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Ideas and Inspiration

Mar 12, 2013

Lighting Tips

Meet Our Artisans: Tom Frampton

Tom Frampton of The Fanimation Design Team


Tom Frampton can’t remember a time when he wasn’t building something, starting early in his California childhood playing with building blocks and Lincoln Logs. Depending on the materials he had on-hand, a grammar school-age Tom spent his free time on projects as diverse as constructing a go-kart, making a table, modifying his bicycle, or fashioning a wood lathe like the one he used in shop class. At age 10, Tom single-handedly assembled a metal shed – a gift given by his grandparents – to house his tools and serve as a workshop.

In high school, Tom landed a coveted after-school job restoring antiques and vintage gaming equipment for Burton A. Burton (The Burton Co.), a local antiques dealer who became fascinated by an antique belt-driven fan he had seen on a road trip. By the time Tom was age 19, The Burton Company changed the company name to the Casablanca Fan Company and by fiat Tom its first employee. There he honed his engineering skills making reproductions of belt-driven and other specialty fans.

After Burton sold Casablanca in 1981, Tom relocated to Indiana and established his own company, Fanimation, specializing in decorative and contemporary styles at a time when most fans looked industrial.

One common misconception about contemporary styles is that they’re easy to create because the lines are so clean.  “It’s surprising how hard ‘simple’ is to do,” Tom explains. The natural temptation is to over-design something and put in more features than necessary. “It’s tough to pare down,” he admits.

Tom is especially proud of FANIMATION’s new Arden pedestal fan, inspired by a vintage surveyor’s tripod.  Most portable fans are either utilitarian in style or a contemporary tower. “This hasn’t been done before,” Tom states. “It’s such a neutral look, I can hardly picture a setting it wouldn’t fit in.”

The 44”-high Arden boasts a classic grill and rounded blades that provide 50 degrees of oscillation with three speeds controlled by a rotary switch.  The warm Walnut legs complement both the Satin Nickel and the Oil-Rubbed Bronze finishes. The eight-foot cord allows for flexible placement.

The Air Shadow CollectionThe Punkah Fan