American Clock Company electric

Discussion in 'Electric Horology' started by fixoclock, Nov 10, 2008.

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  1. fixoclock

    fixoclock Registered User

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    I am looking for an early battery electric movement for an American Clock Company shelf clock. This is a round plated movement NOT the wall clock stick type movement. Can anyone suggest a source:???::confused:
     

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  2. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Fixoclock, your clock was made by a company that was in business from 1901-1905, in Chicago. Finding an orphan movement will require a lot of luck. An ebay watch may turn up something eventually.
     
  3. Ray Fanchamps

    Ray Fanchamps Deceased
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    That's a rare movement despite two (one incomplete) being sold on ebay in the last couple of weeks.

    Jim Krause posts here and he might be able to help.

    What is wrong with what you have ? Restoring that might be easier than a replacement movement.
     
  4. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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    I would echo Ray Fanchamp's comment: "fix the movement you have."

    On the other hand, I personally have one such movement I put in order for an exhibit several months ago that I would part with reasonably if you will send me a PM (private message) we can discuss it.

    What's wrong with yours? They are repairable except for the pendulum which is mercury compensated.
     
  5. fixoclock

    fixoclock Registered User

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    Hi All,

    Thanks so far for the glimmer of hope.

    The big problem with my movement is that there none. It has been replace with a Quartz movement !
    The dial states American Clock Co Chicago. The dial is a porcelain floral garland dial and the case is a 4-glass regulator style.

    I believe this is one of the most attractive models made by AmCC.

    My hope is to restore an original movement to the case.

    Lindsay Bramall ( Chapter 72 Sydney, Australia ):cool:
     
  6. fixoclock

    fixoclock Registered User

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    Hi All,

    The clock for which I seek a movement is as per the pictures attached hereto. Now you can see the dilemma.

    Lindsay Bramall
     

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  7. Ray Fanchamps

    Ray Fanchamps Deceased
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    I have the same clock and was going to buy the ebay movements if they were cheap enough, then I forgot the auction (sorry Jim).

    No question in my mind it's the best looking but I am biased.

    As Les already noted it should be a mercury pendulum. It is pretty much the same as the original small French versions (not the copies).

    Also my version is the 2 flailing arm version.
     
  8. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    I have one of the wood-cased shelf models with a mercury filled, metal cylindrical pendulum that looks very much like the one attached to Lindsay's modern quartz movement (except mine is nickel plated). I wonder if the original pendulum in Lindsay's clock was salvaged and attached to the newer movement. Not a typical design for a 4-glass clock, but it is a mercury pendulum, and the A.C.C. may have chosen to use that style on all their shelf models.
     
  9. fixoclock

    fixoclock Registered User

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    Thanks Ray,

    Any chance of a picture front and back of your 4 glass model?

    Lindsay Bramall.
     
  10. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Lindsay, it might be worth trying to contact the winner of the ebay auction to see if he might part with his movements.
     
  11. Ray Fanchamps

    Ray Fanchamps Deceased
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    Here are some quick pics. I don't know how well the images will enlarge but in the original file upload you can see the jeweled pallets on the escape.
    The pendulum rod is damaged and not correct.
     

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  12. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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    The photos below reveal the pendulum used an American battery clock belonging to a fellow NAWCC member. The clock keeps an excellent long period rate.

    The photo includes a snap-shot of the details of the clock inventor's patented mercury compensated pendulum.
     

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  13. Ray Fanchamps

    Ray Fanchamps Deceased
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    In many years of collecting I have only seen a handful of American Clock company shelf clocks of any style. This includes 3 Crystal regulators one of which I own. This being so it's tough to make generalizations about "what goes with what". All three Crystal regulators plus the one shown in "100 years..." used the French style mercury pendulum. The point of suspension being much like the Korean stepped cylinder mounted to the suspension bracket on the rear of the movement. The pendulum rod and suspension spring being one assembly.
    It is interesting to see the Mercury pendulum and mount shown in Les's post. It does beg the question of the originality of the pendulum in Lindsay's clock. On close inspection it looks like a simple brass cylinder, taller and thinner than seen in Les's post.

