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Help with identifying this Seth Thomas white adamantine clock please

ChrisM

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Hi!

My next project!

When I bought this from a second-hand shop it was 'not working'; but when I got it home I discovered that the suspension spring was not attached. When I reattached it it worked. I would it and it ran for over a week. It kept good time and the striking mechanism worked perfectly.

I have looked for similar clocks but not found another white adamantine.

Can anybody out there help please? It would be nice to know something about it's history, in particular, how old it might be.

Thanks, Chris

August 2020 001.JPG August 2020 002.JPG
 

shutterbug

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I'll move your request to the general clock discussions area. One of those guys will know :)
 

Jim Hartog

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Hello Chris,

The response has been slow since we can't find it in Tran Duy Ly's Seth Thomas Clocks and Movements Volume 1 in the adamantine mantle clocks section. The one most similar is the "Unlisted No. 2" on page 477. It has the same shape and parts but the adamantine is marble like, not white, and it has no incised designs. The "unlisted" part means that it was not in a Seth Thomas trade catalogue so no accurate date is known. Tran has an actual picture by Merritt's Antiques and the date given is ca. 1900. Usually, the pictures are the catalogue pictures and the date of the catalogue is given as the date of the clock but the clock could have been made before or after the catalogue date. Tran also shows the movement which is exactly like yours, an 89, probably an 89C.

The section on adamantine mantle clocks shows several models with the white adamantine but the catalogue dates (1905, 1906, 1909, 1911, 1913) are later than the date given for the "Unlisted No. 2", so I am going to hazard the guess that yours is later than 1900.

The case of your clock may have a Seth Thomas date stamp. Check the bottom. Four digits (likely in reverse) and a letter. The letter is the month.

Jim
 
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ChrisM

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I'll move your request to the general clock discussions area. One of those guys will know :)
Hi!
My apologies! This is the second time you have needed to move me. Please just put it down to a 'newbie's ignorance'! I am having trouble trying to work out how to do a post. Thanks again!
 

ChrisM

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Hello Chris,

The response has been slow since we can't find it in Tran Duy Ly's Seth Thomas Clocks and Movements Volume 1 in the adamantine mantle clocks section. The one most similar is the "Unlisted No. 2" on page 477. It has the same shape and parts but the adamantine is marble like, not white, and it has no incised designs. The "unlisted" part means that it was not in a Seth Thomas trade catalogue so no accurate date is known. Tran has an actual picture by Merritt's Antiques and the date given is ca. 1900. Usually, the pictures are the catalogue pictures and the date of the catalogue is given as the date of the clock but the clock could have been made before or after the catalogue date. Tran also shows the movement which is exactly like yours, an 89, probably an 89C.

The section on adamantine mantle clocks shows several models with the white adamantine but the catalogue dates (1905, 1906, 1909, 1911, 1913) are later than the date given for the "Unlisted No. 2", so I am going to hazard the guess that yours is later than 1900.

The case of your clock may have a Seth Thomas date stamp. Check the bottom. Four digits (likely in reverse) and a letter. The letter is the month.

Jim
Hi Jim!
Thanks very much for your detailed reply.
I have had the clock for a while now and in my early research learned about the numbering system but I could not find even the traces of a number on the underside of the case...perhaps someone painted over it or rubbed it out in the past? Much of the brass work had been painted over with 'gold' paint (using a 4 inch brush! Not really but a pretty crude job.) Possibly it is a combination of clocks that someone put together?
But it probably is 100+ years old so that is nice to know. I am looking forward to taking it apart. The brass bits have come up really well after I removed the 'gold' paint. They have a nice aged patina. I was surprised at how thin and unsubstantial the lions heads were compared to the feet and they do not have the patina...very 'gold' in fact. Perhaps a reproduction part?
Anyway, thanks again for your help. I like old things with a 'story'!
Cheers, Chris
 

Jim Hartog

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Hello Chris,

The feet and the bases and capitols for the pillars are spelter that were originally plated. Your lions heads are pressed brass. The bezel is also brass. It will be difficult to make all the metal parts match in colour. That is why there is a lot of "gold" paint out there.

Jim
 

Grant Perry

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Hi Chris, nice clock! I am wondering if this clock was always white. From the smudges on the back, it "looks" like it may have been painted at some time? Maybe not....someone would have had to re-do all the detailed work on the front...
Grant


1630625022619.png
 

lpbp

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Hi Chris, nice clock! I am wondering if this clock was always white. From the smudges on the back, it "looks" like it may have been painted at some time? Maybe not....someone would have had to re-do all the detailed work on the front...
Grant


View attachment 670149
I think this is an original Adamantine the clock shows quality, not one that someone would paint white, the feet are top of the line.
 
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ChrisM

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Hello Chris,

The feet and the bases and capitols for the pillars are spelter that were originally plated. Your lions heads are pressed brass. The bezel is also brass. It will be difficult to make all the metal parts match in colour. That is why there is a lot of "gold" paint out there.

