Antique fan that’s also a foot stool — vintage Vornado hassock fan

antique fan It’s a bird — it’s a plane — it’s a foot stool — it’s an antique fan — it’s our woddity of the week a vintage Vornado step stool/fan combination that Pam found listed in the Salvation Army’s Ebay store. Even if you’re not quite sure how to classify this vintage multi-tasker, you can be sure that it is unlike any stool or antique fan we’ve ever featured on the blog. One has to wonder — who decided to marry a stool and fan into one design? Honestly the idea had never occurred to me — but now that I see it — it makes some sense. Update: Thanks to readers who immediate told us, this is called a “hassock” fan — and they were not uncommon in the days before central and window air conditioning.

antique fan vornado

The placement of this fan must help keep the metal stool sturdy, with all the extra weight and bracing that it provides.

vintage fan

It appears that this antique fan can be pivoted to create breezes any which way. At 16.5 inches in diameter and 18.5 inches tall, I don’t really envision many people using this stool on a table top for a fan — seems a little large to me — but instead as a floor fan that circulates the cool air that has “dropped” to the floor.

vornadoThe company’s identifying logo — in an awesome vintage font — is pressed into the fan near the control knob. Apparently this fan has four speeds.

step stool fan

Antique fan designs are very collectible

We think that antique and vintage fans from the 20th century are quite collectible — and they are *relatively* easy to find, since air conditioning was not very common until… when? the 1980s? Pam owns a wonderful, built-like-a-tank Kenmore fan — the kind you’d put on the floor, it’s quite large. Vornado fans may be the the most collectible. Do we have an readers who are experts in this area of collecting? Pray tell!

Vornado is still in business, making fans and other air conditioning devices. Every once in a while, they come out with a retro inspired design. But we don’t see anything like that available right now. So, if you like the look — and all that steel!– it seems that vintage is the way to go. Be sure to get the wiring checked by a properly licensed professional.

mid century modern fanA special thanks goes out to Ebay seller salvationarmywashingtonarc for allowing us to use their photos of this wonderful piece of design from the way back time machine days. Wanna add it to your collection? Here’s your chance:

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Comments

  1. says

    I just saw one similar to this today on ebay. My great grandmother had a fan/footstool in her house and I thought it was so neat–but hers was gray, not this rusy brown. I think I’d like one of these now–it’d be nice in tandem with my window AC unit.

  2. Jana says

    Also called hassock fans. I just bought one for a speaker stand with lovely grill work. I also just found a picture of myself as a toddler sitting in front of the one I always remembered. Love hassock fans.

      • Will says

        No, they aren’t that rare, they were quite popular back in the day. I own five, I’ve picked up at yard sales over the years, it’s how I cool the house in the summer. The Hassock is like a ceiling fan on the floor and puts out a lot of air. I can take pictures of mine if you’d like. Did you know they were still being made up until a few years ago by Air King? I know I’ve talked to someone about it in one of these comments or on the Facebook page in the past. I’m surprised you haven’t done a story on them before now.

  3. Mel says

    My grandparents also had something similar, but with a smooth top and bottom. Footstool? End table? In battleship grey, just like the poster above commented. I bet you it’s still in Oma’s attic…

  4. Ojamajoe says

    I’ve always had a hassock fan, or two, for the living room in the summer. Getting the cooler air off the floor and into the air is ideal, especially during the day when the windows are closed up.
    I used to see these a lot at estate sales in Nebraska… pretty much every one which didn’t have a ceiling fan or air conditioner! With A/C being so common now, I don’t see them much anymore.

  5. philq says

    My first job was in retail after high school at Two Guys discount department store. They were owned by the parent company of Vornado. The stores closed in 1981, but the parent company is still around and a big commercial real estate outfit.

    • Patrick Coffey says

      The Original Vornado fans like the hassock fan in this post were made between 1946 and 1958 by the A.O Sutton Corp. When A.O Sutton got out of business the Two Guys Department Store of New Jersey bought the rights to the Vornado name and used it as their house brand. I have seen Vornado Steam Irons, Transistor Radio’s, Christmas Tree Lights, Blenders, Ice Crushers, and of course fans. I would love to know just how many products they slapped that name on. Later on Two Guys changed its name to Vornado Realty and as stated even thought Two Guys as a store has been out of business since 1981 Vornado realty is alive and living.

