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  1. #31
    Registered User FDelGreco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tower Clock Restoration Unfolding and New Guy (By: scootermcrad)

    Scott:

    The original weights are long gone. We bought lead plates about a foot square and 1/4" thick. I remember they weighed 16 pounds each. We had a slot cast in them so one could slide the weights on and off the weight holder without disassembling the cable. Incidentally, they are weights, not counterweights.

    BTW, if this is a historical building on the national register, you also may have to concern yourself about making changes to the structure. They often are not allowed. In the courthouse, a historical building, I couldn't replace an original ladder that went from the bell room up 16 feet to the dial room. It was homemade at the time the building was constructed, with 2x6 stringers and 1x6 treads, and at a relatively steep angle. I went up and down that ladder many times, but one time as I went up, carrying a toolbox, a tread broke out under me. I fell to the next lower tread that fortunately held. I've since learned to keep my feet as close to the stringers as possible when going up and down these old ladders. Less stress on the treads.

    I could have replaced that old ladder with a modern aluminum or fiberglass one, but they wouldn't let me.

    I did replace the tread.

    Backlash in the wheels and pinions may vary. First, do the gears transmit power without faltering or binding? Second, you can find in many clock construction and gear cutting books pictures where the gears rub each other in a perfect fit. But chances are if the pivot to pivot spacing is correct (i.e., no rebushing needed), the mesh is correct.

    Frank

  2. #32
    Registered User scootermcrad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tower Clock Restoration Unfolding and New Guy (By: FDelGreco)

    Quote Originally Posted by FDelGreco View Post
    Scott:

    The original weights are long gone. We bought lead plates about a foot square and 1/4" thick. I remember they weighed 16 pounds each. We had a slot cast in them so one could slide the weights on and off the weight holder without disassembling the cable. Incidentally, they are weights, not counterweights.

    BTW, if this is a historical building on the national register, you also may have to concern yourself about making changes to the structure. They often are not allowed. In the courthouse, a historical building, I couldn't replace an original ladder that went from the bell room up 16 feet to the dial room. It was homemade at the time the building was constructed, with 2x6 stringers and 1x6 treads, and at a relatively steep angle. I went up and down that ladder many times, but one time as I went up, carrying a toolbox, a tread broke out under me. I fell to the next lower tread that fortunately held. I've since learned to keep my feet as close to the stringers as possible when going up and down these old ladders. Less stress on the treads.

    I could have replaced that old ladder with a modern aluminum or fiberglass one, but they wouldn't let me.

    I did replace the tread.

    Backlash in the wheels and pinions may vary. First, do the gears transmit power without faltering or binding? Second, you can find in many clock construction and gear cutting books pictures where the gears rub each other in a perfect fit. But chances are if the pivot to pivot spacing is correct (i.e., no rebushing needed), the mesh is correct.

    Frank
    Frank,

    Oh man. I have to apologize to you and everyone else on here. My terminology is very "green"! "Counterweights" are for elevators and it wouldn't even make sense when talking about any of this. Also, faces versus dials, etc.. GAH! Sorry guys! I'm new and diving in head first. I appreciate the corrections. (red faced) I'll get there.

    VERY good points about the structure. When I was in the tower with the the gentleman from the county, he asked about the structure itself as it pertained to the installation. There have been several alterations to the building's structure already when they converted the courtroom to a theater. Lots of modernization to the second floor and its structure In this case, there is a concern of safety, so they are planning on addressing it if the clock is to stay. Curious to see what come of this. The platforms themselves seem sturdy to me. The planks/flooring is a bit questionable though. When the rest of us meet for the Historical Society monthly meeting we will also be discussing this. Ultimately, the stairs were very scary and not in good shape. I'm concerned about carrying heavy components down the stairs from the clock before some kind of provisions are made.

  3. #33
    Registered User FDelGreco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tower Clock Restoration Unfolding and New Guy (By: scootermcrad)

    Scott:

    What is the distance from the ground floor to the dials? In some restorations, the clock is relocated to the ground floor in a PlexiGlas case -- like in a lobby for the public to see -- and a long, vertical shaft, properly supported, goes to the dial room. It makes safety, maintenance, etc., much better and gives the public a look at the workings of a mechanical clock.

    Frank

  4. #34
    Registered User scootermcrad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tower Clock Restoration Unfolding and New Guy (By: FDelGreco)

    Quote Originally Posted by FDelGreco View Post
    Scott:

    What is the distance from the ground floor to the dials? In some restorations, the clock is relocated to the ground floor in a PlexiGlas case -- like in a lobby for the public to see -- and a long, vertical shaft, properly supported, goes to the dial room. It makes safety, maintenance, etc., much better and gives the public a look at the workings of a mechanical clock.

