The Present

Want metal blades? Wood? How about canvas? Uplights, downlights, or no lights at all? Today's fans are as much about asthetics as they are about function. Here's just a sampling of what the major manufacturers have to offer.

Modern Fan Company's Stratos, introduced in 1988, was one of the first fans to embrace a modern aesthetic. Its blades connect directly to the motor, rather than fastening into the traditional blade irons. Doing away with exposed screws not only makes for a sleek design, it also eliminates rattles.

Polycarbonate blades and a brushed-nickel housing give Quorom International's Angel the look of sculpture. But it's more than just a pretty fan; the blades span a respectable 42 inches, and the cable comes in lengths from 6 inches to 6 feet for a variety of ceiling heights.

It's called the Enigma, but Jaws might be a more apt name for the single-bladed model by Fanimation. It's 30-inch blade slices through air like a fin through water. With an 18-degree pitch, the uniblade still manages to push a lot of air.

The Clairion's blades have air filters built in, so as it circulates air, it also reduces odors and allergens.

The integrated uplighting on Hunter's Charmaine illuminates a room without glare or strobing.

Island style is hot these days, and Hampton Bay's Tahiti Breeze plays right into the trend — plus it's rated for damp locations (just right for that seaside veranda). Pull chains add to the tropical charm, but don't be fooled: The fan is remote-control ready.

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