Friday, May 22, 2009

Antique Fans (and Clocks, too): A visit with Mr. Stan Good

Back on May 17th I featured an unusual clock and fan shop. Surely there can't be another one like it. What makes it unusual is that there are fewer and fewer clock and fan repair shops, but surely none just like this one. It's special. From the outside one could only guess what might be hiding inside and many of you were intrigued by the eclectic collection of clocks and fans arrayed outside of the shop. But, you wanted more. A peek inside. If by my description it was half as good inside, and if my description of the man who owns the shop, Mr. Stan Good, was close, we'd have a fascinating story that would be well worth sharing with more depth and photographs taken of the interior. Well, here's more on this unique man, his passion and all-consuming hobby and business, and his love of music. See, the shop's exterior could only begin to tell the story. (Visit my other blog, to see almost two dozen additional photos of the amazing shop and museum.)

Mr. Good welcomed me into his shop today and his manner and warm personality are quite infectious. Within moments it's clear he doesn't just repair clocks or fans, nor is that what's contained in his heart and soul. He's a man consumed with life, the music he enjoys creating, the lyrics that are his true love (plus his lovely wife Dominique who is his partner and fellow traveler on this journey.) At 63 years old, Mr. Good has the talent of a cartoonist, which he practiced for many years, and a musical lyricist (which may finally cause him to uproot and leave Tampa after almost four decades) and move it all to Branson, Missouri. But today, with this total stranger at his heels he took me on a whirlwind tour of his fan museum. The two story building beside the smaller shop is filled with fans from the simplest to the most complicated in design and mechanical operation. Remarkable. Mr. Good talks of Edison, Tesla and early invention. The fan evolved at the hands of brilliant engineers and brought cooling to homes, businesses and even funeral homes. One model that caught my eye featured a small shaded lamp sitting at each side of the shrouded blades covered by movable louvers. This particular fan was popular in funeral homes, its intricate design, illumination and ability to move the otherwise stale air about was just the accessory to stand beside the coffins. I was thoroughly intrigued. Another fan was driven by water and worked very well Mr. Good assured me. But it used far too many gallons of water for its own good and was replaced by that scary electricity.

The museum was overflowing with fans, neatly shelved, categorized and properly signed with each fan's age, manufacturer and features. Until one listens to their history, you would never imagine how important were the developments and sharing with other inventions we also take for granted in our lives.

One fan was a total mystery until I was told it sat on a dining table and its wide, light fabric-covered arms would spin quietly to keep flies away from the table and meal. It seemed as I followed my host around that the fan itself (in all its many styles and varieties of engineering over a hundred-plus years) was far more important than most anyone today could imagine. Stan Good's collection of nearly 1,500 fans is one of the largest in the world and his museum provides the opportunity to follow our history of need met by genius that led to manufacturer and relief from the heat. It's a story you do not expect and I can't imagine anyone telling it better. Yes, he repairs clocks and sells them too. And obviously his world is one big fan. But his musical talent pulls him, sustains him and may even move him away. If the right buyers come along, the money comes together and the real estate market begins to show life, this entire place may vanish like Brigadoon, only to come alive again in another time and place. Simply magical. But it can't ever be better than this, right here and now, with Mr. Good leading you through the details of each motor, blade and stand. For a low annual fee one can enjoy the collection for an entire year. Even if you accepted the challenge, no one will match Stan Good and his near lifetime knowledge and obsession with fans.

A clock repair man he's called, but given any amount of your time Stan Good will prove to you to be much, much more. If you find a man one day, sitting in Missouri, sketching a cartoon while humming a catchy song lyric, look for the most elaborate fan you can imagine. That'll be Stan Good. Say hi. Ask him how fans came about. Sit and give him a long while to begin to tell the story. Visit for more photos of Mr. Good, his shop and collection.


Don and Krise said...

Thank you Frank. When I think of Stan, I think of many others like him. What we commonly refer to as a "dying breed." A true old fashioned craftsman. One who does not collect merely because he can afford it, but because he is truly passionate about what he collects.

Vogon Poet said...

Im so glad you got inside, this is a good story, now I'm going to check your photos.

Lois said...

What a fascinating person and place! Thank you for giving us a glimpse.

nobu said...

Lovely fans!!