July 2, 2012

Vintage industrial fan, locker update, and more.

It's been a hot couple of days in Minnesota, and is expected to get warmer. 
Back in April I was ecstatic when I found a factory near our area that was auctioning off all of it's contents.  I told Mitch as I scanned through the items being sold, "This is the stuff dreams are made of!"  Excited doesn't describe the state I was in.
I had a chance to take the younger kids with me on a walk-through.  Not only was there oodles of fantastic old industrial equipment, but it was an amazing building, too.
Johnathan thought it would be a great place to play hide & seek.  We admired old brick walls, endless cutting tables & sewing machine parts, carts & bins, things with wheels & things with gears, & all kinds of good stuff that makes me gleeful.  
Anyway, back to the heat..  One of the items I brought home was a big-old-dinosaur of a fan.
And by big, I mean BIG.   It's nine feet tall.   At least a hundred pounds.
After I succeeded as winning bidder, I realized I didn't even know if it worked.  
Sure enough, when loading it into our truck, I noticed a tag saying it was out of service.  Darn! 
But it turned out all Mitch had to do was replace the frayed cord on it, which took him less than five minutes.
We also removed the expanded metal mesh that was roughly wired & bent on over the cage.  (for safety regulations, I suppose.)
I think Mitch was skeptical.. wondering what on earth I saw in this thing.  But then he plugged it in.  The beastly thing is impressive.   
It sounds like an airplane, though once it's fired up to speed, it sounds more like a distant light aircraft & less like a bomber.  It's actually not that bad at all.  And the power.  The first time we plugged it in indoors, it revealed in mad whirlwind fashion all the places that need dusting in our living room.  Dust bunnies weren't the only thing flying.. it actually even blew a picture frame off a shelf on the wall.   
It sat for the past couple of months in our living room looking cool, and now with the summer heat setting in, we're finally getting to use it.
After removing all art from the refrigerator & anchoring down any other loose items, it not only looks cool, but it's keeping us cool.
I got it for $22.  Way better deal than buying new.  Besides, I don't think you could find something with this kind of awesomeness new.
While taking these photos yesterday afternoon, I noticed our lockers in the background, and remembered that I never showed a completion photo after this post about working on them.   Here they are, in our entry closet.   It's not my ideal location for them (I like them much better in a freestanding setting) but it works for now.   Please ignore the red state of our front door.. change is coming.
Here is the before picture, still at the factory.   
They don't look so bad from a distance in this poor cell phone image, but they were.  The white paint on them had sloppy brush strokes going every which way. Those units needed rescue.  Since only three would fit in our designated spot, I was able to leave the fourth (that had not been sabotaged with a paintbrush) with it's original finish.
Along with the fan & lockers, this is where I got my totally awesome vintage clock. 
I also picked up a metal table on wheels for Mitch to use for his welder.  He says it works great.   
And two small gray carts, for $3. 
This week I've been getting rid of the matched bedroom set that we've had forever (and has forever been awkward for our space) and I moved in one of the carts as a nightstand for Mitch.  Not bad for $1.50.
Living in very rural region, these kind of industrial bonanzas are hard to come by.  For me, this really was the stuff dreams are made of.  I'd take this over a night on the town or a day at a spa any day.  So much fun, and glad to get new use out of old things.

Some phone images of our factory exploring:



  1. seriously...SO COOL!! would of loved to go there with you! so awesome!

  2. Erin, this was in Chisholm and it was so much fun! I forgot that I got a free table that someone ditched outside, too. It had been auctioned off with a heavy digital scale. I liked the table, but not with the price of the scale, so I never bid.
    Well, whoever wanted the scale must & not the table.. they left it behind in the parking lot. I was allowed to have it!

  3. Looks like you had a great bargain. :) Remember that it is very important that you clean your fans to keep them in good condition. Use soapy water to clean the blades and blade covers.

    Staci Severns

  4. I love the vintage lockers...thanks for sharing!

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  7. Awesome finds and trip to the factory! Looks like so much fun :) I love the flooring in your bedroom!!!