    Frank
    Frank,
    Just guessing out loud, climbing to the second floor from the lobby/entrance is about 20 feet. Climbing from that level to the third floor is another solid 15 feet. Next climb would be approximately 15 feet to the bell platform. Then another 15 feet to the dial/clock platform. 3 feet from there to the center. Soooo... almost 70 feet from the entrance.

    The entrance is a little cramped, actually, but the second floor, by the entrance to the theater might be a nice place. Not sure how the weight assemblies would work from there, though.

    The third floor, directly below the tower and directly above the entrance to the theater, is mostly a full structural area, but vacant. It was probably the balcony area of the courtroom, at one point. Now just open and exposed to the structure and used for storage and has a catwalk for the theater.

    I'm guessing the original weights probably hung directly over the ceiling of the theater/courtroom entrance... where people would gather. (yikes)
    Last edited by scootermcrad; 03-23-2016 at 03:26 PM.

  5. #35

    Default Re: Tower Clock Restoration Unfolding and New Guy (By: scootermcrad)

    Presumably if you are going to change to electric autowinding you no longer need such a long drop as you could simply wind more often.
    Nick, lots to learn, late starter.

  6. #36
    Registered User scootermcrad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tower Clock Restoration Unfolding and New Guy (By: novicetimekeeper)

    Quote Originally Posted by novicetimekeeper View Post
    Presumably if you are going to change to electric autowinding you no longer need such a long drop as you could simply wind more often.
    Very good point, actually!

  7. #37

    Default Re: Tower Clock Restoration Unfolding and New Guy (By: scootermcrad)

    Scott,
    #1. The train will be loaded when the weights are working. Remember, if it rattles, it'll run. Just check the bushings for excessive wear. They are the determinants on clearances.

    2. Use Phil's clock for patterns. See the pallet carrier at the top of his clock? Looks like an upside down horseshoe? That's a Hotchkiss pallet carrier. Make the escape wheel the same as the one in Phil's clock.

    3. Tear apart the box the clock is in. Give yourself some room to work. If need be, make a new box--bigger so you can walk around the clock--your successor will bless you. Take it apart, down to the frame, disassemble the frame, wash it, match the paint, and break out the brushes. How many rattle cans and air compressors were in use in 1876--HMMM?

    4. Auto-rewind? The best I can think of is the Balzer Family Clockworks in Freeport, Maine. Rick and Linda Balzer 1-207-865-1799. Be prepared for a fairly high price--auto-rewinds don't come cheap. DO NOT PLACE **ANY** WEIGHTS OVER A POPULATED AREA!!!!! Build a box under the pendulum bob that will allow the bob to fall maybe 2 inches. That's 75-odd pounds if cast iron. It hurts if it falls on your head. There may be a catch at the top pf the pendulum rod, but I don't see one on Phil's clock. Build a pendulum bob catcher under the bob.

    4. "Have any of you tried a control system of sorts to remotely control the bell strike without modifying the original mechanism and strike components?"
    I have a hunch that that's the odd extension on the strike side of the clock. Somehow it moved the strike lever head out of the way of the cams that lift the strike hammer.

    5. "We
    ights - starting from scratch. What is the latest trend in restoring this portion of the assembly? Safety of the system is important, so I'll be taking into consideration tethers and/or fall absorption box of some kind."

    Look in
    the BULLLETIN, build your weight 'chutes out of wood, and make up weight catchers like the ones described in the article:

    <http://www.nawcc.org/images/stories/2010/articles/2015/416/416_323_327.pdf>

    Use stainless steel wire rope to support the weights. I wish you luck on finding sheaves of an appropriate size--at least as big in diameter as the winding drum. Cuts way down on stress within the wire rope.

    6. Use the frosted glass for the dials. Remove all the Arabic numerals, replace with Roman numerals. Replace minute and 5-minute markers. Seal the glass all around to keep water out.
    Last edited by Donn Haven Lathrop; 03-29-2016 at 02:30 PM. Reason: misspellings

  8. #38
    Registered User scootermcrad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tower Clock Restoration Unfolding and New Guy (By: Donn Haven Lathrop)

    Thanks Donn! Great response! I'll reply under each numbered comment in RED.
    Quote Originally Posted by Donn Haven Lathrop View Post
    Scott,
    #1. The train will be loaded when the weights are working. Remember, if it rattles, it'll run. Just check the bushings for excessive wear. They are the determinants on clearances.

    Great! Thanks! I'm counting on several of the bushings to need attention. Is a "modern" material recommend at this level, such as OiLite type bronze bushings, or stick with what would have been original? What should I expect for original bushings from this era?

    2. Use Phil's clock for patterns. See the pallet carrier at the top of his clock? Looks like an upside down horseshoe? That's a Hotchkiss pallet carrier. Make the escape wheel the same as the one in Phil's clock.