Jim
Thanks Jim. It definitely is spelter...(wish I'd known as the chap who sold it to me stuck to his price when I tried to haggle because "I'd get more than that just for the brass!" was his comeback.) But it was not too much and I have now rescued it from the scrap heap! And I enjoy looking at it. It is a beautiful thing. Can't wait to clear off my test stand and start taking it apart. Cheers, Chris
 

ChrisM

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Hi Jim!
Thanks very much for your detailed reply.
I have had the clock for a while now and in my early research learned about the numbering system but I could not find even the traces of a number on the underside of the case...perhaps someone painted over it or rubbed it out in the past? Much of the brass work had been painted over with 'gold' paint (using a 4 inch brush! Not really but a pretty crude job.) Possibly it is a combination of clocks that someone put together?
But it probably is 100+ years old so that is nice to know. I am looking forward to taking it apart. The brass bits have come up really well after I removed the 'gold' paint. They have a nice aged patina. I was surprised at how thin and unsubstantial the lions heads were compared to the feet and they do not have the patina...very 'gold' in fact. Perhaps a reproduction part?
Anyway, thanks again for your help. I like old things with a 'story'!
Cheers, Chris
Hi!

Took the ST movement apart today and found this. Pretty ugly! IMG_4759.jpg IMG_4758.jpg IMG_4758.jpg IMG_4757.jpg
 

ChrisM

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What is intriguing to me is that the clock was running. How? I presume that this bent and broken wheel is from the strike side because, although the clock was not working when I bought it, I discovered that the pendulum spring was not attached. Once that was re-attached then it ran for a week. And just before I took it to pieces I ran it again. So it must be the strike side because it never chimed of gonged. In fact, the gong hammer did not move much at all; it seemed to be stuck, certainly it would not rise and drop, even with a gentle finger movement...It just ticked! Stupidly I did not notice where I took it from when I picked it up...I was so surprised to see it. Also it looks to my inexperienced eye that many of the pivot holes have already been bushed so does this mean that someone has already rebuilt it in the past? Certainly very dirty and oily...seems like someone sprayed WD40 or the like onto it.
 

Jim Hartog

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Hello Chris,

"ran for a week":???: That looks to be a time side gear. Likely T2, because it usually takes the beating for a spring/click malfunction.

Your movement is an 89 so parts are readily available if you can't fix the gear or the bent pivot.

This is the sort of surprise that takes the joy out of getting a new clock.

Jim
 
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ChrisM

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Hello Chris,

"ran for a week":???: That looks to be a time side gear. Likely T2, because it usually takes the beating for a spring/click malfunction.

Your movement is an 89 so parts are readily available if you can't fix the gear or the bent pivot.

This is the sort of surprise that takes the joy out of getting a new clock.

Jim
Thanks Jim! I have measured the wheel and the arbor is 41mm across; 20mm from the pinion. It has 8 pinions. The wheel is 50mm across and has spokes. I looked on TimeSavers but could not see anything similar. Where else could I go to get a replacement please? I don't think it is repairable by this learner -driver!

Another question; should I remove the wheel from the mainspring before I unwind it? It looks like I will need to remove the click and click spring and hoping it will just slide off the winding arbor.

Thanks fo your help.

Cheers, Chris
 

Willie X

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I would suggest you do some further study before you do anything concerning the mainsprings.

It shouldn't be that difficult to find a good used 2nd wheel assembly (strike?) but there are many variations among these movements.

You may be better off looking for a complete movement rather than individual parts. This gives you more options to come up with one good movement. Lots of replacement bushings isn't necessarily a good thing. :)

Willie X
 
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S_Owsley

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It may be adamantine, but from the photos, it looks like it was painted white over the original adamantine finish. I could be wrong but that is my gut feeling. It doesn't look right and an adamantine usually if not always has some sort of grain pattern.
 

Willie X

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I've seen a lot of these style clocks but never a white one but there's still lots of things I haven't seen. Ha

It does look kinda 'fishey' to me. A lot of stuff got stripped, painted, refinished back in the 1970s.

Willie X
 

Jim Hartog

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Hello Chris,

When I said that the gear parts are easily found because ST model 89 movements are common, I meant finding a parts movement. Most clock people will have some kind of 89 laying around. I do. Willie is correct in saying that an entire replacement movement may be a better idea. Since your clock has the half hour bell, it is likely an 89C (check the back left corner of the movement for a stamp). With that kind of gear damage, the T3 pinion is also probably bad. Check eBay for a Seth Thomas 89C movement.

You may be confusing oil sinks at the pivot holes for bushings. Bushings are more obvious looking at the inside of the plate.

In the second photo in your original post, I don't see a hammer head, nor is the hammer in the correct position. More problems?

You mention your "inexperience" but with the half hour bell and the rivetted fast/slow adjustment mechanism, this is not an easy movement to learn on but it sounds like you have it apart so a commitment has been made.

Jim
 

JTD

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I cannot prove it but I agree with some of the earlier posts here. I doubt if this was originally white, it looks painted to me. Of course it may look different when you have it in your hand, but going by the photos, it looks painted to me.

