Bim Bam clock

Jeff

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What is the purpose of the Bim Bam clock? Was that to confuse people?
I never understood why anyone would make a clock, that you had to listen and hope you could tell what time it was.


Jeff
 

chimeclockfan

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No, it just sounded more musical.
 

Kevin W.

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I think it is because some people maybe prefer bim bam as opposed to a gong.I do like the sound of the bim bam:thumb:
 

Thyme

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Jeff said:
What is the purpose of the Bim Bam clock? Was that to confuse people?
I never understood why anyone would make a clock, that you had to listen and hope you could tell what time it was.


Jeff
Jeff,

Originally. they were called Normandy chimes. Instead of one chime on the hour, there were two. I would imagine that was the latest in clock design and technology, in its day. It was a musical dual tone, instead of a single, (often harsh sounding) single hourly strike. That was considered progress.

And realize that back then, most ordinary folks could afford only one clock.

I have several in my home/collection and I have no problem knowing what time it is in hearing one chime. Even in the middle of the night, when I appreciate knowing the time by hearing the clock strike while I am half asleep - by hearing the time, not seeing it by LOOKING at a clock. :)

But I never could understand why clock repairers called them "bim-bam".

They sound like "bing-bong", similar to our modern doorbells.

Bing-bong, Bing-bong, Bing-bong.

Could be worse... eh? ;)
 

chimeclockfan

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I prefer the 8 note verison used in Becker wall clocks, and DUFA longcases. The latter of which, no one remembers what they look like! :mad:
 

Jeff

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Thyme said:
Jeff said:
What is the purpose of the Bim Bam clock? Was that to confuse people?
I never understood why anyone would make a clock, that you had to listen and hope you could tell what time it was.


Jeff
Jeff,

Originally. they were called Normandy chimes. Instead of one chime on the hour, there were two. I would imagine that was the latest in clock design and technology, in its day. It was a musical dual tone, instead of a single, (often harsh sounding) single hourly strike. That was considered progress.

And realize that back then, most ordinary folks could afford only one clock.

I have several in my home/collection and I have no problem knowing what time it is in hearing one chime. Even in the middle of the night, when I appreciate knowing the time by hearing the clock strike while I am half asleep - by hearing the time, not seeing it by LOOKING at a clock. :)

But I never could understand why clock repairers called them "bim-bam".

They sound like "bing-bong", similar to our modern doorbells.

Bing-bong, Bing-bong, Bing-bong.

Could be worse... eh? ;)

I don't know if its the bim or is the bam that's the right time. I just find it strange to have a clock strike twice. Thank goodness it's not bim,bam,bong,. I always count the gong or bell,like 1,2,3 not 11,22,33. that's like what time is that! I don't think that the Americans thought of that one. I just bought a Gilbert with a bim-bam strike, I fixed it ,it now goes bam!

Thank everyone for all the response.

Jeff
 

Steven Thornberry

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Sounds like you didn't realize what you were getting when you bought the clock. I hope your fix is easily reversible. I have always liked the "bim-bam" and have never found it confusing.
 

Jeff

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Steven said:
Sounds like you didn't realize what you were getting when you bought the clock. I hope your fix is easily reversible. I have always liked the "bim-bam" and have never found it confusing.
I just tied off the hammer. I will take it off when and if I sell it. Right now it just makes a nice one strike sound.

Jeff
 

zepernick

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"But I never could understand why clock repairers called them "bim-bam".
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Would assume that the English came from the German, which was earlier used to refer to the sound of bells. The term shows up frequently in this context and among Poetical Biggies. Will attach some bim-bam bits from Goethe and Heine.

Regards,
Zep
 

Attachments

chimeclockfan

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Also, it was called "TING TANG" strike in the UK.
 

Thyme

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I don't know if its the bim or is the bam that's the right time. I just find it strange to have a clock strike twice. Thank goodness it's not bim,bam,bong,. I always count the gong or bell,like 1,2,3 not 11,22,33. that's like what time is that! I don't think that the Americans thought of that one. I just bought a Gilbert with a bim-bam strike, I fixed it ,it now goes bam!

Thank everyone for all the response.

Jeff
Jeff,

For the life of me, I can't understand how there is anything confusing about a bim-bam's strike. Typically, it will sound like bing-bong, (slight pause) bing-bong, (slight pause) etc., and it is obvious to consider each two tone set as representing each hour. The two tones are tuned to a musical interval that is a major third apart.

Unless, perhaps the chime rods have been altered? :?|

The rods should be producing two different notes that sound melodious, like a two tone doorbell (in most homes).
 

chimeclockfan

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The same reason as having quarter hour chimes. It just sounds better.
 

Seth Thomas Fan

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Maybe I've been using the wrong terminology all along. I have two Seth Thomas tambour mantle clocks that I've called quarter hour bim bams, perhaps erroneously.

One has an 89L movement with a rack and snail count that strikes two rod gongs on the quarter hours with a "ding-dong" sound (one set of "ding-dongs" at 15 after, two at 30 after, and three at 45 after). Then at the top of the hour, it strikes the hour on only one rod, the lower pitched of the two. My 89I is similar, but it has a countwheel, and strikes coiled square gongs.

