Lackner neon glo bulb?

Discussion in 'Electric Horology' started by MCCLINTOCK-LOOMIS, Oct 12, 2009.

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  1. MCCLINTOCK-LOOMIS

    MCCLINTOCK-LOOMIS Registered User
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    Hello I just acquired a lackner neon glo shelf clock with a nice swirled catilin case I opened it up to find the light tube missing does anyone know about these? it looks to be around 3" diameter and hooked around the perimeter behind the dial are these available? and are they truly neon? the transformer is in place but untested any info would be greatly appreciated
    George
     
  2. neighmond

    neighmond Registered User

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    If it is neon call L. A. Curiel at the Curiel Reynolds School in Spencer IA at 712 580-5035; He's the one I had redo the neon in my store front and on some of the beer clocks I sell, and he does a few old advertising clocks for some folks in NE, so I know he would probably know about it.
     
  3. Mike Phelan

    Mike Phelan Registered User

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    No idea what this is, but neon gives a red glow - if it's not red, it's not neon.
     
  4. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    Neon tubes are produced in so many colors, the number would be very long. Indeed it is (was) neon. A continuity test of transformer should be all necessary. Follow NEIGHMOND's reply for replacement.
    "Neon" has become a generic term like, "Q-Tips", "Kleenex", etc. Not all tubes are charged with neon. The color of the light emitted is determined by the gas or gasses used and also by the tube coating in some instances.
     
  5. analogtime

    analogtime Registered User

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    Try waynsneonclocks.com. This is the best supplier for neon clock parts. If what you need in not on the web catalog call Woody he is the expert on neon clocks. Not everything they supply is on the web site.
     
  6. Ingulphus

    Ingulphus Registered User

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    George -

    Without a photo of the clock, I can only guess as to the model (Lackner made several different case styles, and later clocks, although still labeled as "Neon-Glow" used incandescent bulbs rather than neon.) Swirled catalin makes me think of the "Dulcy" model - there's one or two on eBay - and they usually used white, yellow or green lighting, although you can have any color you want made by a neon shop (check your yellow pages). A simple open loop shouldn't cost very much. Take the clock with you to ensure the size is right, and have them check the transformer as well - if it's noisy (hum), you might want to buy a new one.

    Best regards,

    Mark Powers-West
     
  7. MCCLINTOCK-LOOMIS

    MCCLINTOCK-LOOMIS Registered User
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    Mark,Thanks for the info,yes it is the Dulcy just like the darker one on ebay.there is neon shop close by so I guess I will take it to them,can I check the transformer for continuity & voltage? also does the transformer dictate the tube specs. diameter/length, any idea as to color?sorry about all the questions but I've never dealt with neon light.
    regards
    George
     
  8. Ingulphus

    Ingulphus Registered User

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    George -

    I haven't deal with neon myself, other than a couple of Lackners that passed through my hands a couple of years ago (and I'm still kicking myself for having let one of them go, as it was like the Dulcy, but with glowing gems marking each number) - there's an old post here relating that experience.

    However, I just bought a large (28") neon wall clock, very similar to the one in the photo (looks like a Glo-Dial, but made by Robert K. Lewis of L.A.), and all the tubing has to be replaced, so I'm searching around for a local neon shop. The one I'd found in 2007 doesn't seem to exist anymore, which is a pity, because it was a cool place to see...

    I also have the option of taking intro & advanced neon classes at The Crucible here in Oakland (they also offer classes in welding and ironwork and other really neato stuff), but it's pricy - $350.00 per course - and I'd probably not have much use for the skills once I'd done my clock. I've wanted a neon clock for a long time (there was a large collection sold at a local auction house here a year ago, but everything went for much more money than I could afford) - but I really only want one (unlike Self Winding clocks - I got bit by THAT bug BAD:eek:).

    Another reason to check your transformer is that finding a modern replacement that will fit inside the case is nearly impossible, although there's another post on this site (search for Lackner) about someone finding one. (yours should be fine - these transformers operate under a small load, and aren't exposed to the elements, so barring an internal defect, they last a long time, especially as they aren't in constant use).
     

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  9. MCCLINTOCK-LOOMIS

    MCCLINTOCK-LOOMIS Registered User
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    Is there anyone that has a picture of this tube to share?I talked to the neon shop and he quoted me $20.00 to make a new tube but needed some more specifics radius,tubing diameter,color:myhappy: and angle of contacts.


    George
     
  10. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    Now, I don't know that all were the same; somehow doubt they were, but the one I restored a year or so ago identical to the yellow, had a blue tube. It's been awhile but seem to remember it had no bends at the electrodes - that it was simply a circle with electrodes facing each other at the bottom near the transformer. Probably about 3/8" tubing OD.
     
