Wincharger Tail Fins

Written by Gus Stangeland and reproduced here with his permission.

This article will cover only tail fins which I am familiar with which were used on 6-volt and 12-volt Winchargers. I have just recently located and bought several old 6-volt Winchargers in various conditions, some very poor. I have now restored a few of these and this article is about how I made reproduction tail fins. Some of the tail fins that I got might have been straight enough to clean up and repaint, but by doing that, I would lose the only lettering I had. So I chose to find a way to make copies of them. As you see below, I have three different versions of tail fins. There are many more. Return to Standard Wincharger Tail Fin. This is probably one of the more common tail fins on Winchargers built in the '40's. It is made from two pieces of sheet steel which are bolted to the angle iron tail arm. Across the back part, there is a cast crescent piece that is used to keep the fin straight. As you can see, the lettering on this original is barely readable, especially the bottom part, but there was enough there to determine the font type and size used for the lettering. To make this copy, I took the original unit to a sign shop. The sign maker created the artwork on his computer. He then sent the output to a special cutting machine which cut out the lettering from a vinyl sheet. The sheet metal panels were cut out and painted black. They really ARE black. The color on the photo is off color due to the camera flash.

Crosley Tail Fin. Although it certainly is not obvious by looking at this original tail fin, this unit was yellow with black lettering. It is so badly rusted and faded that it is hard to tell what the colors were. This particular tail fin was on a Wincharger that was mounted on a barn and used for a weather vane. (See the barn photo in the photo gallery). So this tail has been outside in the weather for some 60 years. Although the lettering was sort of readable on this unit, I helped the sign man out. I found this "Crosley" logo on eBay related to a Crosley radio. From there, I cleaned it up and copied it to a disk for the sign man. So this is an exact reproduction of the Crosley logo. The words "Farm Radio" underneath were just a standard italic sans-serif font. The "Wincharger" name below is the same one used on the tail fin above, except reduced in size somewhat.

Zenith Tail Fin. This original Zenith tail fin is actually in pretty good shape, but again I did not want to destroy my only copy of the lettering by sand blasting it and trying to re-paint it. For some reason (maybe some one can explain) this unit is made in one piece and is a little narrower than the others. Here again, we have more fancy lettering. The "Wincharger" logo at the bottom looks similar to the others, but it has less curvature and the Zenith logo is quite unique. Since the lettering on the original was quite intact, I actually placed this tail fin on my scanner and scanned it. I then gave a digital file plus a full-size printout of the lettering to the sign man. This worked out quite well to make a perfect copy of the original.

High quality "cast" vinyl decals and paint stencils are now available under resources/part suppliers of this website:  Wind Charger Mike


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