    It truly doesn't matter how long you have been doing this. There is always something new to learn.
     
  14. fixoclock

    fixoclock Registered User

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    Thanks for the pictures Ray and for the comments about this clock. Obviously, here in Australia such clocks are never seen and only by chance does the opportunity come along to acquire such a beauty.

    I collect G.S.Tiffany (Neverwind) and Bulle electrics mostly but have a side interest in all early 20thC battery electrics. There are none, to very few, of these in Australia either.

    Once I have this AmCC clock all together I shall post pics.

    It is apparent to me that there is much to know and yet much we will never know about clocks such as this. For instance, very few US clock makers used French 4-glass cases for their clocks. So why did AmCC go with such a case ? Perhaps because their shelf clock casemaker had no imagination.Their wooden cased shelf clocks are rather boring in design.

    Tiffany produced a lovely little 4-glass cased model but they are not of the French method and must have been made in US. That demonstrates that there was the capability to make a 4-glass case in the US.

    Thanks to all to " posters" so far on this subject. I was previously in a vacuum with only my copy of the "150 Years of Electic horology" book showing the very small picture of the clock.

    This message board has proved most helpfull and may continue to be so yet.

    Lindsay Bramall.
     
  15. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    The photo of the pendulum in Les's post shows only part of the pendulum--the bottom is cut off by the battery shelf. The patent drawing of the pendulum shows the same proportions as the pendulum in Lindsay's clock. Lindsay's pendulum also appears to have the knurled top cap and little conical piece on top of the cylinder.
     
  16. Ray Fanchamps

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    I need glasses....................:=
     
  17. fixoclock

    fixoclock Registered User

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    Hi everybody,

    With gracious thanks to "Les" Lesvosky who offered me an orphan movement of the correct make and model I now have a magnificent complete 4-glass AmCC battery electric clock.

    Jeremy Woodruff was spot on with his observation concerning the pendulum.Obviously when the clock was "quartzed" the original hands and pendulum were retained although the mercury had been drained from the pendulum, by drilling a large hole in the base, to lighten it so the quartz movement could drive it.

    Both these items have been refitted to the now-fitted AmCC electro-mechanical movement.

    From the patent it can be seen that the bob was not completely full of mercury. Interestingly when I calculated the weight of the mercury which would be required to fill to the level shown I found that I could achieve the same weight if I filled the bob completely with lead. Done, and running great. No temperature compensation but I am not that pedantic.

    Check out the pictures to see the completed clock.

    Thank you everybody for a great response to my original request.

    Lindsay Bramall.:cool:
    Chapter 72
    Sydney, Australia.
     

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  18. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Registered User

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    Thanks, Lindsay & everyone, for sharing the info and all the updates about this (type of) clock. I was completely unfamiliar with such early battery clocks and so this particular thread has been very informative and enjoyable. :clap:

    John
     
  19. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    Very, very nice!

    Where did you get the green spiral wires?
     
  20. fixoclock

    fixoclock Registered User

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    Jeremy,

    The spiral green wire I made up from a junker.

    I have a couple of old coils from a 1904 G S Tiffany double contact battery electric torsion clock. These coils are covered by a brown fabric but underneath the wires are green silk covered copper wire.
    They are too fine to use just one strand so I cut three lengths as long as my arm then soldered the ends of the three stands together, clamped one end in the bench vice and the other in my hand drill. By holding the bunch taught I operated the hand drill and it twists the three strands into one wire. This makes one wire. I repeated this to make the wire for the other side.

    I then wrapped the twisted 3-strand wire around a 5mm OD brass tube to form the spiral. When removed from the tube I stretched the "spring" out so that it formed the spiral you see in the clock. It is under some tension between the terminal posts due to the spiral spring construction. This keeps it neat and tidy with no slack and keeps it out of the way of the pendulum.

