Any time I lose an eBay auction I always wonder what the other guy’s maximum bid was.
I have an old fan in my bedroom that I’ve owned since college and it’s been used… heavily. It no longer oscillates and for a time, the rotation would rev up and slow down, like it was huffing and chuffing just to keep spinning. Somehow it’s straightened itself out, but last week the front blade-guard fell off. I could maybe repair it, but I already repaired it once a couple years back and honestly, I think this is maybe just a sign that it’s time for something new.
Out in my garage, I’ve got an antique Westinghouse fan that I refurbished several years ago. It’s a tank, and looks like it was built in the 1950s (that’s it on the left). Accordingly it still runs excellent, but it is something of a safety hazard since you can stick your hand right through the grille. So I dig stylish fans. I’m not obsessive or a collector of them (yet?) but I appreciate the cool ones. (yuk yuk!)
I get on eBay and sort through the junk piles until I find one that kind of excites me. It’s made by this company called “Kuo Horng”, which turns up very few relevant search results if you google it. One of the relevant results that does turn up, however, is a forum post on a fan collecting forum (ok, here we go!). It’s a positively ridiculous thread, with some dude posting a mind-boggling amount of pictures of his VERY VERY VERY extensive fan collection. Good grief! When I realized how long the list went on, I literally burst out laughing. Part of me thinks it’s really funny that someone would go to this length to collect all these fans. Another part of me is like, damn… this is AWESOME!
Enthusiasm is contagious and even without talking to these people, you can tell that they are all about this shit. It’s cool just to check out their endless lists of obscure fans they collected with neat retro stylings. Which brings me back to this fan I was interested in: it’s a Kuo Horng model KH-603 16″ oscillating desk fan (that’s it on the right). I learned that the buttons used to select your speed are called “piano keys” when they are built in this style; just like… piano keys! Neat! I was a little put off by the price so I slept on it. The next morning, I decided screw it, I love how this thing looks, I’m going to bid. Usually I compulsively watch the end of eBay auctions, but for whatever reason, I snoozed on this one. And I got outbid! The nerve! I was sort of surprised by my own reaction. Turns out I really wanted that fan. I clicked on the guy who won the auction and saw this:
Pfft, it figures. Every single auction he’s been involved in for the last several weeks concerns fans. Outbid by a collector. I guess that just means I have good taste. Out of curiosity, I went digging around the web for more pictures of these fans and stumbled upon another set of pictures (by the same guy as above!) that showed the whole insane collection. Just look at this, it’s absolute madness:
And that’s only part of it. Incidentally, I think he’s got the fan I was bidding on–3rd one right of center. And again, on one hand I have to laugh at the ridiculousness of this compulsive desire to collect every model, every color of … DESK FAN. Then on the other hand, I look at my model railroading hobby and say, well, really, you’re not so different than this guy. Admittedly, my collection of trains is not nearly a fraction as epic or outlandish as this gathering of fans, but given enough years, something tells me I will approach the same asymptote.
But, just… damn! LOOK at that. I wonder how many of those have funny or perplexing stories about how he obtained them? I wonder how he got into this hobby of fan-collecting in the first place? I wonder if all his friends think he’s crazy or if he has like a core group of homies who come over every 2nd thursday of the month and they go back into this room and just cheeze the F out over this stuff**? I wonder if he keeps this room a secret from people until they really get to know him? It’s an obtuse behavior, sure, but really, I think lots of people have something similar to this that they “geek out” over. More socially acceptable hobbies that approach or exceed this level of fanaticism would be pro sports, cars, MMOs, role playing, Otaku, quiltmaking, model trains, etc etc. Just under the banner of “pro sports” alone, there’s probably thousands of flavors to choose from with an incomprehensible number of stats, names, and associated minutia to memorize.
I find it fascinating that people get so deep into these seemingly random, tangential hobbies of collecting stuff like this. And by ‘fascinating’, I mean ‘I secretly want to join their ranks. maybe.’ I leave you with what we in the know call piano keys. Feeling the lust? Maybe you need a fan to cool you off. ;)
*Addendum #1: If you dig the fans herein, make sure to check out my photo collage of the sweet vintage fan I ended up getting.
**Addendum #2: My friend mister NineTenthsShavinPowda describes 100% perfectly what kind of conversation goes on in the secret fan collector lair: “Ha. I literally burst out loud picturing a bunch of fan-fans ‘cheezing’ out in this guys room. “OOHHHH damn niggaahh you got the 1977 Ultra Rare Prototype GE 13″ fan!” “Hell yeah bitches I esniped the fuck outta dat and then I modded it with the blades from the euro-only 1984 model to give it 12% more CFM, and added the silent basket from the 64 model to reduce the noise bro!” “SHIIIIITTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
*** Addendum #3: Dead links removed.