  11. Ingulphus

    Ingulphus Registered User

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    Short of having another Lackner to hand for exact specs, it really won't matter about the diameter of the tube. I seem to recall that mine was just an open circle, sized to fit around the dial, but be completely covered by the bezel. I believe the electrodes were bent at right angles (pointing to the back of the case), but my memory's not clear on that. Take the clock in to him so he can see what's what - don't just send him measurements!

    As to the color - white, warm yellow, medium green and blue were all used originally - but for $20.00 you can make it any color you like (and there's a lot to choose from, in both coated and clear tubing - probably more now than when these clocks were made) - you can easily swap it for another color later on. Since some off the glow should be visible through the case, you might want a lighter color to enhance that effect.
     
  12. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    Come to think of it - yeah; They'd almost need bent back 90 degs. toward the transformer behind it.
    Yeah. I would take the whole thing in and let him do the measuring. I would not wanna leave the clock with him tho. I don't think he'd need it after measuring. He can test the transfomer also.
     
  13. Mike Phelan

    Mike Phelan Registered User

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    Ah - the pond has caught me out again, Scottie! :eek:
    What you call neon tubes we call fluorescent tubes. They generally use mercury vapour plus other gases, sometimes neon, but the colour is derived from the coating.

    As far as the OP's transformer is concerned, testing for continuity is a start, but one or more shorted turns will kill the output voltage, and cannot be tested with a multimeter.
     
  14. Ingulphus

    Ingulphus Registered User

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    George -

    What news on the Lackner? I just bought a "butterscotch" Dulcy (although the original color was an alabaster white - Catalin oxidizes easily), and I also need a new neon loop. I did manage to locate the shop that helped me with the last one, so I'll be taking it to him along with the larger neon wall clock.

    What color did you choose, and was the original transformer adequate to power it? I intend on hand-polishing the case (with Simichrome or Flitz - any good quality cream metal polish should work) to lighten the color and bring out the swirl effect. Bringing it back to the original alabaster is almost pointless - in about three years it will have reverted to yellow - but at present the color (from the bad auction photos) is muddy. I'd be curious to know what original color yours had - if you try polishing it on the bottom, where it won't show, you might be surprised - Green Catalin, in particular, darkened to the brown that's seen now, and if you haven't had the neon made yet, a polished case might influence your choice of color.

    Any chance of before/after photos?

    Best regards,

    Mark
     
  15. MCCLINTOCK-LOOMIS

    MCCLINTOCK-LOOMIS Registered User
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    Mark,here is a few photo's of my lackner clock in as found condition,can you tell from the photo's the original color?I have a telechron 7h101 imp that looks to also be from the same vat of catalin. this clock is pretty good overall but is going to require a bit of attention/repair.first is the bulb and transformer,bulb is missing I'm hoping to see an original so I can have a correct replacement made, second is the transformer it has the original unit but the coil on the high side is open no continuity I've checked a couple of sites but their open coil transformers are too large I could use a 12v transformer but as I see it I would have to run a second wire from the clock to the wall wart which doesn't appeal to me.the last item is it has a few chips on the back edge I would like to fix if I could do it correctly the largest one is down low by the base mldg. or maybe I will just leave them as it does display well.any help would be appreciated.
    George
     

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  16. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    #16 Scottie-TX, Oct 27, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2009
    ISAAC, I am VERY excited about this clock of yours.
    It is GREEN! Show us a picture of the bottom of the clock - inside also, you'll find when polished, it is a STUNNING green catalin. QUITE a find! High $$$$. Proceed carefully. Hopefully sometime in the future you can find another donor to replace it's tube and Xformer.
    As for testing the transformer - make certain your VOM is on the high ohms scale - 10,000, as the secondary will be very high resistance, so on a low scale - may appear open as needle will barely move. Oh? You used a digital meter? Well, then, OK. It's open.
     
  17. Ingulphus

    Ingulphus Registered User

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    George -

    For the repairs, see these sites: http://www.pontrello.com/radios.html and http://www.catalinrepair.com/frames.html. I'll be contacting them too, as from the auction photos, my clock has a badly-glued chip at the rear of the top. I'm assuming their repair services aren't cheap, but these clocks are very worth a professional restoration. The edge chips are almost invariable with Catalin, so you might just live with them and consider them a part of the clock's history.

    Another repair issue is that if you polish the case, restoring the original green color (and I strongly suggest that you do - it will almost become another clock), the repairer will match the color when they fill in the chips. As time goes by, the Catalin will darken again (unless the oxidization is removed every couple of years by polishing), while the repairs won't.

    I intend to polish mine solely by hand, using Simichrome - I've read that extremely fine grit wet sandpaper (4000- 6000 grit) can be used, but I don't want to remove that much material (the oxidization and UV reaction takes place within about 1/64" from the surface). And I'll be content with a light yellow color - the swirled alabaster white is pretty (there's one up at auction currently), but unless the inside of the case is returned to white as well, the case will always look yellow when lit.