    Lindsay.:cool:
     
  21. LaBounty

    LaBounty Registered User
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    Hey Les-

    I realize this post is nearly a year old but I'd be interested in knowing the patent number of Getty's mercury pendulum and/or mantel clock movement if you have it. I've searched the patent database for all clock patents listed in November, 1899 but only found the wall version.

    I just completed a restoration of one of these wood case electric mantels and would like to see what the patent info shows. My case is missing the wood dividers on the inside, the wooden shelf on the back door (an additional battery support, I suppose), and the knob/plate on the back door.

    Your above photo was very helpful in determining what had been torn out of the case but wasn't detailed enough to help me reproduce what should be there. And the copy of the patent just wetted my appetite :).

    Thanks!
     
  22. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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    Fred I. Getty's mercury pendulum for mantel clocks is the subject of US patent 783,747 issued Feb 28, 1905.

    The patent drawing is small but if the drawing is magnified, the detail of the rod length adjuster is obvious although the dimensions aren't provided.

    Lindsay Bramall in Australia and Ray Brown in the US have the clocks with the original pendulum to my knowledge. I suppose you could ask either to make a photo with a scale included in the picture for reference.

    Regards, Les
     
  23. John Hubby

    John Hubby Senior Administrator Emeritus
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    I have one of the 4-Glass clocks with its original mercury-filled pendulum. It works beautifully, all I had to do after buying it about 11 years ago was to clean it, smooth the contacts, and put in new batteries. One of the nicest electrics in my collection.

    Info on the back plate is:
    The American Clock Company
    Pat'd Nov. 21, 1899
    M 8656

    I also have a complete movement with the original mercury pendulum that may have belonged at one time to a 4-Glass case, now mounted on two brass posts on a turned mahogany base under a glass dome. The info on the back is the same except the numbers, which show D 7526.

    The pendulums on both are nickel plated, and the dials are identical to each other. They are plain (no floral garlands like Lindsay's clock) with Arabic numbers and hands the same as Lindsay's clock.

    Does anyone know what the "M" or the "D" are for? I'm guessing that the numbers are a serial number, perhaps the letters are for the type of case or a model designation?
     
  24. jkfabulos

    jkfabulos Registered User
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    I can't locate my past post concerning the marking of these American Clock Comany movements. The letters seem to be associated with the lenght of the pendulum in the wall units.
    A is 100 beat
    B is 80 beat
    C is 60 beat
    However the shelf model letters use is unclear since they apparently had only one style round movement that used different letters. I believe they were all the same beat. Most likely was associated with some particular design element such as style of pendulum or maybe which type of case they went in.
     
  25. LaBounty

    LaBounty Registered User
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    Thanks for the information Les! I've looked up the patent information and have printed off what I found there. The patent search turned up a reference to another patent associated with Getty's mercury pendulum but I haven't tracked it down yet as the patent search engine isn't super friendly.

    And I don't know what the letters/numbers are either but this one is marked D7294. Here are some photos showing the movement and case as well as the damage to the inside and door...

    48.jpg

    49.jpg

    50.jpg

    51.jpg
     
  26. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    Here is a different wood model. This one doesn't have a back door, but a board screwed into the case. The pendulum and batteries are accessed through the top, which is hinged.

    IMG_3580.jpg

    IMG_3574.jpg

    These photos show the shaped holder for the No. 6 dry cells.

    IMG_3576.jpg IMG_3578.jpg

    This is a view of the inside of the back board. The light area near the bottom is probably the outline of a shaped piece of wood that would have held the dry cells in place from the rear.

    IMG_3577.JPG

    The next photos show details of the broken suspension spring on the pendulum. The scale is 1/16" and you can see that the pendulum rod is barely 1/16" in diameter. The suspension spring is held in place with two tiny rivets through the rod at either end of the spring. I'd appreciate any suggestions on how to remove these rivets so I can replace the spring. I'm thinking it may require a staking set or milling machine, neither of which I have. Their small size and the round rod would seem to make it impossible to punch them out with a hand-held punch.

