Did I make a mistake winning this Auction? Atmos experts please weigh in!

Gyro Gearloose

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May 23, 2022
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Y'all will probably roast me for having taken a chance on this auction, but here goes:

I was the high bidder on on this shopgoodwill.com auction for an Atmos clock, and what concerns me is what I noticed after the auction that I should have noticed before bidding (I know, I should have looked before I leaped!). What I noticed is that in one of the photos it is obvious that the locking lever is all the way to the left in the un-locked position.
I've already contacted them concerning the importance of the locking lever being in the correct position before shipping the clock, but now I'm wondering about the possibility that the clock is already damaged during its transport to the Goodwill, or even before that.

The clock does have the white plastic blocking device in place at the top of the movement which makes me think it possibly was never removed to put the clock in service? Would that blocking device help at all to mitigate any damage caused by an unlocked pendulum during movement of the clock?

The auction description describes the clock as "New in Box", which indicates that it arrived at the Goodwill in its original factory packing box (but no pics of the box were shown on the listing), but probably was left unlocked due to the ignorance of whoever donated the clock. Could the lever have accidentally been moved to the left while the clock was being packed in its box? Does the lever move that easily? It's also possible that someone at the Goodwill might have unlocked it for whatever reason, maybe to see if it runs?

I'm still waiting to hear back from them to hopefully learn something about the provenience of the clock, as well as what might have transpired while it was in their custody.

So assuming that the clock was moved unlocked while packed in its original box from house to car, driven to Goodwill, and moved around in their facility, removed from the box for photography, etc. What kind of damage would most likely occur in those circumstances? Minor damage? Irreparable damage?

The photos show the Atmos in mint condition, you can see the chain is at the 6 o'clock position in one photo, so the bellows haven't gone flat. Would any damage from a swinging unlocked balance wheel be obvious in any of the photos? What specific damage is usually seen in these circumstances?

I'm thinking the description in the listing is somewhat misleading. Any clock described as "New in Box" should not come out of the box unlocked, it certainly didn't leave the factory that way. Should I go ahead with this purchase or should I pass assuming Goodwill will let me out of this deal?

Lastly can anyone tell me what caliber this might be? Unfortunately the serial number is not readable in the top view photo. Is it possible this model may also have the additional 2nd pendulum locking bottom locking pin?

Thanks for your thoughts!
Cheers,
~Frank

front.jpg lever lock position.jpg left side.jpg back.jpg right side.jpg top.jpg
 

new_hampster

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It's a 528-8. I have not seen a 528-8 with the thumbscrew lock on the bottom, but I suppose it's possible.

I have seen clocks that have been improperly serviced, and the lock is re-assembled 90* out of phase, which will reverse the lock/unlock position of the lever. That of course would suggest the clock is not 'new'.

If the suspension wire was broken during the photos, I would expect to see the balance sitting lower, down on the platform, but it is not possible to see in the photos if the balance is sitting on the lock. For what it's worth, I noticed that the balance is in different positions in the right vs left photos. Maybe the thing was running when the photos were taken?

If the suspension wire was not broken at the time, and the clock is packed/shipped without locking (whether that is right or left), the wire will be broken upon arrival. A very tedious repair, but not impossible; expensive to have a shop do it. And of course, proper packing is also necessary to ensure the glass survives.

By the way, the logo on the front is the old logo for 'Celanese', a chemical company. I've seen several with the Celanese logo, probably given as corporate anniversary gifts.
 

etmb61

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Oct 25, 2010
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It was unpacked at some point. It white plastic shipping guard is installed wrong. There is a red label on its top that warns to user to read the instructions. You can see the label reflected in the bellows in your third picture. There is no reason to remove the guard to test the clock. I would think the person who put the guard back in was not the person who took it out. So not new in box but used.

label.jpg

Did you pay a fair price?

Eric
 

Gyro Gearloose

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May 23, 2022
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Hampster, thanks for the info! Interesting that you can tell the balance wheel has shifted from the view of the left and right sides. Since the clock is unlocked, I suppose that also could happen just by the photographer turning the clock 90° at a time to photograph all 4 sides. I like to think it was running though!

Interesting regarding the Celanese logo, I never would of deciphered that one. All in all your comments seem positive, so I remain hopeful. Regarding locking the balance wheel itself, it will be difficult to communicate the proper way to whoever prepares this 528-8 for shipment.

I've read that the lock should only be engaged at the point of the end of travel of rotation of the balance wheel. But i've also read that it should be engaged at the point of mid travel of rotation. Which is it? Either way it would depend on the clock actually running, right?
 

Gyro Gearloose

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May 23, 2022
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It was unpacked at some point. It white plastic shipping guard is installed wrong. There is a red label on its top that warns to user to read the instructions. You can see the label reflected in the bellows in your third picture. There is no reason to remove the guard to test the clock. I would think the person who put the guard back in was not the person who took it out. So not new in box but used.

View attachment 721489

Did you pay a fair price?

Eric
Another good observation. I wondered why the red glow was in that photo. But it is interesting that the guard has remained with the clock after all these years. Of course the fact that the locking lever has been moved also proves it was unpacked. I'm hoping when goodwill contacts me they can send a photo showing the condition of the original box ,and what else was in it. That might reveal a little as to how well the owner took care of the clock. Based on the mint condition of the clock, it may very well have lived its life in the original Atmos box. I also would like to know if any of the original documentation has survived with the clock.

What's a fair price? ;)
 

Robert Gift

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Nov 12, 2012
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Wonderful clock!
If damaged, will Goodwill allow the transaction to be reversed? Or will they claim you or shipping damaged the clock?
I would love to have an Atmos or similar clock but EMTs cannot afford such. (In 4th grade, after we made orange juice can barometers, I thought it would be neato power a clock by barometric pressure changes. Never knew such existed.)
 

