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Did I Buy a FrankenClock? "Click" to Login or Register 
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
It's deja vu all over again . . .

When I started collecting pocket watches, I bought a few Roll Eyes that weren't exactly type-correct. I've since been educated by the watch folks at IHC 185.

Recently, I began buying a few mechanical clocks for display in the house. Today, Sally and I went on one of our regular Saturday antique outings. I didn't have it in mind to buy a clock, but when I saw this one for $80.00 I couldn't pass it up. It's a Seth Thomas small OG-type wall/mantel clock. It's an 8-day, hour-only chime clock, 16 inches tall. The case has what I believe to be the original finish (although it's been lacquered), and the squirrel illustration with black background looks perfect (hmmmmmm). It's obviously a cardboard reproduction dial, but for 80 skins I couldn't resist. Plus, it runs like a champ.

When I got it home, I verified that the case label indicated a ca. 1875 case. But then, I noticed something a bit funny. The winding and chime winders are located BELOW the dial face. Becoming curious, I removed the face. Sure enough, it is a legit Seth Thomas movement. It's marked:

S. Thomas
Plymouth, Conn.
U.S.A.
6 3/4

Also, the back side of the painted bottom portion is all black, which raised some red flags for me as to whether the squirrel may be a decal as opposed to an original illustration.

Can anyone tell me what I have? I'm beginning to suspect that someone took a nice, legit Seth Thomas movement from a trashed case and reinstalled it in a nice, legit Seth Thomas case that in point of fact is too small for the movement. This may explain why the winders are below the face, and not in the middle.

Any thought appreciated. Photos below:

 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
Inside:

 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
More inside:

 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
More of the inside:

 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
And more inside:

 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
posted
This looks like what was called a cottage clock.The winding arbors are where they are supposed to be.You need to take the dial off so we can see the movement.I see there are three screw holes next to the gong that indicate that there was an alarm there originally.Also it still has the brass alarm setting dial behind the hands.The alarm missing may be the only thing that is "wrong" about the clock.The paper dial is a replacement.The original would have the ST in a diamond logo on it.Regards.Norm
 
Posts: 484 | Location: Georgia in the United States | Registered: August 04, 2010
IHC Member 1736
posted
Mike, Great project. I've had a ton of fun with my clocks... somehow, it seems to be a natural excursion from from the main track.

Kind of like a day hike to see a waterfall a few miles off the main trail.
 
Posts: 2032 | Location: San Diego, California in the USA | Registered: August 30, 2012
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
Thank you very much, Norm. Below I'm posting several photos of the movement, along with a couple of other parts. FYI, although you probably already know this, the piece of wire extending down from the left activates the hour chime.

Really appreciate the help!

Regards,

Mike

 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
Movement 2

 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
Movement 3

 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
Movement 4

 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
Movement 5

 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
Movement 6

 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
Here's a photo of an extra part that was loose in the case bottom. Part of the missing alarm assembly?

 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
Here's the front of the brass part behind the hands.

 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
Here's the back of the same part.

 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
And as long as I had it off the clock, here is the back of the dial.

 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
IHC Member 2030
posted
Looks Franken-cool. I can't help with identification, but a case that age may have had several resto's. Squirrels are a nemesis at the bird feeders, however the decal seems to be pleasing.
Mike
 
Posts: 1108 | Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia in the USA | Registered: February 08, 2015
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
Thanks Paul. I really do enjoy tinkering with the simple stuff. For this one, I'm wondering if it makes sense to look for an original alarm to make it complete. But then I'd have to figure out how to install it Confused
 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
Mike, thanks for the thoughts. I just don't know enough about woodworking to have any idea what kind of work may have been done on the case. But to my eye, the only obvious problem is a slight crack on the left side of the case. But then again, I guess that's why people do restorations in the first place--to bring them back to original condition . . . I agree that this piece is cool, missing parts or restorations notwithstanding.
 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
posted
Hi Michael,I think you have an original clock.you can probably find an alarm on ebay.In picture 5 that odd looking lever is supposed to go behind the alarm insert and acts as a stop for the alarm.There would be a wire go from there down to the alarm mechanism that would trip it and make it go off.The alarm mechanism has a spring that you wind with the key.It's been several years since I worked on one of these but I'll try and find some pictures for you.Regards,Norm
 
Posts: 484 | Location: Georgia in the United States | Registered: August 04, 2010
posted
Hi again Michael,Found an Ingraham alarm clock on ebay that shows the alarm mechanism.Go on Antique Clocks and look up Seth Thomas was very similar as were they all.Some had a separate bell that they struck.Any way look at this one and you'll get an idea of what they look like.Norm
 
Posts: 484 | Location: Georgia in the United States | Registered: August 04, 2010
IHC Member 1291
Picture of Buster Beck
posted
Alarm mechanism;

regards,
bb

 
Posts: 6361 | Location: Texas in the USA | Registered: July 27, 2009
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
And here's a Seth Cottage Clock with the winding arbors below the dial, per Norman's comments. This is taken from an intentionally unnamed source on the internet. It shows the alarm attached. It's smaller than mine--14" v. 16" tall. The strike configuration is slightly different also, in that 1) it has what appears to be a bell outside of the circular strike wire, whereas mine has a similarly shaped "bell" behind the strike wire; and 2) my strike hammer appears to emanate from the middle of the movement, while this one appears to come from the alarm mechanism itself.