    IMG_3570.jpg detail.jpg
     
  27. LaBounty

    LaBounty Registered User
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    Hey Jeremy-

    Great photos! Thanks for sharing.

    The pins in the suspension rod can be driven out with a piece of pinion wire which is smaller than the diameter of the pins. Yes, a staking set will certainly make life easier since you can insert the pinion wire into a flat stake with a hole just the right size. This will provide a larger hitting surface and greater control.

    Good luck with it!
     
  28. Billmac

    Billmac Registered User
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    Thanks to all who posted info on this clock. It made it possible for me to restore a very nice 4-glass crystal regulator type. Following is a writeup i made for the owner. It will share my experience with it, and I hope it will help others:
    American Clock Company Battery-wound Clock

    As received, the clock had been modified to work only by raising both weights at the same time. Research revealed that during proper operation the two weights are alternately raised to their upper position. The original “finger” had been replaced by a makeshift part that would not allow normal operation. The two electromagnet coils were tested using alternating current (AC) to determine if there were any shorted turns (a resistance test with an ohmmeter cannot detect this condition, unless a large percentage of the coil is shorted – an unlikely occurrence). One coil had only 60% of the impedance of the other coil – a strong indication of shorts in the winding. A couple of inexpensive plastic battery holders for three, total, “D” size flashlight batteries were installed and connected to provide 4.5 volts instead of the 3 volts that the clock is designed to use. This was no doubt necessary to overcome other shortcomings. A silicon diode had been installed across the coils to suppress arcing of the contacts. (This is a good improvement).

    The battery life must have been very poor, with a stack up of many reasons, as follows:

    1. For each re-wind the current drain is higher because of the increased voltage above the design value.
    2. The shorted turns waste dynamic energy that would normally raise the weight faster, increasing the dwell time that the contacts are closed.
    3. By driving both weights up at once, the doubled weight has higher inertia that keeps the contacts closed for a longer period each time, using more energy per windup.
    4. The single-cell string inherently has half the life of a series/parallel combination of 4 cells that produce the proper 3 volt supply of power.

    First, the coils were re-wound. The wire gage is no. 25. This is an odd gage that is not stocked by the larger supply houses, but is used whenever a product is designed where optimum performance is needed. For this clock it is important not to go either up or down on the wire size. I found an Internet-based supplier, TechFixx.com that offers ½ pound spools of wire, including the odd gages. The coils use a little over ¼ pound. As the old wire was removed the insulating green silk turned mostly to dust. This is probably the way all of them are, being over 100 years old. Upon unwinding the coil deemed to be bad, I discovered a piece of tape that had been used to try to save the coil. Both coils were re-wound in neat layers as was done originally. (It is important not to scramble-wind the coils, as there will be many less turns of wire to create an adequately strong magnetic field). The outsides of the coils were covered with cloth tape, covered with a coat of epoxy and painted flat black. Tests on the new coils yielded values very near the “good” one of the two originals – AC impedance and resistance. The resistance of each coil is about 3 ohms.

    Originally this clock had a 60 ohm resistor connected across the series-combination of the two coils. This provided a fair reduction in arcing between the contacts. (As the contacts open, the energy stored in the inductance of the coils causes the spark. The resistor provides an alternate place for the energy to go, as a current through the resistor.). An earlier worker had replaced the resistor with a silicon diode, which is very effective at eliminating arcing at the contacts. In this type of application the diode is called a “free-wheeling” diode. This is an important improvement to extend contact life, but it has two side-benefits as well. First, the resistor was parasitic in using some battery current while the contacts are closed, while the diode never uses current from the battery. Second, the current that flows through the diode/coil combination after the contacts open maintains the magnetic field for a time, until the energy in the coils is dissipated. This magnetic field energy helps bring up the weight that is being raised, instead of being lost to heat in a resistor.

