those antique-style, oscillating fans. But because this was only a decoration, I couldn’t justify the hefty price tag of many new fans that were designed to look old (think Restoration Hardware).

I knew exactly the look I was aiming for, since I can be rather particular about things. Some would call it picky, but that carries such a negative connotation; I prefer to think of it as having specific standards. And the fan I had in mind happen to be in a room in the education building of the church where I grew up.

My parents still belong to the church, and I go back to visit as much as I can. So I was very curious when they asked if I could come help clean out the room that they’re currently using as a Sunday School space for their young adult Bible study class. The room that they’re currently in had the fan I was willing to fight over.

I can’t count how many times I’ve been in this room in this building over the last 29ish years. There have been plenty of children’s classes, youth events and lessons that have been in this room. And in those years, there have been countless coats of paint and configurations of chairs. The building itself dates back until at least the 1950s, if not earlier, and the fan was likely original to the room.

I was thrilled a few weeks ago when my dad called and said they had taken down the fan. I don’t even remember the last time I saw it functioning, but it sat on the wall unmoved for decades. You can imagine how much grit had built up over that time. I drove home to help with the last few items in the room and gleefully picked up the fan from my parents house. Before we could put it in my car, we gave it a hefty rinse from the water hose outside. This barely scratched the surface of the dust that had collected.

The next day, back at my place, I brought out the mineral spirits and goo-gone in hopes of bringing this old antique fan back to life. After several rounds of scrubbing, the black blades began to shine, though I still have some work to do getting a wayward smudge of red paint off. (As a side note: whoever is responsible for the bright red paint on an otherwise gorgeous black fan should be ashamed of themselves! I kid…sort of.)

antique fan

Now I’ve got the fan perched atop one of my bookshelves, and I couldn’t be happier about my “new” treasure. It’s all the more exciting that I have a personal connection to the place it’s lived all its life–a life far longer than my own. I’m still figuring out how exactly I want to “display” the fan, but I’m sure I’ll settle on the perfect spot soon enough.

office fan

What about you? What old finds do you have around that make you smile? How do you fix up the imperfections? Or do you enjoy the “character” that defects and paint smears bring?

P.S.–I could easily add this to the things I have that have value far beyond their price.


One thought on “Prone to restore: A “new” antique fan

  1. Pingback: Prone to create: When the mood strikes | Prone to wander

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