The Emerson 'Tripod"Type FI-1 is one of the earliest fans marketed for AC power. Earlier fans were mostly designed for Edison's DC (Direct Current) systems. The Tesla/Westinghouse AC (Alternating Current) system was superior but took several years before it came to dominate the old DC sytems.

The Tripod has a large and extremely well-designed motor mounted to a seemingly delicate support, however it is a very sturdy and extremely reliable fan. The switch on the back has three settings: the first draws high wattage to start the induction motor; once it's running the switch can be turned to 'run' for very high-power operation, or one more turn to 'slow' for slower but still very powerful output.

The blades were patented by Herbert L. Parker in 1899, with a unique shape and curvature designed to increase airflow, particularly towards the center. Although many 19th century patents were very exaggerated in their claims, the Parker blades really did deliver on their stated promises. Emerson used (and improved) this design for decades. For such an early fan it is astonishingly effective today, with a very durable and relable motor and extremely efficient air flow. This is one antique fan that is not merely beautiful, but very reliable in everyday use well over 100 years later.