Gyro Gearloose

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May 23, 2022
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Wonderful clock!
If damaged, will Goodwill allow the transaction to be reversed? Or will they claim you or shipping damaged the clock?
I would love to have an Atmos or similar clock but EMTs cannot afford such. (In 4th grade, after we made orange juice can barometers, I thought it would be neato power a clock by barometric pressure changes. Never knew such existed.)
Robert, Atmos clocks work on the principal of expanding and contracting gasses dependant on temperature changes, not barometric changes (the bellows is filled with ethyl chloride).

I just received this email from Goodwill this morning. I think I can relax a little bit now:

"I have given your packing instructions, to our shipping manager. I have attached the photo you sent showing the lever that needs to be moved to the locked position.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us."

I'll update when Mr. Atmos arrives...
 

tracerjack

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You have a 50/50 chance that the shipping department will actually follow your instructions. But, if it does arrive damaged and the lock is not in place, your email will give your request for a refund greater weight.
 

Robert Gift

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Robert, Atmos clocks work on the principal of expanding and contracting gasses dependant on temperature changes, not barometric changes (the bellows is filled with ethyl chloride). ...
Thank you.
I thought barometric pressure. Otherwise why insulate the clock within a glass case?
Pressure changes would have no difficulty with any case or glass dome.
Withew homes better insulated and better climate control, temperature swings would be less.
Would have to place in a sunlit window!
 

svenedin

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I understood that both atmospheric pressure changes AND temperature changes expand and contract the bellows and wind the clock. However, in a house like mine, that is not heated at night, the temperature changes would be far more significant in providing the power.
 

Gyro Gearloose

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Quoting directly from Wikipedia's article regarding the Atmos clock:
The clock is driven by a mainspring, which is wound by the expansion and contraction of liquid and gaseous ethyl chloride in an internal hermetically sealed metal bellows. The ethyl chloride vaporises into an expansion chamber as the temperature rises, compressing a spiral spring; with a fall in temperature the gas condenses and the spiral spring expands, winding the mainspring.[1] This motion constantly winds the mainspring. A temperature variation of only one degree in the range between 15 °C (59 °F) and 30 °C (86 °F), or a pressure variation of 3 mmHg, was calculated to provide energy for two days' operation for an early prototype,[2] while for a more recent Atmos 540 model the corresponding value has been computed as 4.3 days per °C

Barometric pressure is mentioned here, so I stand corrected. However everything else I've read and also what's been mentioned in the numerous YouTube videos I've seen only temperature variation has been mentioned. It does stand to reason that any sealed aneroid chamber will react to changes in barometric pressure as well as temperature. IMO what I think is the difference here is that the ethyl chloride gas is much more highly reactive to changing temps vs. barometric changes thus making changing temps far more likely the reason for maintaining the clocks mainspring than atmospheric pressure changes.

Here's a really good demonstration of the Atmos bellows contracting to a dramatic temperature change (using ice). It can be seen from the 26:45 minute mark to the 28 minute mark of the video:



Cheers,
Frank
 
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Wimberleytech

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I recently bought an Atmos of the same or nearly the same model from a guy off of FB Marketplace for $300. The fork was bent. I was able to straighten it and it is now working and timed. I cheated on the timing, however. I put a couple of brass washers on the balance to slow it down. Did not want to mess with the suspension spring. It is on the mantle and running beautifully.

I would be afraid to buy one and have it shipped by someone who did not know how to handle the clock.

In terms of price...I think I got a good deal, but I see numbers all over the place on these things.
 

Gyro Gearloose

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May 23, 2022
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Good news!! The clock arrived yesterday morning in excellent condition. The BW (balance wheel) was locked and GW did an amazing job of packing this to survive those FedEx Gorillas! The outer box was nearly 2'x2'x2' and contained yet another box which then contained the original Atmos box (triple boxed!).

When I unlocked the BW it didn't move, and looking at the impulse roller I could see it was in the neutral position. Since I'd already read many posts on this forum about the BW turning 540°, I turned the BW 3/4 of a turn and let her go. After about 8 hrs had passed the BW had slowed down to 360°, and by the end of the day I could only count 10 marks on each pass of the BW, or 300° of rotation. So I did go to bed with some trepidation of this clock was slowly grinding to a halt, but when I got up this morning I could count 11 marks on each pass, or 330°, so it did gain a little overnight.

I live at 9000 ft. elevation here in the mountains of Colorado. The clock was at sea level when it began its journey 4 days ago, arriving 2 days later at the Mile High City (Denver CO, 5280 ft. elevation). And yesterday it gained another 4000 ft elevation in a 2 hr. period getting here so I'm sure the bellows must of expanded somewhat due to the sudden reduced atmospheric pressure.

I'm thinking that the bellows will find a new "resting" position as a result, but as it acclimates to its new surrounding it will no doubt begin contracting and expanding normally and begin winding the mainspring as usual. The position of the chain right now indicates the mainspring is wound anyway, but I wonder if the chain itself where it connects to the spring guide in the back of the coil spring might need some adjustment to compensate for the bellows changing its position? Would the accepted 22mm to 26mm bellows depth shorten appreciably due to the expansion of the bellows at 9000 ft. elevation? I know, I'm probably overthinking this!

The main thing is that in its first 24 hours here in its new home it is so far keeping perfect time. My hope is that the BW rotation will continue to gain as the days go by. We'll see...

Cheers,
~Frank

shipping boxes.jpg bubble wrapped.jpg box-english.jpg box-french.jpg box-german.jpg box-spanish.jpg
 
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Kevin W.

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Very nice clock, i love the one i have. I considered i got a good deal at 500 Can, though, my bellows needs to be recharged.
 

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