Mention Tara fans to someone who has sold or repaired fans for a number of years, and most likely s/he has not heard of them. But if s/he has, you will invariably hear one of two things:
-"Very good variable speed fans, the Taras."
-"Those? Those are cheaply made!"
So here we will address the issue of Taras being cheap.
The factors that invariably come up:
1. The Flywheel. One of the most common repair issues with Tara fans is a broken flywheel, and most if not all Tara fans that are still in operation have had the flywheel replaced at some time. There is an
entire section of this site devoted to flywheel replacement.
However this is really not a fair criticism of Taras, as Southern Fan Co did not make their own flywheels, they purchased them from the same company as every 70s-80s fan company, and therefore most if not all
flywheel fans from this era faced the same problem. Homestead fans were the worst, they used the same flywheel to mount 6 blades. Casablancas were least likely to have this problem, which is interesting as supposedly Casablanca patented the flywheel and therefore all other companies had to buy from them (interesting how all their competitors flywheels had problems). That information is unconfirmed.
2. The Blade Arms. It's been said the blade arms on Tara fans are lighter, cheaper metal and therefore more prone to breaking
They seem like any other cast pot-metal blade arms to me. All cast blade arms are prone to breaking, they're the structural weak point in most fans.
3. No pullchain. Tara fans have a variable speed control and no pullchain, the fan can only be controlled by reaching up to the switch housing.
Supposedly this was deliberate and not a cost cutting measure. The fan was designed so, if it were to be mounted on a higher ceiling where the speed knob could not be reached, the variable speed control could be removed from the switch housing and mounted as a wall control. More details
4. Plastic mounting flange: the bracket that holds the motor and downrod together is made of plastic.
Here's where I say "what were they thinking?" A fan made in a steel plant and yet a part that structurally holds the fan together is plastic and cracks easily under stress. Perhaps it was deliberate, they were trying to isolate vibration. Doesn't seem like it would cut a lot of costs to outsource a plastic part that could be made steel in house . . . I'll have to ask someone. Anyhow there's a
page dedicated to this part as well.
1. Good motor. The Tara uses an 18 pole GE motor, which is equivalent to the Emerson K55 (the GE is no longer made while the K55 still is). There was also an equivalent Fasco motor and the Emerson K63 and others. These motors formed quality the standard for showroom grade fans in the 80s, along with the renowned Hunter Original.
2. Blade pitch. The Tara fan uses a 13 degree blade pitch. This may not sound like a lot in these days of publicized 15 degree and up blade pitch (combined severely underpowered motors but dont get me on that
soapbox) however the standard at that time was 11 degrees, so 13 degrees was an improvement.
3. Materials. The castings are thick and heavy, the majority of the fan is steel construction and the blades are solid wood.
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