    Exactly! And I'm planing on taking all of this a step further and will be 3D modeling all the parts as I go for reference as well as for the potential to build a scaled down version for display purposes in the Courthouse museum. I will also 3D each part. Maybe some of these files will be of some use later down the line and as well.

    3. Tear apart the box the clock is in. Give yourself some room to work. If need be, make a new box--bigger so you can walk around the clock--your successor will bless you. Take it apart, down to the frame, disassemble the frame, wash it, match the paint, and break out the brushes. How many rattle cans and air compressors were in use in 1876--HMMM?

    Yep! Will be doing a brush or roll-on finish and I have a pinstriping friend that might be able to recreate some of the striping for me, as seen on Phil's.
    I will build a box that assembles with pins so it can easily be taken apart for service. Wood or maybe acrylic. Not sure on that yet.


    4. Auto-rewind? The best I can think of is the Balzer Family Clockworks in Freeport, Maine. Rick and Linda Balzer 1-207-865-1799. Be prepared for a fairly high price--auto-rewinds don't come cheap. DO NOT PLACE **ANY** WEIGHTS OVER A POPULATED AREA!!!!! Build a box under the pendulum bob that will allow the bob to fall maybe 2 inches. That's 75-odd pounds if cast iron. It hurts if it falls on your head. There may be a catch at the top pf the pendulum rod, but I don't see one on Phil's clock. Build a pendulum bob catcher under the bob.

    More great tips and thank you for the reference! The pendulum bob on this clock would probably have been of the disc type, instead of a barrel, as shown in the ST catalogs on the #16a/b and similar. There does not seem to be a cut-out in the floor where the pendulum was, so that suggests it may have been pretty short. This will also have to be made from scratch, I suspect.

    4. "Have any of you tried a control system of sorts to remotely control the bell strike without modifying the original mechanism and strike components?"
    I have a hunch that that's the odd extension on the strike side of the clock. Somehow it moved the strike lever head out of the way of the cams that lift the strike hammer.

    I'll definitely know more about this when the box comes off. It was impossible to get in there and look at this. The county is wanting to have the ability to "turn off" the bell strike on the fly, due to special events that often take place in the courthouse. I have some ideas on this, and maybe even a way to manual do it via a couple cables accessible from a closet, or something. No electrical mechanisms.

    5. "We
    ights - starting from scratch. What is the latest trend in restoring this portion of the assembly? Safety of the system is important, so I'll be taking into consideration tethers and/or fall absorption box of some kind."

    Look in
    the BULLLETIN, build your weight 'chutes out of wood, and make up weight catchers like the ones described in the article:

    <http://www.nawcc.org/images/stories/2010/articles/2015/416/416_323_327.pdf>

    Use stainless steel wire rope to support the weights. I wish you luck on finding sheaves of an appropriate size--at least as big in diameter as the winding drum. Cuts way down on stress within the wire rope.

    Awesome! Thank you for that link! I will read this!

    6. Use the frosted glass for the dials. Remove all the Arabic numerals, replace with Roman numerals. Replace minute and 5-minute markers. Seal the glass all around to keep water out.

    Yes! Exactly!
    Thank you so much for that huge response! I appreciate it!

  9. #39
    Registered User scootermcrad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tower Clock Restoration Unfolding and New Guy (By: scootermcrad)

    More questions! A records question (or observation) and a bell installation question...

    I have been digging through the early Seth Thomas records, here on the NAWCC database, and can't seem to find record of our installation in the receipts (eyes were bleeding after 10 minutes of staring at amazing cursive handwriting), but I keep running across a Seth Thomas Hotchkiss 6A records for neighboring Greensboro for their courthouse that was built in 1873. I'm trying to find record of what happened to that courthouse. I'm wondering if something happened and that clock was in-turn installed in our courthouse, for some reason. Later records show our courthouse to have the Hotchkiss as well as the Greensboro courthouse, but that courthouse no longer exists in Greensboro. Strange that the early records (1870-1877) do not show our installation. Were there OTHER Seth Thomas installation documents somewhere besides the NAWCC resource section?

    The other big questions are about the bell installation. We have a Meneely bell and it is a "Rotary Yoke" style bell. It does not have the large pulley on it, so I'm not sure if it was ever set up to rotate, but it was definitely intended to be struck in the stationary position from two sides. One side is still intact, however the other side appears to have a striking/chiming mechanism of some kind. Can someone tell me more about what the mechanism is seen here?





    Rest of the bell assembly. Was this a bell assembly that was installed to never swing?




  10. #40
    Registered User scootermcrad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tower Clock Restoration Unfolding and New Guy (By: scootermcrad)

    Good day everyone! I could use some help and I have a quick update.

    We are underway with getting approvals and going to start the community fundraising as soon as we can get a ball park figure to get the ball rolling. I haven't done this many proposal reports since I worked on a military contract! HA!

