International Time Recorder restore thoughts appreciated

DrewTinkers

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Hi; I inherited a tall case ITR recorder from a family business many years ago. The last year of lockdowns has found me restoring a number of antique mechanical instruments; now it is this clock’s turn. But I’m facing a dilemma.

Its serial number is 195874, placing its manufacture in 1920. Obviously a wind-up mechanism. But, somewhere along the line, somebody put a synchronous electric motor into it, removing the mechanism up to the second wheel shaft. (They also removed the back plate and cut out the top arch of the central plate.)

The face of the clock shows that it had a second hand (missing after electrification), and wind indicators (those mechanisms are also gone). I’ve lit this photo to try to show the faded away, simple INTERNATIONAL logo. Also there are 4 contacts on the face, at 11, 12, 5 & 6, which the minute hand can touch on its way around; they are mounted on insulating bushings, and connected to a single wire on the back of the face. Obviously, this would set off some sort of time signal four times an hour, when the circuit would close; I have not been able to find any reference to this feature.

So, my dilemma: Do I go the simple route, and (besides cleaning and lubricating), replace the electric motor, or the hard route and try to rebuild a reasonably authentic wind-up mechanism? 1920ITR.1.jpg 1920ITR.2.jpg

Suggestions appreciated.

Drew
 

Salsagev

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I think you can find the movement relatively easily. Is there anything broken with the electric?
 

DrewTinkers

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The Telechron M2510 motor had stopped working. Having pulled it, I find that there's slippage in its internal gearing. I'm not sure how long they produced that model, but I'd imagine that perhaps the clock was motorized when my grandfather started his business in the 1950s; it wouldn't be terribly surprising if some gearing or bearings are worn through in the 1RPM rotor today.

That said, it wouldn't be hard to put another 1 RPM motor in. The remaining gearing of the clock (the minute and hour gears, and that to the shaft that goes down to the card recorder) looks to be in good shape under the dirt. Staying electric would be an easy out, but then there would be a long case clock with no pendulum...

I could probably manage to assemble most of the missing clock movement, but haven't a clue about the wind indicators. (I don't even understand how they operated, so recreating them from scratch would be impossible for me.) The missing back plate is an issue, as is the section cut out of the middle plate. And units with a second hand seem rare (although it is just basically on an extended axle from the second gear). I'd certainly consider replacing the entire clock mechanism, if one could be located... or assembling parts from multiple places.
 

Toughtool

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This looks like the movement to a ITR Time Recorder. IBM came out with an electrical conversion and I have one of the recorders that has the conversion. Chances of finding a donor for parts are slim. I would stay electric and save winding all the time. Probably why IBM came out with the conversion in the first place. Does it look something like this?
Photo at: Vintage Itr Time Recording Co. International Time Recording Time Clock 1925
 

DrewTinkers

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Toughtool, it is interesting to hear that the electric motor conversion might have been IBM issue. In taking it apart, I was expecting to find a jury-rigged setup, but the bracket that the motor is mounted on is a nicely made little piece, with fitted spacers that just match the existing hole spacing in the clock movement.

It is one of the similar recorder models to what your link pictures, but the longer 47" case.

Caperace, I can't picture any other use for the contacts than to ring a bell -- although I'm still having trouble picturing exactly why you'd want that happening four times an hour! It does look like that "improvement" was likely a factory-created thing, with the custom contacts; maybe it went in at the time the clock was electrified.

Perhaps if I keep it electric, I'd add back a second hand, and at least hang a pendulum...

Thanks for your input!
Drew
 

DrewTinkers

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Yes, Dave, that makes a lot of sense. And my dad kept the unit running in his den for years, and I recall the continual racket of the card recorder thunking and clunking through the day!
 

caperace

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If you decide to use a Telechron motor to run the clock 24/7, then my advice is to disable any part of the movement that isn't time only. Turning the time stamp wheels and any other non time keeping function can be hard on rotors.
Just disable the rod that goes from the upper clock to the bottom recorder and that will save on the wear and tear.
 

caperace

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Toughtool, it is interesting to hear that the electric motor conversion might have been IBM issue. In taking it apart, I was expecting to find a jury-rigged setup, but the bracket that the motor is mounted on is a nicely made little piece, with fitted spacers that just match the existing hole spacing in the clock movement.

It is one of the similar recorder models to what your link pictures, but the longer 47" case.

Caperace, I can't picture any other use for the contacts than to ring a bell -- although I'm still having trouble picturing exactly why you'd want that happening four times an hour! It does look like that "improvement" was likely a factory-created thing, with the custom contacts; maybe it went in at the time the clock was electrified.

Perhaps if I keep it electric, I'd add back a second hand, and at least hang a pendulum...

Thanks for your input!
Drew
There has to be other contacts for the bell programming, should be some other discs, pictures would help.
 

DrewTinkers

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There has to be other contacts for the bell programming, should be some other discs, pictures would help.
The contacts on the clock face are rounded "cams" of something like Bakelite. There's a brass or copper contact stripe in the middle of their peaks. The insulating body goes thru the metal clock face; in the back are terminal posts.

All that remains of the original wiring is a jumper lead that connects those 4 posts. (Cloth-wrapped wire.) It is pretty obvious that the clock's minute hand was assumed to be grounded to the whole clock movement assembly, and that the contacts were insulated from the assembly by their mounts, and that some low voltage circuit would be closed as the minute hand swept past the clock face contacts. Probably a bell that would just strike once when the circuit was closed, but maybe a buzzer/ringer that sounded continuously for the time the hand moved over the contact, or maybe even some connection to some external device -- although I don't think that this looks anywhere near as sophisticated as the ITR master-slave clock setups that I've seen documented.