    Given the size of the case (these were the smallest Neon-Glos Lackner made - the others tended to be almost twice as large), finding a transformer that will fit inside the case is going to be difficult, if not impossible. I also thought about a 12V supply, and since the Dulcy isn't a wall clock, the extra power cord may not be too intrusive, especially at night, when that neon glow is sending Art Deco shivers up and down your spine...:love: I won't know if the transformer in mine is any good until the clock arrives and I take it to the neon shop.

    Keep us posted on your progress, and I'll do the same. As I'd mentioned before, I've always regretted selling my previous Lackners, and they'll have to pry this one from my cold, dead fingers! Oh, and the same for my Self Winding clocks. And my Harder patent 400 day clock. And my Sonora. Geez - that's gonna be one crowded tomb...
     
  18. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    Don't wanna rain on yer simichrome parade, but I've rubbed out MANY catalin radio cases and you'll be a LIFETIME with simichrome to even change it one shade of color. The great news is most prefer the caramel color of your white case. It's your clock of course, do as you will - but simichrome won't do much.
    The part about rubbing it out is once you've started - you're commited - committed because if you don't finish the job, you have either a two tone case or is splotchy.
    How you do it is up to you - you'll decide what works best for you - but on dark ones like ISAAC's, I begin with lacquer thinner and 0000 steel wool. With copious amounts, outdoors of course - that removes a LARGE amount of oxidations quickly. You may even wanna stop there if satisfied. If not, I begin with about 400 or 320 wet 'n dry under running water or submerged, and work my way up to 2500, steel wool and then simichrome followed by auto paste wax. Days! It may take days to do this. I spent many a summer afternoon waist deep in the pool, rubbing out catalin! I noted also, doing this, that white is the hardest of material. It's MUCH more work to bring caramel back to white than dark brown to green. I'm betting it's because the dyes, etc. soften the catalin somewhat. Seems dark colors rub out much easier.
    I'd leave my caramel - caramel.
     
  19. Ingulphus

    Ingulphus Registered User

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    Thanks for your advice - I'll get a wading pool, although it might be hard to find one this time of year. I won't know until I have it in my hands what shape the case is in - the seller's photos were small and blurry - and I don't want to bring it all the way down to white, but the finish in the photos looked extremely muddy.

    I would have shied away from "aggressive" treatment, but strictly from ignorance. I'll try the steel wool/lacquer thinner (acetone?) approach and post my progress (when I progress - but I digress, more often than not).
     
  20. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    D O N ' T Don't use lacquer thinner if you're not planning to take down two white. It WILL get splotchy.
     
  21. Ingulphus

    Ingulphus Registered User

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    #21 Ingulphus, Oct 31, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2009
    The clock arrived today - after a couple of hours of work, here's the before and after photos. Note how heavily oxidized it was - acetone and 0000 steel wool removed the worst of it, and then I used 400 then 600 grit wet sandpaper, finishing with Simichrome. It's gorgeous, and I'm finding it hard to wait for the neon - I WANT TO SEE THIS PUPPY LIT! I'm thinking white instead of yellow for the tube (I've seen both, and you end up with yellow no matter which - it's more for the dial's sake).

    No neon yet, of course, but I stripped the clock down, and aside from refinishing the case, cleaned and oiled the movement, cleaned the glass dial and hands, and added a better switch for the transformer. The case has shrunk evenly, to the point where it's not possible to line up the screw holes on the back, but three screws appear to hold it securely enough for now. Someone had replaced the Synchron motor, as it's aluminum instead of brass, and dated 1977 - it's quiet enough now, but I'll probably replace it with an earlier motor - they seem to stand up better over time.

    ANd now I've got to go carve a pumpkin or two... Happy All Hallow's E'en to all!
     

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  22. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    Just - I MEAN! - absolutely supreme. You done an awxum job there, INGO. Beautiful. Fer me, it'd be blue neon - a light pale blue.
     
  23. Ingulphus

    Ingulphus Registered User

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    T'anks! Hmmm - pale blue, which would turn the case sort of greeny-yallery and the dial, natch, pale blue. Bears thinking about. It will depend on the samples the neon guy has - if they're lit, I can hold the case up and get an idea.