    I have the work narrowed down and I know what tasks I'll be taking on and what tasks I'll be hiring help for. The more I read the more I'm starting to realize the importance of this early Hotchkiss movement! Things are looking good, but super political at this point.

    One thing that has become apparent to me is the escapement was to be of the PINWHEEL type. Seems this was kind of rare for an early Seth Thomas tower clock movement. Is that a fair statement? I'm pretty sure this is going to have to be recreated from scratch. I'm having a hard time even finding pictures of a similar type of clock, let alone the escapement assembly. I've found two similar clocks, at this point, and one is only partially assembled.

    So I'm having a hard time finding some visuals for comparison. ALSO! It sounds like the proper pendulum bob for this clock would have been of the disc type, instead of the usual cylindrical style. Also, it appears the actual set dial would have been the same as similar time frame Seth Thomas #16a/#16b and #17. I think. This might help with locating a replacement. I hope I don't have to have this re-cast.

    Anyway, if anyone has visuals they can share of early Hotchkiss stuff, that would be appreciated. I'm also still looking for info on the bell striking mechanism shown above in the picture. The one that sits to the left of the bell on its own skid that appears to be missing some pieces.

    Thanks!

  11. #41

    Default Re: Tower Clock Restoration Unfolding and New Guy (By: scootermcrad)

    I have no idea if this would be relevant to your project, but this is a recent post about what is thought to be a Hotchkiss-designed clock (for Henry Sperry) with a pinwheel escapement: http://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?1...ry-tower-clock
    Jeremy

  12. #42
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    Default Re: Tower Clock Restoration Unfolding and New Guy (By: Jeremy Woodoff)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Woodoff View Post
    I have no idea if this would be relevant to your project, but this is a recent post about what is thought to be a Hotchkiss-designed clock (for Henry Sperry) with a pinwheel escapement: http://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?1...ry-tower-clock
    I saw that post. Great post! I missed the part about it possibly being a Hotchkiss design. Interesting! Thanks for the link

  13. #43
    Registered User scootermcrad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tower Clock Restoration Unfolding and New Guy (By: Jeremy Woodoff)

    Okay! Replying to my own request, Phil Wright came to the rescue with some critical pictures for me. This is quite a site, right here. Almost all these escapement components will have to be made.






  14. #44
    Registered User scootermcrad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tower Clock Restoration Unfolding and New Guy (By: scootermcrad)

    Hey everyone,
    I just wanted to post an update real quick, since things are sloooooowwwwwly starting to happen again.

    We have a meeting with the county on Thursday to discuss our plan for this restoration as well as what all we have learned. We've learned more about the history of the movement than we have probably anything else, at this point, but we have a plan in place. We know what's missing, what parts we'll be looking into the community for (literally!) and how we intend to replace the parts if we can't find them.

    In the meantime, I need some more help from this community. I'm looking for more information on Hotchkiss tower clocks PREVIOUS to the relationship with Seth Thomas that would maybe give us more detail on the parts that we are looking for. I'm also looking for a Seth Thomas Tower Clock catalog that would cover the #6A clock movement. Even just a scan of the catalog page would do the trick. I have a catalog from the correct era, but it skips a few of the models that were offered, including this one. We are probably going to have to replicate the pendulum and we only THINK we know what it looked like, but aren't positive.

    As for the plan itself, I think everyone will be happy to know, we are going to restore this to as close as originally designed as possible, replacing all the missing components with re-cast and re-machined replicas, only if we can't find the originals. The weight drive setup will be redone around the updated building structure and all safety measures taken as needed. There will be auto-winders installed but will be external for the least amount of impact to the clock as possible and prevent any further damage to the clock movement components.

    To take it to one more level, before re-assembly, I am going to make every attempt to 3D scan every wheel and unique piece so that a physical document can be kept in order to repair/replace these parts in the future, should anything occur later in the life of the clock. This would also give us the ability to build a scale replica for the museum on the first floor, if desired.

    Just an update. Hopefully someone can help me out with the info request above. Anything you folks could offer would be appreciated.

    THANK YOU!
    S

  15. #45
    Registered User scootermcrad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tower Clock Restoration Unfolding and New Guy (By: scootermcrad)

    Update! We have some progress. Another visit to the clock and the protective box is off so I can see everything now. Now we know exactly what we have and we even found some clues to the puzzle and history including the weight chutes, one weight box, and the super important pendulum bob! Structural engineers were on sight to look at the stairs and we talked about lifting points so we can lower parts down and out. This is a big step!

    Here's a few pics for you guys!

    The courthouse
















    What is this dangling piece just inside the frame above the leg mounting pad? It resembles a bone, for lack of a better description.



    View from the dial room down to the belfry area


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