and in this corner... e. howard regulator 5 vs. seth thomas regulator #2

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by bruce linde, Jan 30, 2016.

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  1. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    Nov 13, 2011
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    i've been offered a good price on an an excellent e. howard regulator #5 and my want gene has been triggered!

    other than size and case design, how does the #5 compare to my ST regulator 2s?

    is the movement better/higher quality? essentially similar?

    curious as to the general characteristics of each line and how they compare.

    thanks!

    smike
     
  2. Andy Dervan

    Andy Dervan Registered User
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    Smike,

    Unfortunately, you did not provide enough information to answer the question.

    ST #2 was the most produced weight driven wall clock and so many have survived over the years. What year was it made, what is the wood (Oak (very common), and Cherry and Mahogany (less common), is the dial original (many have severe flaking and have been repainted - repainted dials kill long term value). Value is in the clock's condition.

    Howard # 5 is smallest of E. Howard banjos and produced many years. Similar questions on condition and originality - case is cherry with Rosewood graining (is all the graining intact - a must), is dial original and properly signed (a most), is the movement original and properly signed, are the glasses and internal components correct. Gerald Siegel wrote a great Bulletin article during 1960s on Howard banjos, look it up and read it...

    I personally would purchase the E. Howard over ST #2, but condition and originality is key for clocks, if they are NOT 100 % original or excellent condition - walk away and save your money! Clock values are declining over time and lower quality and/or condition increases the decline.

    Andy Dervan
     
  3. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    andy -

    why would you choose the e. howard over the #2? if you had two such clocks, both from the same year and both in all-original/immaculate condition... why would you pick one over the other? are you saying you would go with the e. howard because they were harder to find than the ST #2s? can you speak to the quality of the movements, or are you saying that they're essentially similar (i.e., as opposed to a jewelers' regulator or fusee movement)?

    as to only collecting '100% original or excellent condition'.... well, i guess i've translated my vintage guitar collecting philosophy to clocks. in guitars, there are 'collector' guitars (immaculate/pristine) and 'player' guitars (i.e., cosmetic flaws but still play and sound incredible). then there's provenance. willie nelson's main guitar, for example, has a huge hole in the face of it... but it would command far more from a collector than just another one of that model in pristine condition. collecting only pristine guitars means you can't perform with them. you can't take them out. you can't enjoy them, for risk of scratching or losing them.

    i have a couple of 'collector' clocks, but most of my collection (maybe 10-11 clocks) is comprised of 'player' clocks... (much) better than average condition, mostly original (except for the occasional beat indicator, or a replacement pendulum rod, or a repainted (or on one #2, a paper dial from the 30s). the movements are all original and have been cleaned and/or restored. they all look much better than most of what goes through eBay. they make me happy and have helped me learn about clocks. hey may not meet more exacting standards, but they are definitely higher quality clocks and i believe will hold their value... especially because of the excellent deals i got on them.

    it seems simplistic to me to say that the value of an 1890s ST #2 with the wrong beat indicator is significantly less than the same clock with (what appears to be) the right beat indicator (for example). i have read lots of threads on this forum where people are talking about how many #2 reproduction clocks, movements and parts have been made since the 1860s... and that you can't always tell. do you have a response to that?

    smike
     
  4. the 3rd dwarve

    the 3rd dwarve Registered User

    Nov 3, 2000
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    Smike,
    Here are my thoughts on your query, to be taken with a grain of salt like all opinions.
    As time keepers I think you will find they are equally accurate with neither having the advantage.
    So for me it would be a matter of aesthetics. Which would look better where I am going to hang it?
    On condition and collectability:
    There are many more ST #2s available than there are E. Howard #5s.
    If you go through the E Howard sales records you will see that the majority of their sales were to commercial accounts. Very few of their sales were to private accounts. As a result, while not abused, these clocks were not lovingly cared for the way they are now so your chances of finding one that is 100% original and excellent condition is very slim. In the 1980s when there was a great resurgence in interest many of these were restored to "factory new" condition." Unless the restorer has marked his (or her) work you will never know. For example dials restored by the Dial House are so well done they are indistinguishable from original. I always leave their little sticker on the back. Glasses restored by Linda Abrams are also indistinguishable from the original. Dials were swapped or restored, pendulums and bobs swapped, movements were swapped between clocks, new weight boards were installed. Now, 40 years later you can't tell. The first two things I look for in a Howard clock are: is the movement signed and are the door latches proper.
    From my experience proper restoration enhances the value of the clock and a well restored #5 will sell quicker and bring more money than one that is "all original" but needs work. There are some collectors who like their clock shabby but they are in the minority. Clocks made in the 20[SUP]th[/SUP] century were not works of art, they were semi production, machine made tools.
    That being said, now is a good time to buy as the market is still suppressed and hopefully will only go up in the future.
    Both the ST #2 and the E. Howard #5 are beautiful clocks so my solution to your dilemma is really simple. Get them both and sort out where they will hang when you get them home.
    Good luck,
    D
     