1920ITR.4.jpg 1920ITR.3.jpg
 

DrewTinkers

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caperace

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The contacts on the clock face are rounded "cams" of something like Bakelite. There's a brass or copper contact stripe in the middle of their peaks. The insulating body goes thru the metal clock face; in the back are terminal posts.

All that remains of the original wiring is a jumper lead that connects those 4 posts. (Cloth-wrapped wire.) It is pretty obvious that the clock's minute hand was assumed to be grounded to the whole clock movement assembly, and that the contacts were insulated from the assembly by their mounts, and that some low voltage circuit would be closed as the minute hand swept past the clock face contacts. Probably a bell that would just strike once when the circuit was closed, but maybe a buzzer/ringer that sounded continuously for the time the hand moved over the contact, or maybe even some connection to some external device -- although I don't think that this looks anywhere near as sophisticated as the ITR master-slave clock setups that I've seen documented.

View attachment 645008 View attachment 645009
The bell duration was determined by how long the minute hand was in contact with the cam most likely about 5 - 10 seconds.
 

Toughtool

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Here is a photo of my International Recorder. It came out of a cotton mill in Moultrie Ga. It was used as a time clock only, but I was told (in 1966 when I bought it) the face was modified and had contacts for something. When I got it it had no wire or contact parts, just the holes in the face. I have never found a replacement face yet to restore it to the correct look.
The holes at at 12, 6, 9, 10.

IMG_20210322_133806247.jpg Recorder dial.jpg
 
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DrewTinkers

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Here is a photo of my International Recorder. It came out of a cotton mill in Moultrie Ga. It was used as a time clock only, but I was told (in 1966 when I bought it) the face was modified and had contacts for something. When I got it it had no wire or contact parts, just the holes in the face. I have never found a replacement face yet to restore it to the correct look.
The holes at at 12, 6, 9, 10.
Your clock looks quite similar to mine, but mine was wind-up converted to electric later on, and yours appears to have been shipped electric, since the face lacks winding holes. It is interesting that they kept the long case after not needing room for a pendulum, but perhaps they were in no rush to retool the cabinet making.

I've decided to stay electric with my restoration. I am going to redo the face; I'll keep the winding holes, but will cover the wind indicator slots. And add a nicer ITRCo logo. I'm also removing those contacts; let me know if you want the set! I'm making a printed face on vinyl to cover the old one; I scanned in the old one, and am currently going millimeter by millimeter over a new rendering, cleaning it up before I print it. (Fortunately, I have a wide bed graphics printer.)

I'm keeping the second hand feature. (Or, I should say replacing it, since it had been removed.) After the Telechron motor is rebuilt, I'll reinstall it with a new spur gear that I'll make from a long piece of pinion wire, with an extension to extend thru the clock face to mount the second hand on. (Need to make the hand, too; I'll do that out of brass sheet.)
 

DrewTinkers

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Here is a photo of my International Recorder. It came out of a cotton mill in Moultrie Ga. It was used as a time clock only, but I was told (in 1966 when I bought it) the face was modified and had contacts for something. When I got it it had no wire or contact parts, just the holes in the face. I have never found a replacement face yet to restore it to the correct look.
The holes at at 12, 6, 9, 10.
Oh, and I was going to mention that if you're not familiar with it, there's a date list for the ITR serial numbers here:
If the paper label inside the case isn't readable, mine has the serial number clearly cast into the recorder machanism's frame.
 

Toughtool

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Drew,
I knew about the serial number list. I've used the list to date my secondaries. I've never looked for a serial number of my recorder but I have looked for the serial on my 1930 weight driven master clock. That serial number was removed along with the contact set and bracket; I guess when it was traded in (around 1950). IBM usually took an axe to traded-in time equipment but my mahogany cased master survived but stripped. The recorder was not treaded-in to IBM so it still may have the serial number somewhere. I will look for it. I serviced the new master that was installed in the papermill at Panama City FL.

I got my recorder from the guy that owned (or controlled) the Simplex Time business in Tallahassee FL. He and a fellow IBMer were the original [two] IBM Time Equipment service technicians for the state of Florida. One went to Simplex and the other stayed with IBM when IBM sold the Time Equipment Division to Simplex back in December 1958. Harvy later transferred to Orlando FL and worked on IBM equipment at Disney and soon retired. It's a small world after all.

You may need this PDF:

Also, this link shows a movement for sale if you are looking for parts. Joe
 
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DrewTinkers

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Here's the completed restoration, with its rebuilt Telechron motor running it. I extended the spur gear from the motor, with a shaft on the end for a second hand. (As one would figure, that lines up with the bearing tor the original second hand in the clock frame.) I installed dummy winding posts, as I always felt that the empty holes in the clock face looked sad. And even though the pendulum that I added doesn't swing, I think the long case door looks better with one in place.
After cleaning, the clock mechanism looked quite good; no notably worn bearings or gears, and with lubrication, it operated smooth as silk. And, as discussed earlier, I'm leaving the card recording mechanism disengaged; no reason to put the load on the clock motor and gearing, but also, no reason to listen to it clunking and clattering all day and night!
IMG_1268.JPG
 

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