Bummer...The German Time Bomb

Discussion in '400-Day & Atmos' started by Billy, Jan 29, 2007.

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  1. Billy

    Billy Registered User

    Dec 14, 2004
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    Out browsing antique stores over the weekend and spotted a box of 400 day clocks.
    $15 for 4 clocks, I thought, why not.
    Can always use the parts. The only one that caught my eye was the mini Schatz.
    Wasn't till I got home was I able to see what I bought.
    Pulled out a nice Elgin and gave it a half turn on the winding arbor and it started running!
    As I was checking out the other clocks, something clicked in the old memory banks, something I should know about that clock.

    Checked out some posts on the dreaded German time bomb, sure enough, I got one. :eek:

    So, its down in the basement for now, running down, (darn shame, keeping good time) so when the weather is better, it will be used for target practice. :biggrin:
    Billy
     
  2. kirklox

    kirklox Registered User

    Dec 17, 2002
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    These clocks are dangerous to work on unless YOU are forwarned and know that they are DANGEROUS.

    <span class="ev_code_RED">They do not deserve to be destroyed.</span>

    Oil it and let it run. Never wind it more than 3/4 way and enjoy its beauty.
    fixme7111936
     
  3. Bill_NY

    Bill_NY Registered User

    May 23, 2005
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    Billy,
    Was it in Salamanca? If so, I saw the same box and almost bought it but my wife thought my collection of 400 day clocks was quite large enough already! As Kirk wrote, don't destroy the Elgin, it will work fine if you just use precaution. Personally I only wind mine about halfway.

    Bill
     
  4. John Nagle

    John Nagle Guest

    winding fully will not hurt clock. There is a stopworks to prevent overwind. A metal pawl drops through a slot in the spring into a slot in the base to lock winding.
    The spring is a constant energy type (negator) that will supply as consistant an amount of energy that is possible from a mainspring. This is a fascinating clock when you start looking for all the innovations used in it.
     
  5. Billy

    Billy Registered User

    Dec 14, 2004
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    Hi Bill,
    Yeah, thats where I got them. Place was busy, helper walked up just as I noticed them, told her I would take them, so like I say didnt really see I what I got till I home.
    You have any luck finding project clocks there? I used to be able to find something every time we go, but its been dry for quite a while.

    As far as the bomb goes, I was under the impression these clocks just self detonated if or when the plastic let loose. I put it under a plastic dome, so we'll just let it run for now.
    Billy
     
  6. Bill_NY

    Bill_NY Registered User

    May 23, 2005
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    Billy,
    We were there Saturday and it was very busy! No, I have not found any good buys there lately or at any of the other local spots. Stopped at the Orchard Park mall Monday following an appointment and found nothing there either. Have been noticing prices are climbing too.
     
  7. Jeff C

    Jeff C Registered User
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    May 26, 2005
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    I've read so much about these clocks on this board over the years and always chose to pass them up. Reading this makes me want one and now I want one. They are quite interesting in their own way.
     
  8. Billy

    Billy Registered User

    Dec 14, 2004
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    Yeah, I agree, they are a pretty clock. I cleaned this one up and have it sitting the table, looks nice.

    Hey Bill, ya saved me a trip :biggrin:, we were there a few weeks ago and found nothing.
    Other than the sad looking veinna style R&A hanging on the wall. Talk about prices! They only had a price tag of $599 :eek:
    Billy
     
  9. Bill_NY

    Bill_NY Registered User

    May 23, 2005
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    That vienna has been traveling. It is the same one that hung for years on the wall at the Courtyard in Clarence.
    Bill
     
  10. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    Aug 24, 2000
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    I first met the Negator Spring when I was using a Polaroid MP3 camera preparing my dissertation in 1964. I have always thought they were a brilliant idea. I did not realize they had been used in a clock. I think I will keep my eyes peeled for one.

    I have had fantasies of converting a weight driven clock to Negator operation with a pair of spools in the botton of the case. I never did the calculation to see what length of run one might get. Has anyone ever done that?
     
  11. John Nagle

    John Nagle Guest

    No, Hamilton Watch Co. had considered it at one time but the time of the electric watch had arrived and it never went any further. When you start examining the different concepts incorporated in this clock it becomes pretty fascinating.
    Probably the last mass produced mechanical clock with any new innovations.
    If memory serves me, which it often doesn't ,Hunter Mfg out of Philadelphia produced the first negator springs. they handed them out as novelties at an engineering expo held in Philly. I think it was in the late 40's.
    I have seen two different models, one had a regular hairspring and the other a reverse coil.
     