    Raymond Rice likes this.
  5. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    hey third -


    that's very helpful and gives me more of the perspective/insight I was looking for

    thank you,
    smike
     
  6. Andy Dervan

    Andy Dervan Registered User
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    Hello Smike,

    I have no experience with ST #2 movements, ST bought the movement design and manufactured it. E. Howard made very robust durable movements; I have two Howards running in our den and they keep time within a minute a week.

    There are so many ST#2 out there and the vast majority have repainted dials (ST had problems with their paint and/or painting process) and many have peeling veneer. Almost every R.O. Schmitt auction in Manchester, NH has 3 - 5 ST#2 in them and most have a variety of problems so there is never much interest in them.

    Purchase the clock that is in the best and most original condition. Otherwise when and if you decide to sell it, a potential buyer is going to highlight every flaw in it.

    Andy Dervan
     
  7. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    the dial of the no. 5 in question has a direction indicator arrow around the winding hole... is that original? something someone added later? a clue as to age?

    IMG_2959.jpg IMG_2958.jpg
     
  8. the 3rd dwarve

    the 3rd dwarve Registered User

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    Smike,

    The directional arrow at the winding hole was added. It looks like it was a rubber stamp. I don't think it detracts from the clock in any way.

    It's impossible to date the clock. The movement would give the only indication and that would just be prior to or after 1920.

    The dial looks nice as do the hands. The wood finish shows a nice even crackling. The dial screws have been replaced. From the two pictures you posted it looks nice and could be a corner stone of any collection.

    You can't have too many Howards on your walls.

    Regards,
    D~
     
  9. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    got it... here are some more pics.

    IMG_2991.jpg IMG_2986.jpg IMG_2987.jpg IMG_2988.jpg IMG_2989.jpg innards.jpg movement_1.jpg movement_2.jpg
     
  10. Andy Dervan

    Andy Dervan Registered User
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    Hello, Block lettering was used after 1881 when E. Howard retired from the company. The signature is a bit suspect when I compare to several of our clocks - the letters look almost italized or the photograph makes them look that way and it seems very strong for 115+ year old clock.. The movement looks ok; there are alot of vertical scratches as if someone when over it with sand paper. It is unfortunate that someone inscribed 90772 on the front plate. Howard movements never had any kind of serial numbers on them If the price is reasonable, it appears to be good No. 5 example and will easily fit on the wall. Andy Dervan
     
  11. the 3rd dwarve

    the 3rd dwarve Registered User

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    Smike,

    I had a chance to enlarge all of your pictures today and I see that the bottom of the case has been replaced. This is very common in these clocks as the movement was so simple, robust, and way over driven that they never needed service until the weight cable snapped. If the repair is well done it won't hurt the value of the clock.
    The lower weight board is missing. A replacement can easily be fabricated from clear EWP.
    There is a weight board in the upper throat that doesn't belong there.
    A weight stop has been added under the movement support. It doesn't detract from the clock.
    The movement does seem to have undergone a heavy cleaning. I thought the number scratched into the movement plate was a date. Maybe a service date?
    "Block lettering was used after 1881 when E. Howard retired from the company." This is 100% conjecture. There is no data, factual or empirical, that correlates any of the different fonts used on Howard dials to any time frames.
    If you want to talk about value or any other details you can pm me. I have acquired two number 5s in the last six months.
    Regards,
    D~
     
  12. onsite

    onsite Registered User
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    Could someone post a picture and the specs on the proper ST#2 dial screws?

    Thanks.
     
  13. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    All very interesting comments.

    You're looking for comments from people?

    I will add the proviso that any statements suffer from the limitation that they are based exclusively upon photos and someone else's descriptions, not direct examination.

    While I do agree that many old clocks at some point in their existence were not highly valued as antiques and may have suffered from unfortunate restorations and repairs, like this one, there are relatively well preserved examples to be had Yep, such cocks are getting harder and harder to find. It is ironic, however, that many clocks that have been valued early on in their existence, like Willard banjos, have in fact suffered from the worst restoration, abuse and faking. Lesser clocks often benefit from benign neglect. Yes, a clock in original condition is worth more. And should be cherished which I why I have spoken out against some of the so called "restoration" advice often given.