    Once a diode has been installed, it is critical that battery polarity be maintained correctly; otherwise the diode will act as a short across both coils, causing destructive current flow from the batteries. As part of this restoration, a diode was installed on the coils, as before.
    An industrial grade 4- D-cell battery holder was installed onto the bottom cover and the batteries connected as two parallel-pairs in series. This delivers 3 volt power to the clock, as did the original two No. 6 cells. The battery life should be much longer than with the original No. 6 dry cells. Research has shown that a parallel pair of alkaline “D” cells provides much more life and energy than the old carbon-zinc cell.

    The “finger” attached to the magnetic armature that is activated by coil current was removed and replaced by a new one that allows the clock to work as intended, i.e. the weights are alternately raised to their top position as the contacts close. The new finger is made of high-carbon steel and is polished and hardened for long life and least wear on the cams that carry the weights.

    The suspension spring was bent, preventing the weight of the bob from pulling it down as the regulator nut is moved in the “S” direction. It was cleaned and straightened to correct the problem.

    As restored, the clock will run with as little as 2.6 volts from the battery. This voltage is below that of alkaline batteries at their the end-of-life value. The batteries must be of the alkaline type, which can deliver much more current for the brief pulses that are needed by the clock.

    When setting this clock up, it is important to be sure that the weights are not together. (Through handling or having run down with dead batteries, both wieghts may be at the same height). To correct this, let the clock run until the weights are horizontal and raise only one to the top. From then until the batteries go dead, they should alternately be restored to their upward position when triggered by a contact closure.


    Bill McKeown
    January 2012
     
  29. Ray Fanchamps

    Ray Fanchamps Deceased
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    It's interesting how things move along. I have since acquired a second Crystal regulator but no pendulum.
    The "bible" 150 years shows a Crystal regulator clock with a French style mercury pendulum. That's what I have on my first clock, the exact same pendulum. The hanger is as noted before a simple stepped cylinder like the Korean clocks use. Not at all like what has been pictured here. I am curious now about exactly what is correct here. Is the French style mercury that I have a legitimate version or............ do I own the actual clock pictured in 150 and that is not a "correct" pendulum. ? I lived local to Elmer around the time he and Bill wrote the book as did the prior owner of my clock. Hmmm........
    Anyone else with a French style mercury pendulum ? And, anyone with a $pare metal cased mercury pendulum ?
     
  30. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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    #30 eskmill, Jan 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
    Ray and all. I don't believe the photo of the crystal regulator style clock in 150 yrs on page 10 has the correct pendulum although the photo of the Mission Mantle clock from the rear, just to the left of the crystal cased model, reveals Getty's mercury pendulum as originally supplied.

    I've appended a copy of Getty's patent pendulum. The suspension is unique and complicated. I know of only two that have the original pendulums, one in Australia (fixoclock) and one in Calfornia. (Ray Brown) There could be others.

    I suspect that when Elmer wrote the 150 yrs pages, getting patent drawings was a chore and not as now with Google Patents.

    Re-creating the suspension system would be a task for a micro-engineer but doable.
     

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  31. jkfabulos

    jkfabulos Registered User
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    This is what the American "French" type pendulum looks like. Although similar to the much more common "French" crystal regulator design it is unique.
     

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  32. Ingulphus

    Ingulphus Registered User

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    I have a mahogany case, dial, bezel and hands; if anyone ever comes across a round movement and plain bob pendulum, I would love to hear from you. I regret selling my last one, and would like to restore what I have.
     
  33. John Hubby

    John Hubby Senior Administrator Emeritus
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    I have what you are looking for, I've sent you a PM with details.

    For info to all I also have one of the 4-Glass crystal regulator models with the original mercury bob pendulum (NFS). That would make at least a half dozen with the original bob now known to exist, probably a number more but sitting somewhere gathering dust.
     

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