Inspired by patterns from a 1976 Smithsonian exhibition, the handmade pieces are assembled in Pennsylvania with foundry work done by Amish masters. Each design can be made in iron, aluminum, or bronze, and can run on a belt and pulley system or a modern motor. Though the fans are reminiscent of simpler times, the production facilities proudly run on renewable energy sources. These beautiful fans are made of honest wood and metal materials, and their visible working parts display the complexity of the vintage technology.
MORE INFO: Woolen Mill Fan Company
- Founded by: Jay McGinnis
- Headquarters: New Park, Pennsylvania
When I was young, I loved to explore my grandmother’s attic, finding all sorts of unusual and unique objects that had been lost to the world. It is easy to see that, in times gone by, we had a certain craftsmanship and character in our object making that we have now lost. Mass production has “cheapened’’ our environment and destroyed these qualities. We must ask ourselves, what are the objects which we possess that will be passed to the generations to follow? Woolen Mill’s objective is to recreate an environment that is as timeless as it is mysterious. The only way to achieve this is to be sensitive to the entire fabrication process. Antiquated designs are carved out in a small pattern making shop. An Amish foundry and machine shop give the work the mystique of character. The fans are then hand assembled in our studio to fit your specific design needs. Nowhere is there a hint of mass production – not even in the shipping crates. Our success has caused other companies to attempt to copy our designs. They have offered to make our fans with the most modern techniques of mass production. I can assure you that when you buy a Woolen Mill fan you are not purchasing an assembly line clone, you are investing in an attribute of our society which has also been relegated to the attic... integrity. Woolen Mills concern about the environment and fossil fuel depletion has led us to a number of renewable energy projects. Our studios electric demands are met by a 3kw solar PV system which uses Sharp (www.sharpsolaritson.com) panels coupled with a Xantrex GT3 inverter (www.xantrex.com) and a South West Skystream 1.8 kw wind turbine (www.windenergy.com). Both of these systems are "grid tied" so that when they are producing more power than we are using, our electric meter spins backwards, crediting our account for periods when our systems aren't producing. Our space heat is supplied by an outdoor Mahoning wood/corn fired furnace combined with a 48 vaccuum tube solar collector (www.sssolar.com). These systems also supply our domestic hot water needs year round. Compressed air is generated by an Aermotor water pumping windmill, which has been retrofitted by our Amish machinist. This machine compresses air and stores it in (4) 500 gallon tanks to assure compressed air for sandblasting and spraying finished. It is our hope that clients and their builders will consider using some of these renewable energy systems in their projects so that we may together conserve our energy resources, curb greenhouse emissions and making a better planet for all.