      • Mark says

        So THAT’s how the Vornado name started showing up on all those other appliances. Always wondered that……..

        Prices on these have gotten high for good reason, they’re REALLY good. I have one of these Hassock fans, and if you don’t have central air, they’re a summer life saver. Mine moves cool air from bedroom (where the window unit is) to living room. Very effective, and MUCH more powerful than modern fans you buy.

        Even better are the Vornado (A.O. Sutton, that is….) window fans. One of these will really cut down on AC usage in the summer. There is a nice guy in Wisconsin (I believe) with a restoration company called “Crescent Industries” (www.rcrescent.com) who repairs them. Well worth the postage getting it there. He does great work.

  6. tammyCA says

    We had a hassock fan when I was a kid but it was a different design…battleship gray or dark brown. We always fought over who got to sit on it…it basically only cooled our legs that way.
    I love fans…can’t even sleep without the sound of one. Just bought a little ’50s cutie aqua Zero from eBay a few weeks ago…pricey but it looks brand new. It’s like the little sister of the blue Eskimo I got years ago at the flea.
    Many years ago I used to have the best workhorse of a fan a friend dug out of her garage for me during a heatwave..a big square box fan with a totally broken grill…but, it was powerful & cooling & lulled me to sleep & drowned out noisy neighbors…I loved that it sounded just like a vintage plane…I even called it the B52. I was rather upset when it finally gave up the ghost…hmm, might need to find one just like it.

    • Patrick Coffey says

      Tammy both your Zero and your Eskimo Fan were made by the same company, Bersted Manufacturing, so they truly are sister fans.

  7. Jay says

    Hassock fans tended to keep the air down at the floor beacuse the blade was fixed horizontally. This one is kind of unique because the fan pivots in different directions allowing the direction of air upward. They were meant to be used as footstools not stepstools which I think would be dicey as the metal housing is probably not designed to support the full weight of a person. Nice styling! No one seems to want to clutter up their floors these days but fans still serve a purpose, escpecially when it’s not hot enough for the AC.

  8. Joyce W says

    We just got one of these from my husband’s cousin but ours is by General Electric and a very light grey color. She inherited her mom’s house and is cleaning out all the old things (most seem to making their new home in our house!). When I saw it at her house the 1st time, it was love at first sight!

    • Patrick Coffey says

      The current Vornado fan company was started in 1989 to manufacture a modern interpretation of the “classic” Vornado fans.

  9. Cathy says

    My grandparents had a hassock fan. I would rush to sit on in when I got home from elementary school in the ’60s. The air would catch under my dress and really cool me off in those days before air conditioning.

  10. Susan Little says

    We had two hassock fans when I was a kid (in the 50s and 60s); however, they were square and made of blond wood with open horizontal slats in the sides. The fan stayed horizontal, and I remember that I loved to sit on them when it was hot because they blew air up and around the seat top and my hair would blow up into the air. They were great for staying cool. I have no idea where they went, but I wish I had one of them now!

  11. Heidi Swank says

    I’m just so happy you used the word “hassock.” I grew up only knowing that word to reference a footstool. I miss it!

  12. says

    I am just now seeing this post but it made me smile! I have a floor fan that was distributed by JCPENNY back in the 60’s and it is in perfect working order and is POWERFUL! It cools down a entire room and has that perfect retro look!
    Love it!

  13. rebecca says

    My son and I stopped by an estate sale yesterday – not exactly a granny ranch, but close. In the basement my son said “Mom, look at this cool thing, what is it?” “oooo, it’s a hassock fan!” said I (having just been looking at this post a few days before). At $12.50, it is now ours! It is that industrial mottled blue-green color on the top and cone-shaped shell holding the motor, stainless rings making up the sides. It sits on three u-shaped legs of slender stainless tubing. It is called “Wizard Hassock” (no additional brand noted). We’re moving to a MCModest home on Thursday – no AC! We’re going to love this.

    • pam kueber says

      So cool! haha, punny. Always a smart idea with these old things: Get the wiring checked by a properly licensed professional.

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