Our History

A lover of trains and antiques. An energy crisis. And the decades of passion, creativity and dedication that followed.

He had a thing for antiques. Burton A. Burton, that is—the California entrepreneur whose personality was even more memorable than his name. Founder of the Casablanca Fan Company, Burton liked to take vintage fans apart and explore new ways to power them. That led to the very first Casablanca fan, which he introduced in 1974 as a belt-driven fan for commercial use. It wasn’t long, however, that the demand for residential ceiling fans skyrocketed. It was the mid-’70s energy crisis, and people needed a way to cool down without air conditioning.

Inside of the Casablanca Train Car

But Burton didn’t see fans as mere cooling devices. To him, they were furniture. His love of antiques showed in his fans, such as his use of brass finish, and Casablanca designs breathed new life into an industry that had been stale for decades. Burton’s unique perspective on the ceiling fan—that it was an essential element of home décor and much more than an appliance—was revolutionary at the time, but it set in place a belief system that we continue to champion at Casablanca today.

Never compromise, never conform

Burton played by his own rules in every way. Even as cheap overseas fans flooded the market, he refused to engage in a price war. The challenge of making something as inexpensively as possible held no interest for him. He eschewed the status quo and followed his passions instead. He built floats for the Rose Bowl parade. He took employees on a spontaneous jet trip to visit an account in Seattle. And he once rode an elephant into a meeting. But it was the trains that really set the marketplace abuzz. Fulfilling a childhood dream, Burton bought two 1940s-era railcars and renovated them to exquisite detail, complete with custom lighting, beveled glass, rosewood paneling and more. Then he toured the country and parts of Canada, stopping at major cities along the way and inviting important customers aboard. Not your typical way to promote a company. But Burton was anything but typical.

A passion for singularity that set a tone

Burton A. Burton was a larger-than-life personality—and we’ve moved far beyond his affinity for all things vintage—but his creativity and dedication set a tone that continues to drive our brand. We’ve evolved over the decades and continue to do so, but always we remain committed to originality and the unconventional approach. It’s why, in 1995, we moved from California to Memphis, Tennessee, to work alongside our sister brand, Hunter, and take advantage of full onsite R&D capabilities—a rarity among U.S. ceiling fan companies today. It’s why we continue to stand alone in our approach to timeless design, engineering and manufacturing. And it’s why you can always count on Casablanca to enrich your environment with ceiling fans that are as reliable as they are distinctive.