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One Eck of a Fan! - page 2
By Mark Neeley

I guess it’s the same reason I have always liked the early Chrysler muscle cars. They were never supposed to win. They were the little guy, the underdog, but they did win and they won big. The Eck Hurricane had that same spirit. They were a small fish among a school of sharks, yet they were the ones who invented the first gear driven oscillating fan. The very principle for moving a fan that is still in use today.

I acquired an Eck last year that defines this spirit well. The gentleman that I purchased it from had owned the fan for about 35 years. He had purchased the fan from an old farm estate auction in upstate New York back in the early 1970s. The fan is a 16” Direct Current Eck Hurricane Oscillating fan. It was manufactured around 1910 or so. It’s complete and retains nearly all of its original finish. The 16” version of this fan is huge by the standards of the day. It’s medieval by today’s standard. Its all cast iron body has four gigantic feet that spread out in order to hold the large spherical motor atop the base with the exposed tooth geared oscillator attached to the rear. The solid brass triangular shaped blade wings are mounted to a solid cast brass hub. This fan assembly resides inside of a solid brass guard that has a medallion in the center shaped like the globe with “ECK HURRICANE” emblazoned across it.

If it had wheels or tracks, the 16” Eck Hurricane would make an intimidating entry in today’s robot war arenas. Eck’s have always been rarely seen, but several have turned up in the past few years in South America under the “Tigre Hurricane” name that Eck obviously used to market his fans for the export trade. The advent of the internet and the recent South American finds have greatly increased the number of Eck/Tigre Hurricanes that are known. Prior to the South American finds, locating a D.C. Eck of any kind was quite a feat. Several years ago, I worked on a stationary version and knew of a few more in existence including a rare 3 tab foot first generation model.

The purchase of this particular 16” D.C. Eck sparked my curiosity about how many of these seldom seen fans are actually still around. Logic would dictate that as small a firm as Eck was for a number of their fans to still be around, most of them in running condition, they had to have built an outstanding product that actually worked quite well, or else almost none would have survived.

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