  12. Stormy

    Stormy Registered User

    Jan 22, 2007
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    I've ran across a couple of these clocks, but have never wanted to pay the price on the ones I've seen

    Stormy
     
  13. Grandpa

    Grandpa Guest

    Hi,

    I was wondering if you could put a picture of this clock on the bb?

    Never seeing one I would like to see one.

    Are they really a bomb?:eek:
     
  14. Michael Davies

    Michael Davies Registered User

    Nov 29, 2005
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    Grandpa - search this site for "time-bomb" or "Haller time bomb" - and all will be revealed!

    Michael Davies.
     
  15. Michael Davies

    Michael Davies Registered User

    Nov 29, 2005
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    Grandpa - I'll have another go - the new search system doesn't seem to work like the old one! The only way I could get to the relevant threads was to search on "Elgin" but only some of the appropriate postings came up.
    Can anyone else help on this please?

    Michael Davies.
     
  16. Bill_NY

    Bill_NY Registered User

    May 23, 2005
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  17. Grandpa

    Grandpa Guest

    Thanks, I know what to look for now, and a good idea how to handle it.

    I have worked on about 12ea. 400 day clocks and have 2 more to get going.

    You have saved me future greif, blood and tears.

    My membership in the NAWCC and the BB has just paid for itself.

    Thank You,

    Oh, are you getting the cold and snow in Ny that we are along the Lake in Pa.? I spent the morning clearing my drive way. We expect 12 to 24 inches of snow and minus 30 chill this affternoon.

    Thanks again

    Bill:)
     
  18. Bill_NY

    Bill_NY Registered User

    May 23, 2005
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    Yesterday we got 8-12". Today is sunny but Buffalo is getting hammered 30 miles north of us. We are under a winter storm warning tonight through Monday AM. High of 10 degrees F and lake effect to drop two feet of snow on us. Gotta love it!
     
  19. Grandpa

    Grandpa Guest

    Thanks Bill,
    Yes we are also getting the cold, all single digits, last I looked it was 7 d f.
    Wind has been 30 mph gust to 45. Snow is blowing everywhere, white out make driving bad. several wrecks.

    We had a little sun Sat morning but then the snow clouds started coming in off the lake.

    Have a great day and keep warm

    Bill:Party:
     
  20. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Oct 19, 2005
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    The reason for partial winding on the "time bomb" is that if it does explode (remote chance, but it does happen) the stored power is less and more easily confined to the enclosed movement. If it blows through the side it can project glass fragments an amazing distance! I give them about three good turns and wait until they stop to rewind.
     
  21. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    Jan 1, 2005
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    Will somebody please explain "negator spring"??

    Inquiring minds need to know.

    bangster
     
  22. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Bangster - a negator is like a reverse mainspring. It gets power by being UNwound (like a seat-belt spring). When it is fully "let down" it is highly compressed into a tight coil. The danger with them is that when they are under tension and quickly let loose they don't just "coil up" like you'd think but fly out in all directions, sometimes fragmenting in the process. They have great power and will break whatever is near, including human body parts. :)
     
  23. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Bangster, think of any common retractor spring. The spring that rewinds a metal tape measure, automobile seat belt retractor springs, small gas engine engine pull starters, etc etc.

    These are also called Tensator springs, and generically "Constant Force Springs". Check this link for an example using a Tensator spring: http://users.actcom.co.il/meccano/tensator.html

    The key characteristics are:
    1) When you unwind it, it wants to wind itself back up
    2) There is no friction between coils
    3) There is no change in torque as the spring is unwound

    Here is a link to an experimental clock using a Tensator Spring: http://webpages.charter.net/clockdesigns/WC6.html

    In principle, the constant force spring will provide much better performance to drive a clock than any of the customary mainsprings. The problem is that it requires two arbors, one on which to unwind it to power the clock (the power arbor), and another to allow it to rewind itself (the idler arbor). Tom McIntyre asked if anyone had applied one of these to a regulator style clock; to my knowledge no but there is no reason it could not be done and much more safely for an 8-day run than the huge spring needed for a 400-day run (the GTB). Even a 30-Day run design would be quite feasible.

    In doing a quick web search I found there are 19 companies in the U.S. making these kind of springs (the automotive and small engine markets are HUGE), so they will not be hard to find. Anyone want to build a clock?

    John Hubby
     
  24. Eugene Bruce

    Eugene Bruce Registered User
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    Jan 17, 2017
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    In 1968 Texas Instruments produced an IBM compatible 10 1/2 inch computer tape drive with vacuum columns. It used a constant tension spring to counter balance the weight of the front plastic door which slid vertically in front of the tape reels.
     

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