Just out of interest, has anyone ever seen white adamantine? I never have, but I am not very experience in American clocks, so it may be that other have seen it often.

JTD
 

ChrisM

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Hello Chris,

When I said that the gear parts are easily found because ST model 89 movements are common, I meant finding a parts movement. Most clock people will have some kind of 89 laying around. I do. Willie is correct in saying that an entire replacement movement may be a better idea. Since your clock has the half hour bell, it is likely an 89C (check the back left corner of the movement for a stamp). With that kind of gear damage, the T3 pinion is also probably bad. Check eBay for a Seth Thomas 89C movement.

You may be confusing oil sinks at the pivot holes for bushings. Bushings are more obvious looking at the inside of the plate.

In the second photo in your original post, I don't see a hammer head, nor is the hammer in the correct position. More problems?

You mention your "inexperience" but with the half hour bell and the rivetted fast/slow adjustment mechanism, this is not an easy movement to learn on but it sounds like you have it apart so a commitment has been made.

Jim
Hi Jim!

I will put up some photos of the plates. Also the mainspring with the brass wheel attached. Should I remove the wheel before unwinding the mainspring please?

IMG_4776.jpg IMG_4772.jpg IMG_4773.jpg IMG_4774.jpg IMG_4775.jpg
 

ChrisM

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Hi Jim!

I will put up some photos of the plates. Also the mainspring with the brass wheel attached. Should I remove the wheel before unwinding the mainspring please?

View attachment 673289 View attachment 673290 View attachment 673293 View attachment 673294 View attachment 673295
Also, the hammer is there but obviously out of position; it seemed to be jammed. It would not go up and drop even when I raised it with my finger (very gently!) It will be something I have to learn about when I put it back together (eventually!)
Thanks very much for your help. Cheers, Chris
 

Jim Hartog

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Hello Chris,

I take the spring off the winding arbor, then I take the clamp off. Do you know how to do any of that? Do you have any kind of mainspring winder?

In looking at the plates, I don't see any bushings, but someone before you "punched up" a lot of pivot holes to make them smaller to address wear. Most of us would put bushings in the punched up pivot holes.

Jim
 
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Jim Hartog

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Hello JTD,

Seth Thomas did make white adamantine mantle clocks, some with appropriate names. Here are some of the models as found in Tran Duy Ly's Seth Thomas Clocks and Movements, Volume 1: Alba, Avon, Beulah, Blanche, Cortina, Dwight, and Polar.

A Google Image search will no doubt show some of these.

Jim
 

PatH

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Most of the white adamantine clocks I've seen are now an off-white color rather than a pure bright white. Not sure what they looked like when new - whether bright white or more off-white.

ChrisM, I think your clock has the best label I've seen on an adamantine clock. Nice find!
 

ChrisM

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Most of the white adamantine clocks I've seen are now an off-white color rather than a pure bright white. Not sure what they looked like when new - whether bright white or more off-white.

ChrisM, I think your clock has the best label I've seen on an adamantine clock. Nice find!
Yes this one is an off white, almost cream. Question: The adamantine is celluloid isn't it?
Cheers, Chris
 

ChrisM

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Hello Chris,

I take the spring off the winding arbor, then I take the clamp off. Do you know how to do any of that? Do you have any kind of mainspring winder?

In looking at the plates, I don't see any bushings, but someone before you "punched up" a lot of pivot holes to make them smaller to address wear. Most of us would put bushings in the punched up pivot holes.

Jim
Hi Jim!
I will have a go at removing that wheel; should just be a matter of releasing the click spring and prizing off the ratchet and wheel I hope.
My mainspring winder is a home made job. Not quite ready for action yet but getting there. Cleaning the movement is the main agenda item at this stage
Cheers, Chris
 

JTD

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Sep 27, 2005
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Hello JTD,

Seth Thomas did make white adamantine mantle clocks, some with appropriate names. Here are some of the models as found in Tran Duy Ly's Seth Thomas Clocks and Movements, Volume 1: Alba, Avon, Beulah, Blanche, Cortina, Dwight, and Polar.

A Google Image search will no doubt show some of these.

Jim
Thank you Jim, I stand corrected and am glad to know more about these clocks. Thanks for taking the time.

JTD
 

PatH

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Yes this one is an off white, almost cream. Question: The adamantine is celluloid isn't it?
Cheers, Chris
Yes, adamantine is a very thin layer of celluloid veneer. Seth Thomas was assigned the patent that included the method of adhering it to the wooden base. If you are an NAWCC member, there are at least two good Bulletin articles by P.V. Russell that include the topic of celluloid clock cases: October 1988 p 406 and April 1991 p 151. Members who are logged in to the NAWCC site may access the articles from the links below.

 

Willie X

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I don't think there is any question that
S-T made some white adamantine clocks.

The question is if the clock in question has been painted?

A good close-up photo of where the top rear trim piece meets the top would probably settle the issue.

Willie X
 

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