Casablanca Fan Company
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|Founders||Burton A. Burton|
Number of locations
|Memphis, Tennessee (Formerly Pasadena, California)|
|Products||Ceiling fans, Portable fans, Light kits|
|Owner||Hunter Fan Company|
Casablanca was founded by Burton A. Burton in Pasadena, California in 1974. Burton's marketing techniques included inviting customers aboard refurbished 1940s railroad cars from the New York Central Railroad and Rock Island Line. By 1980, Casablanca was selling about US$42M in fans per year. To better cope with the seasonal swings of the ceiling fan business, Casablanca purchased Lavery & Co. in 1984, a Van Nuys, California-based manufacturer of consumer lighting fixtures founded by Arthur J. Lavery in the late 1940s.
Following a hiatus, Burton regained presidency of Casablanca in July 1985, and was named chief executive of the parent company, Casablanca Industries Inc. Reporting to Burton was Richard Y. Fisher, who was named president of Casablanca Industries. He served as chairman and president of Milwaukee-based Diana Corp. (formerly Farm House Foods), which previously acquired a 47% stake in Casablanca. In addition, S. John Gorman remained president of Lavery & Co.
In 1996, Casablanca was purchased by Hunter Fan Company.
In 1979, Casablanca introduced their Silent-Flex flywheel to replace the milled-aluminum flywheels they had been using prior. The Silent-Flex flywheel was a double-torus made of soft rubber with die-cast zinc reinforcements that acted as a shock absorber to virtually eliminate noise transmission and vibrations from the fan's motor to the blades.
In 1980, Casablanca introduced the Slumber-Quiet system, which had a 3-way pull chain switch that controlled both the fan motor and an optional light kit, and a variable speed dial to adjust the fan's speed. This system was discontinued in 1985 and replaced with a variation of the system known as Slumber-Five, which had five fixed speeds controlled by a stepped potentiometer rather than a fully variable speed dial. Slumber-Five was discontinued after the 1985 model year.
Also in 1981, Casablanca introduced their Hang-Tru mounting system, which utilized a self-supporting ceiling canopy fastened to the junction box by four long, heavy-duty screws. The fan rested on a ball-and-socket joint and could be mounted on a ceiling angled up to 42 degrees.
In 1983, Casablanca introduced the world's first computerized ceiling fan control, called Inteli-Touch. The Inteli-Touch control included a three-button (changed later to four buttons) wall controller, a PC board inside the fan's housing, and a small piezo buzzer to emit electronic beeps to verify fan functions. The control was innovative because it featured several programs that could completely automate the ceiling fan, including:
- Light-Minder, which would turn the fan's light kit off two hours after being turned on
- Safe-Exit, which gave the user 30 seconds to exit the room while the fan's light kit gradually dimmed to off
- Fan Minder which would start the fan at high speed and gradually slow the fan down to its slowest speed
- Home-Safe, which would turn the fan's light kit on and off at random times to make an empty home look occupied.
- An automatic demonstration/test program, which would cycle the fan and light through all of the various settings.
The system also had 6 fan speed settings (4 speed settings on the "Chandelier" model) and full-range light dimming, while also offering a one-touch reverse function. This control system made its way onto the majority of models offered by Casablanca from 1983 until its ultimate discontinuation and replacement with the short-lived "Inteli-Touch 3" system in 2010.
In 1990, Casablanca introduced another computerized ceiling fan control, called Comfort-Touch. The Comfort-Touch control was handheld, though it could be mounted to a wall. It included all of the settings and programs included with Inteli-Touch, plus thermostatic control, allowing for the fan speed to be adjusted automatically corresponding to room temperature. Like Inteli-touch, the system included a PC board inside the fan's housing. The system was discontinued in the early 2000s and replaced by Advan-Touch.
In the early 2000s, Casablanca introduced its third computerized ceiling fan control, called Advan-Touch. The Advan-Touch control replaced the older Comfort-Touch system. Like Comfort-Touch, it is a handheld remote control and included all of the fan speed and light settings and automatic functions similar to what Inteli-Touch and Comfort-Touch offered. Like Inteli-Touch and Comfort-Touch, the Advan-Touch system included a PC board inside the fan's housing.
Safety Issues and Recalls
In the late 1980s, a safety recall was issued for Inteli-Touch fans using Samsung motors. An electrical incompatibility between the motor and Inteli-Touch PC board resulted in several reported fires. Following this recall, Casablanca issued replacement Emerson K55 motors to customers who purchased Inteli-Touch fans with Samsung motors.
On December 13, 1993, Casablanca voluntarily recalled 3,264,000 ceiling fans manufactured from January 1981 through September 1993 after receiving 50 reports of fans falling from their ceiling mountings due to a design flaw in the Hang-Tru canopy. Following this recall, Casablanca re-designed their Hang-Tru mounting system and offered customers who purchased recalled ceiling fans a retrofit part to reduce the risk of their fan falling.
On December 17, 2015, Casablanca voluntarily recalled approximately 30,000 fans manufactured in 2013 and 2014 after receiving eight reports of fans unscrewing from their downrods while operating in updraft mode and falling, including one report of minor injury and minor property damage. Casablanca urged customers to contact the company for a free in-home inspection and repair following the recall.
Since the Slumber Quiet control system was introduced in 1981, there have been reports of the circuit board inside the fan's bottom housing burning up. The resistors in the fan's lower housing is to blame, as well as the transistor and heat sink in the upper housing. All Slumber Quiet units have a 50% fail rate. Because of this, Casablanca offered Slumber Quiet fan users a Slumber Three circuit board and pull chain switch, which is the system used in certain models, such as the Delta, Lady Delta, and Mercury to name a few.
- McCargar, Victoria (July 27, 1985). "Burton Back at the Helm of Casablanca Fan". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
- Hyatt, Joshua (September 1, 1987). "The Indispensable Man". Inc. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
- Parker, Emanuel (May 23, 2003). "Casablanca Fan Co. founder Burton dies". Pasadena Star-News. Retrieved December 30, 2012.