    I'd noticed in your advice that you finish with a coat of wax. Does that offer any UV protection? And does neon give off UV in itself? I'm thinking long and hard about the causes of Catalin oxidization, and how to stave it off as much as possible. This clock must have been sitting in direct sun for a long time - the chamfered curve and the front took much longer to lighten up than the top and sides. It won't be sitting in direct light from now on, and the neon will only be on for special occasions, such as when I'm in the room (it's the living room, where the TV is), or when it's dark, or if there's an R (or any other letter) in the month...;)
     
  24. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    Well, see, only reason I don't like white neon is that you can have white with any type of illumination. You can have colors ONLY with neon.
    Nah; I'm not a scholar on this but I don't think neon emits UV. Reason; I've never seen any product that appeared discolored in the proximity of neon. Certainly I believe sunlight may be the chief cause of discoloration. Otherwise - why does the bottom and interior discolor much less?
    For me, the wax - any wax - is simply to achieve the ultra mirror finish I seek on catalin. 'ell I dunno; It might speed up oxidation, all I know.
     
  25. Ingulphus

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    Scotty -

    Blue neon it is - a clear argon blue that does interesting things to the yellow Catalin and will look intense on the dial and hands. And every time I look at it, I'll think of you... :D Thanks again for the hot tip, as I was thinking well inside the box... My big Glo-Dial's gonna be GAUDY - emerald green around the dial (under the bezel), a rich purple for the top lettering and a rich double-coated red (not as intense as neon) for the bottom. It's a neon clock - why be subtle?

    George -

    The wiring on the Lackner transformer isn't as straightforward as it seems, and my neon guy was stumped (there's absolutely no schematic or indication of primary or secondary connections). He connected the two outer wires to 110v then checked the two inner wires - one had juice, the other didn't. Then he reversed the connections - same thing. When he connected one inner and one outer wire to 110v, he was able to get output - enough to light a 12" piece of neon (he's guessing about a 10ma 1,000v output). So when you were testing it, which wires did you test with?

    Turns out there is a modern transformer that will fit inside the case, in case your transformer is truly shot. He had one for $95, but his prices are on the high end (my big Glo-Dial's gonna cost a whopping $900 to re-tube), and you will probably find it cheaper elsewhere. It's output is considerably higher than the Lackner - about 20ma and 2,000-3,000v. I'm just glad mine works, as the more original, the better.

    I'll post photos when I have it back - I told him I'm in no hurry for the big clock, but I want the Lackner yesterday!
     
  26. MCCLINTOCK-LOOMIS

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    well,my lil Lackner is complete! :Dfigured the best way to make the tube as the electrodes were the obstacle in fitting into the case.replaced the original transformer with a 12v modern replacement and a wall wart,only one I could find to fit,I was even able to use factory holes in the back plate as I didn't want to make any irreversible changes to original parts.one side benefit to using the 12v transformer aside from getting some heat out of the case is I was able to plug it into a timer to turn on the neon in the evening without effecting the clock something you couldn't do originally.couldn't seem to get pictures of the lit case that look nearly as good as it does in person but It gives you an idea.nice to be able to see the time at night,with all of our clocks this is the first one with a light "oh the conveyances of modern living:eek:"
     

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  27. Ingulphus

    Ingulphus Registered User

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    Very nice! I'm still waiting for mine...
     
  28. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    Nice indeed. Yeah, neon is VERY difficult to photograph as it seems to confuse the camera's light metering system. Great job.
    So then you're not gonna rub yours out to original color?
     
  29. MCCLINTOCK-LOOMIS

    MCCLINTOCK-LOOMIS Registered User
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    I think I will leave it alone for now,at least until I figure out what to about the chips on back.oh the neon tube I used is gold looks yellow in photo's.I really like the mellow/antique glow it casts
     
  30. Scottie-TX

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    Leave the chips be. Yep! If that clock were original green, that yellow would make it VIBRATE!
     
  31. Ingulphus

    Ingulphus Registered User

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    My Dulcy is finally done (sort of). I'm going to write up a little monograph on the restoration, as there are a lot of minor pitfalls to be aware of when replacing neon, working with 60-70 year old transformers, etc. - but after the holidays, and after I get over this cold...

    I went with Scotty's suggestion of pale blue neon (argon/mercury) -the photos make the color greener than it is, but I can't tone down the green and add yellow in my editor, so this is what you get! The case has been sanded down to a pale yellow - much paler than previous photos; I may eventually take it down to white, but I doubt it. Scotty was right - white Catalin is much harder to restore than red or green.
     

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  32. Ingulphus

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    I revived this old thread because I've just won another Lackner "Dulcy", this one in what I strongly suspect to be a green Catalin case. Here are the photos from the auction; I'll post "after" pictures when it's arrived and I dive into it. It's a pity it's got a crack, but I can live with that, as it's not opened (although polishing the case will enhance it somewhat). The argon/mercury is green as well, but only bright at the electrodes, so I suspect the mercury's migrated and that energizing the tube with a higher output will distribute it evenly again. The original Acme transformers Lackner used in this model are only about 2KV, and finding a core and coil small enough to fit is impossible.
     

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