So am I correct or incorrect in calling my clocks quarter hour bim-bams? :?|

STF
 

harold bain

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ST, you are correct. Chiming clocks play a tune, like Westminister.
 

Thyme

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I know that what I am describing is called Normandy chimes, but am I correct in that it would be categorized as a bim-bam? (I assume that any dual tone strike would be called that.) :?|
 

chimeclockfan

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Hmm, I don't know. Do you have any pictures of the clock in question? IMO, New Haven, who made these clocks, were a bit better quality than the standard american clock co. :) Confusing stuff. I can't seem to find one of these clocks. Are they rare?
 

Steven Thornberry

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Thyme said:
I know that what I am describing is called Normandy chimes, but am I correct in that it would be categorized as a bim-bam? (I assume that any dual tone strike would be called that.) :?|
I had always connected the term Normandy chimes to the Gilbert Clock Co., meaning their version of the two-tone (bim-bam) strike.
 

chimeclockfan

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Trust me, it was New Haven that used "Normandy" chimes. :)
 

Tom Wotruba

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STF and others:

Most quarter-striking clocks will indicate the quarter past the hour with one set of two strikes (on two gongs or on two bells). Half past the hour will be two sets of two strikes, and three-quarters past the hour will be three sets of two strikes. Eric Smith (in his book Striking and Chiming Clocks) calls these sounds "ting-tang" though I guess bim-bam would give a similar impression. The reason for sets of strikes is, of course, to distinguish the quarter strikes from hour strikes. For instance, if the sound on the quarter past the hour were only one strike ("ting" or "bim") that could be confused with a strike at one o'clock. At the half hour, if two sets of only one strike were sounded ("ting-ting") this culd be confused with a strike at two o'clock. And so on. This kind of striking is common in carriage clocks with grande-sonnerie or petite-sonnerie striking as well.

Tom Wotruba
 

Steven Thornberry

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chimeclockfan said:
Trust me, it was New Haven that used "Normandy" chimes. :)
Gilbert used the term "Normandy Chimes" to refer to their duo-tone strike. I am not aware that New Haven did the same, although they did produce duo-tone strike clocks.
 

Thyme

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Steven said:
chimeclockfan said:
Trust me, it was New Haven that used "Normandy" chimes. :)
Gilbert used the term "Normandy Chimes" to refer to their duo-tone strike. I am not aware that New Haven did the same, although they did produce duo-tone strike clocks.
Of the clocks I mentioned in my collection, one is a New Haven, three are Gilberts. Apparently no other American manufacturer used it, and not before 1930 or so. They all go "bing-bong" to strike the hour. (If I recall correctly, the New Haven does the same dual tone strike on the half-hour, but the Gilberts do a single strike on the half-hour.)

Note: I just consulted Tran's books and New Haven called this a duo-rod strike movement, whereas Gilbert called it "Normandy chimes". I'd guess they were competing to be on the cutting edge of fashion and technology in 1929...

But the question remains: how does one define a bim-bam? Isn't this dual tone strike what is meant by it? :?|
 

harold bain

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I would say, yes if it strikes on two rods (not simultaneously) it is bimbam. Sessions also had a "Duet", says, strikes the hour on Two Tone Chime, Half Hours in Harmony.
Ingraham had the "Duplex" series, strikes hour on 2 rod chime, half-hour on single rod.
 

Joe Collins

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Harold wrote:
I would say, yes if it strikes on two rods (not simultaneously) it is bimbam.
What would you call one that Bims on 4 rods and Bams on another 4?

I have an Urgos tall case, two weight, chain driven clock that strikes hour and half hour on all 8 rods. It tends to get your attention especially as it nears the top hours. The longest rod is 22 inches.

The clock is late 20s or early 30s vintage.

Joe
 

Steven Thornberry

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Joe said:
Harold wrote:
I would say, yes if it strikes on two rods (not simultaneously) it is bimbam.
What would you call one that Bims on 4 rods and Bams on another 4?

I have an Urgos tall case, two weight, chain driven clock that strikes hour and half hour on all 8 rods. It tends to get your attention especially as it nears the top hours. The longest rod is 22 inches.

The clock is late 20s or early 30s vintage.

Joe
Sounds like it is still bim-bam (or ting-tang, or whatever term "strikes" your fancy), just strikes on multiple rods for each bim and each bam. Similarly, I have a ST banjo that strikes the hours on two rods simultaneously, not the "bim-bam" strike.

I agree with Harold in his basic description of what we call "bim-bam", etc.
 

Joe Collins

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Steven, My question was meant to be tongue in cheek. I have always called it a Bim Bam. Its just that it strikes chords instead of notes.

Sorry if I confused anyone.

Joe
 

harold bain

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Joe, I think the manufacturers wanted to confuse us. In some of Tran's books, these clocks are listed under "Chiming " clocks, because that is what the manufacturers catalogued and called them.
"Normandy Chime" sounds much more sellable than "Normandy Bim-Bam" ever would have.
 

chimeclockfan

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Ugh. I found out New Haven didn't use this "Normandy Chime" Like I thought they did. :hat: Eh, I still think the New Haven tambours are nice clocks. I'd try to get one for myself if I could. :) Hehe.
 

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