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In mid 1897 the bulge was added to the rear of the motor which housed a regulator coil with a two speed switch in the center.
In 1902 GE fans got a 5 speed switch and, in 1903, the rear motor bulge was eliminated with the speed coil and switch being placed in a larger, higher base.
Above: Rear of the 12" pancake motor looks like this from 1903 through 1906.
In late 1906 or 1907 a simpler and less attractive motor design was used.
As far as early fans go, they are common enough so they can be found at a somewhat high but still affordable cost.
They have been named "pancake" by collectors due to their relatively thin but large diameter motor.
On the right is a photo showing the "notched clamp" introduced on the 1900 trunnion models to help hold the fan motor in position on the trunnion when the brass wing bolts were tightened.
Technically the 16" pancakes are not true pancakes as they have a double bearing motor and a somewhat thicker motor than most 10", 12", and 14" models. Here is an 1898 10" pancake and the last of that size made as a desk fan.Different versions were made in 10", 12", 14" and 16" sizes, with solid, swivel, or swivel-trunnion frames.There were some wall mount bracket pancakes and even a 10" spring mounted fan where extra quiet was desired such as in a telephone booth.Later 1903 models introduced the partially ribbed base, stamped hub blade, and 8 wire cage with three cage struts and with a slightly modified cage badge but it is the former, earlier style that is the more desired among collectors.In addition to the trunnion model a "stick" version was also made in most years of pancake production.