October 24, 2004|By Mary Ellen Graybill | Mary Ellen Graybill,SPECIAL TO THE SUN
NEW PARK, Pa. — Jay McGinnis, 46, farms 500 acreage of breathtaking acreage a the Mason-Dixon Line, and he has created an abnormal ancillary industry with Woolen Mill Fan Co., which makes old-time belt-and-pulley beam admirers with solid amber blades.
McGinnis finds afflatus in the assignment of Alexander Calder (1898-1976), the American active artisan who added movement to carve and created mobiles.
Although McGinnis is afterwards as the artist of beam fans, he already bootless seventh-grade art at Kennard Dale Middle School. When his parents transferred him to York Country Day School, he begin that he enjoyed the subject. Later, he apparent black-and-white photography. He went on to access a amount in carve at Carnegie Mellon University. Then he activated the accomplished arts abilities to his fan business.
McGinnis credits allotment of his success to adventures in his childhood. Growing up a the fields and streams of Fawn Grove with his adolescent brother, Doug, McGinnis says he admired attractive out the car’s aback window at windmills on trips with their parents. He was able to access and booty afar some old windmills. Art and motion became the foundation for his absorption in designing beam fans.
“Less is more” would be his philosophy. He uses beneath acceleration in the admirers he builds today than was acclimated in Victorian times, he says. Beneath acceleration in the fan blades makes for added appreciable active motion. And the aftereffect of the admirers is allotment amusing and allotment practical, he says.
“It’s aloof the aesthetic, really,” he says, although “they move some air.”
Creating an ambiance that is around-the-clock is the goal, he says, and he believes that the alone way to accomplish this is to be accurate through the absolute assembly process. That’s why an Amish branch and apparatus boutique are acclimated to accord the assignment its old-time appearance. Not alike the aircraft crates are mass-produced, McGinnis says.
“As far as I know, I’m the alone handcraft fan maker that makes aggregate in the U.S. Alike my motors are fabricated in the U.S. In fact, I access it with the actuality that, how can I accomplish it added valuable? What can I do to access the amount of this?
“Parts are solid bronze, there’s no plating in annihilation … and the brand is solid mahogany. All the added blades that I apperceive of are laminated.”
One affair is more, rather than less: cost. The fans, priced beneath $10 in 1886, for example, can amount up to $1,200 each. They were already powered by baptize motors and installed over a boutique table to accumulate flies off the aliment or to air-conditioned the workers. Now they are adorning and use electricity. Selling to architectural designers is usually done through a catalog. When the alarm comes in, McGinnis gets to work. He has an artist acquaintance draw up the plans.
“The admirers accept avant-garde electric accessory abridgement motors, which can be army on a bank or beam or hidden,” says an ad for the fans, awash alone to the trade.
There’s not a adumbration of what goes into authoritative a fan fun. It’s the delicate, balanced, about surreal attending of the old-time admirers abeyant from the beam that appeals to builders and architects.
Although the amount of the crafted beam admirers is aerial by accomplishment standards, McGinnis is acceptable with his art and his farm. It is home to a array of horses, and to peacocks arrest and fanning their bright plumes alfresco a allowance he advised of mostly bottle overlooking rolling hills outside.
McGinnis’ barn, aerial on a hill, is additionally the breezy ambience for folk artists such as Chris Davis and his band, Lucid Dreamers, who accomplish for chargeless during casual concerts on Friday evenings.
But it’s the fan business that is circulating far and wide. Woolen Mill Fan Co. has provided handcrafted beam admirers to such movies as The Stepford Wives and to affected homes about the world. Some of the admirers are awash to restaurants, not to activity flies but to add a blow of nostalgia. A new restaurant in York is installing some of McGinnis’ beam fans, says restaurateur John Browning of Stewartstown.
The apparatus assignment is done through Sunnyburn Welding, an Amish aggregation that uses circa-1900 techniques. Emmanuel Esh does the machining at his home a Sunnyburn Welding in York County.
“The admirers are absolutely affected and beautifully proportioned,” says Isao Oishi, an artist who afresh won the account accolade for garden structures from the Maryland Society of Architects.
McGinnis models his admirers afterwards several aged designs he bought from a 1976 Smithsonian Institution exhibit.
“They’re appealing able-bodied gone,” McGinnis says, sitting in his annular bottle allowance with several admirers bustling overhead.
“The ancient catalogs I accept were begin anachronous aback to the 1880s. And they were originally run by baptize motors — turbines that ran off the baptize arrangement in the city,” he says.
Once beat baptize started, that arrangement of ability ended. The companies that congenital the baptize motors were in assorted cities — Baltimore had one, as did New York.
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