Also, there are are a few inexpensive used alarms from my exact movement on the flea that are available for a reasonable price.

Paul, if I were to procure one of those alarms, how would you feel about taking a crack at installing it for me--your normal rates apply, of course Smile Same goes for you Norman, if you're still working on these Smile

 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
Movement:

 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
posted
Hi Michael,If you are mechanically inclined,i don't see why you shouldn't take a stab at it yourself.The screw holes are there where it used to be.make sure you get the right one and have at it.I don'e work on clocks any more as arthritis in hands limits what I can do.Regards,Norm
 
Posts: 484 | Location: Georgia in the United States | Registered: August 04, 2010
IHC Member 1725
posted
Hi Michael,

Just looking at your clock, looks like a nice clock and worth making it right. I agree with Norm that you should be able to replace the alarm mechanism yourself without a lot of trouble. I don't know why but a lot of times when you find these types of clocks it is very common that the alarm mechanism is missing. The piece that you
showed that goes behind the hands with the roman numerals on it is for turning to set the alarm. There should be a wire that it trips to activate the alarm. These alarms are not extremely accurate, but are fairly good enough for baking bread and pies back in the day of the "wood burning stove."

Hope this helps,
Tim
 
Posts: 376 | Location: Conover, North Carolina in the USA | Registered: July 07, 2012
Picture of Bill Carlson
posted
You can buy new alarm mechs from most clock supply houses.


Bill Carlson
 
Posts: 431 | Location: Billings, Montana USA | Registered: February 05, 2007
Life Member
posted
I am not certain, but I think that lever you found is for the winding stop works. It would fit on the winding arbor, and engage the star once each winding revolution, until it encountered the odd shaped portion, which would not allow it to pass for an additional turn. Since you have one as a pattern, it would be relatively simple to make a duplicate for the other arbor (Although, depending on whether both arbors wind in the same direction, it might have to be made as a mirror image, to have the hook go in the right direction to pick up a tooth in the stop star.)

Forgot to mention - looks like the replacement dial was pasted atop the original tin dial. It might be possible to steam it off, and have the tin dial restored by someone who does dial painting.

Another edit: Revisiting the photos, unless someone has reversed one of the stop works stars, I can see that both arbors wind the same direction, so all you need is a second lever just like the one you have. You may have to peen the hole slightly to get it tight on the arbor - it should be a slight interference fit (the arbor square is tapered ) so that once pressed "home" the stop works lever is about a paper thickness away from the frame. Try it before you go closing the hole, though - it may be that someone simply didn't get in on the arbor tightly enough, last time it was apart.

Forgot to mention - and here, maybe someone more educated than I can chime in - I have worked on lots of variations on Seth Thomas movements over the yeas, but this is the first time I've seen a movement with that particular stop works. Most of them look like the one On this Seth Thomas o. 41 movement in this photo, using two star wheels, with a square tooth on the one mounted under a separate cock that holds it onto the winding arbor.

No 41 stop works
 
Posts: 213 | Location: Westminster, Maryland in the USA | Registered: March 02, 2015
IHC Member 2067
Picture of Paul Davis
posted
Hello Michael , I have the alarm for this cottage clock, also the part you found looks like the winding arbor click, and looks like it is broken on the point, as far the star gears, someone has removed the upper star from the winding arbor, with both stars it keeps u from winding the movement mains to tight in theory making the mains last longer, if you need help fixing it up email me p&a watch and clock repair

thanks


Paul Davis
 
Posts: 671 | Location: Missouri in the USA | Registered: May 01, 2015
Life Member
posted
Paul, That was I first thought, too, but then I looked more closely at the remaining stars and saw they were of the sort that takes a single cam, tat catches once each revolution of the winding arbor. Clicks are usually formed with a straight underside, which this hook does not have. Also, there are no screw holes in the frame for the cock to hold the upper star in place. That is why I remarked that I thought it was a variation I had never seen in Seth Thomas clocks before.
 
Posts: 213 | Location: Westminster, Maryland in the USA | Registered: March 02, 2015
IHC Member 1955
Picture of Michael P. McNamee
posted
Well, I have to say that this post generated much more interest and discussion than I thought it would. Thanks, you guys, for the great comments and thoughts!

Unfortunately for me, I'd have trouble understanding the mechanical aspects of a magnet. It never ceases to amaze me how some guys can just look at a clock movement and immediately identify how the parts interact. As for me, with my limited mechanical aptitude, I really like the aesthetic and historical aspects of these old clocks.

Paul D., do think you can put this one back in shape with a functioning alarm? I'm a bit hesitant to ship it because it is so old, but if you think it can be done for a reasonable price I'd absolutely consider it.
 
Posts: 1088 | Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: October 15, 2013
Life Member
posted
Forgot to mention: That wire hanging down on the strike side (left, as viewed in the photos) is supposed to extend just slightly below the bottom of the dial plate. It is there, so that if the clock stops, and you reset it, you can repeatedly use that wire to push up the strike count wire, and allow the strike to run without moving the hands. When you get the hands set, simply run the strike, until the number matches the correct time.

Remember, with this kind of strike mechanism, you can not move the hands counter clockwise. In most cases, there is a "standoff" wire, extending out from the side of the case, that the strike auxiliary actuating wire passes through. The standoff is simply a wire with a round loop end, that keeps the hanging actuating wire vertical.
 
Posts: 213 | Location: Westminster, Maryland in the USA | Registered: March 02, 2015
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