    Please feel free to disagree or refute anything I say.

    I do agree that the case has an older finish. However, it is my understanding that these cases were grained. I don't see that graining in the pix. Yes, it's very possible that the darkened finish may obscuring it and that's why it's not coming through in the pix. However, if there's no graining visible underneath, I submit that the current surface is an old refinish which is a hurt.

    There are no pix of the back of the glasses. However, I think they're repaints (comments?). For many, that's a hurt.

    I have concerns about the dial and signature. I think it's a repaint and they didn't quite get that signature correct.

    I'm not sure about the throat baffle and will defer to others. There is a groove cut to accommodate it. But, is it plywood? Can't tell.

    The lower weight baffle and the pendulum tie down are missing. That's a hurt. If you replace it, I would use wood. I think you can get a repro tie down.

    Case bottom is replaced. That's not uncommon. Better if the piece that was knocked out by the falling weight was put back. Sometimes it was too damaged and had to be replaced. The replacement in yours looks like a pretty fresh piece of wood and rather recent.

    It's my understanding that the movement plates were snailed and the bob would be decoratively damascened. The latter enhances the appearance of the clock. Someone spent much too much time polishing them both and did a disservice to the clock. The signature on the movement is almost obliterated (Howard experts, is it correct?) and the pendulum shiny and smooth.

    No pix of the weight which I believe should be marked "V".

    I believe it was you whom on a previous thread decried the lack of a place on the MB where one could get advice about buying a clock. Well, my OPINION (that's all it is, not the Gospel) is that if your heart is set on owning a #5, to wait and pay a bit more for a better one.

    A #2 or a #5? The questions I think you should be asking yourself are as above. Not which is more accurate.

    RM
     
  14. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    rm -

    the grain is there. your other points are valid but to each their own.

    the true collectors on this site feel strongly that clocks should only be acquired if all original... even if costing (significantly) more. my hunch is that this is based on years and years of clock immersion and having seen, compared, and/or repaired hundreds of clocks. it is no wonder they gravitate toward the exceptional clocks.

    in a very broad-brush manner, i would say i live in a different world than those (most of you) folks: my world is filled with computers, iPads, digital things... i am surrounded by people who are not handy, who don't like to fix things, who view mechanical things as magic... there are very few clocks among the natives of my world. maybe someone has one they inherited, but it's probably not running and definitely hasn't been serviced in years.

    i am relatively new to clocks. in the last two years i've gone from one 1890s regulator 2 to a dozen clocks... a couple of them are immaculate, a couple are frankenclocks i built up from movements and other parts scrounged off of eBay or local chapter marts or my various clock mentors, and the rest are better-than-average-but-not-necessarily-all-orignal.

    why do i say better than average? because in the short time since my passion for clocks ignited i have spent every day researching, reading, studying, asking questions, making stupid repair mistakes. i have filled most walls in my house with clocks... clocks whose movements have been cleaned, with pinions straightened and burnished, plates bushed, escape wheel teeth replaced and/or straightened, etc.

    somewhere between the pristine clocks you (and others) hold out for and the blatant repros or ones that have lived hard lives are clocks that just needed a little TLC... and those are the ones i've managed to keep finding. if i went by your recommendation, i would have had to spend $30,000 or more to have the clocks i currently have... instead of the $6-7k i've spent on them... and a lathe, an ultrasonic cleaner, tools, etc.

    i am THRILLED by the clocks ticking in every room of my house; by the reactions of the natives of my world who haven't seen the like before; by knowing that even though many of you might take issue with an individual clock's originality they are ALL running perfectly... clean, happy, in beat, no issues... and i've learned both how to tell and how to get them there.

    as for the e. howard no. 5... the question was not simply 'is it more accurate than a regulator 2?'... it was a request for more information so i could better appreciate place of any e. howard no. 5 in a collection. the answers i received from this forum (and from taking a second look at eBay and my own walls) was there are many more regulator 2s out there than EH 5s... but i now have a no. 5 hanging on my wall and it looks gorgeous. i couldn't be happier... even with full awareness of the issues raised by you and others.

    i do believe i'm ready to step it up a notch and spend more on my next acquisitions. why? because i've also learned that the market has been in a slump... with only the better clocks really holding their value. i don't disagree with your recommendations... i was just pointing out that if i had applied that strict a standard i wouldn't be surrounded by clocks or get to play with and clean and repair movements almost every day, etc.

    none of us is getting younger. given the depressing comments from the old-timers here about their kids having zero interest in their collections or businesses and letters from the nawcc saying the membership continues to drop 2-3% a year, maybe passion from relative newbies like me should be encouraged.

    smike












     

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