Living with an IBM Master Clock

Discussion in 'Electric Horology' started by StephanG, Jul 1, 2007.

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  1. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

    Jun 24, 2007
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    Hello all

    It is great to have such an interesting clock mounted on the wall at home but anyone who knows how these things work will know that they are noisy. The tic, tic of the main escapement is a very nice sound but that big CLUNK every 60 seconds is something else.
    The previous owner of my example came up with an interesting idea of using 2, 12 volt power supplies in series. The first is a fixed 12 volt and the second is variable. Both ex train set units. This gives you a variable power supply of about 13 to 26 volts. You start at max (26) and gradually wind it down till you get to the minimum the clock needs to work. As you do this it gets quieter. Next I had a lot of echo from the box so I filled the back space between the clock and the wall with thick pile carpet. I also attached some felt to the back of the dial and things got a bit better. Last thing I did was to attach a small spring to the solinoid plunger to keep a bit of tension on it. This got rid of a bit of a rattle that you could hear with each puls. I did make sure to do this in a way that does not hurt the clock. No new holes etc. I am now at a point where we can live with the clock the way it is but visitors who decide to stay over still have a problem with the clunk.
    This brings me to my next idea but first I need to find out a bit more about how the clock works.

    1/ I believe the clock has a spring in it that will keep things going when the power goes off. If the clock were to be turned off for say 8 hours how long would it take to rewind the spring?

    2/ If I were to put a timer on the power supply to turn off the clock every night and then on again each morning would this cause any problems.
    In other words would it be OK to use the spring every day or is it intended only for occasional use.

    I have a few other questions as well but that will do for starters.

    TIA

    Steve
     
  2. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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    There's really nothing much one can do to reduce the clatter of the bell programmer on these master clocks short of disconnecting it to prevent it from advancing.

    The once-every minute clack of the movement wind mechanism can be quiteted to near silence by installing the IBM engineering change that substitutes a one-RPM cam motor for the electromagnets. The motor runs continuously and quietly save for the click from the ratchet pawl.

    The change is difficult to locate but with some ingenuity, one can be constructed from salvaged mains powered clock parts.
     
  3. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

    Jun 24, 2007
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    Is there per chance anyone watching who has one of these devices who would be willing to post a picture of it. I don't think making it will be a problem once I know what it looks like and how it attaches to the clock.
    TIA
    Steve
     
  4. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

    Jun 24, 2007
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    For the time being I have put a simple timer on the mains to the clock. Turns off at midnight and on again at 7.00 am.
    The clock is still going fine and keeping time. Nights are quiet.
    I am still not sure if this approach will work for any length of time because I do not know how long the clock takes to rewind the spring after a power outage.
    For example if I am taking out 7 hours of run time but only putting back 6 hours of wind then I am loosing 1 hour of spring reserve a day and the clock will stop after about 24 days. This is just a guess.
    I do not have any of the other bits that go with the clock so there is nothing else to power. No other noises to contend with.
    Is regular use of the spring backup going to cause any long term problems.
    I imagine the spring reserve was not intended for regular use but for use as a backup system. Could I damage something by using it this way?
    TIA
    Steve
     
  5. Edwardo

    Edwardo Registered User

    Jun 18, 2006
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    Steve,

    I think ECKMILL is a bit confused regarding the noise source

    Your clock does not have a bell programmer in it

    He is correct in suggesting the IBM upgrade of a motor winder
    I have one here that you are welcome to copy

    However this will not completely fix you problem if you want to run slave clocks

    The spring in your clock should give you 11 hours run time without power
    It is partly wound by a solenoid every 60 seconds, hence the clunk
    If you set up your clock correctly you can shut the power off to it on a timer at, say 11pm and on again at 8 am
    The clock will catch up the difference at 8 am, and wind up the main spring
    You can only do this because you have a pulse accumulator fitted to the bottom of your movement

    In my house I have three slaves and a clocking in machine connected to my IBM master clock

    I have a young family who sleep through the noise, but when guests stay over I am often asked to switch it off
    In the morning I switch it on again and all the clocks correct themselves in under 20 minutes (I refuse to switch off my other master clocks!!!)



    If you (or anybody else who is interested) want to contact me off list to discuss electric clocks please feel free to email me
    My email is "erltrad at optusnet dott com dott au"
    Edd

     
  6. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

    Jun 24, 2007
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    Just wanted to bring people up to date with where I am with this clock.
    The timer idea worked till 2 weeks ago when the clock stopped. I suspect that the time it was off ( 4 hours) was just a bit longer than the spring time it recovered each day so it lost a bit each time till it eventually stopped. It has taken a few months. I will set it going again and see if the same thing happens. A kind member has also sent some instructions that involve a capacitor that is supposed to make it quieter. I will give that a shot over the Christmas break.
     
  7. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Steamcar, if your clock has the contacts for running impulse slave clocks, you may be able to wire the wind coil up to the "A" line to take advantage of the extra 20 or so correction pulses, which may be enough to keep the spring wound with the night shutoff. Of course, that will make the 59th minute annoying:eek:
     
  8. fdew

    fdew Registered User

    Jul 12, 2007
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    If you search the Google patents you might find the AC motor winding for your clock but here is the trick as best I remember

    You 1 rpm motor 1.1 or so would be better but I don't know where you would find one. In the US we used a 50 HZ rotor in a 60 HZ system. the motor has a cam on it (it could be just a brass disk with a off set hole for the motor shaft. The cam pulls in the lever that is now pulled in by the coils and that does the job.

    I once hand built one for a different master. at that time I didn't have access to a machine shop so I found a motor, mounted a old gear on it, I drilled a hole in the gear off center but parallel with the motor shaft. I then mounted this where it was convenient, and put one end of a stiff spring around the pin, the other end had a wire that was fastened to the arm that advances the paw to wind the clock, Once a minute, it would slowly pull that lever in, and slowly let it back out. The stiff spring was in case I didn't get the length of the pull wire just right. if you remove the coils so you can pull slightly past where they would stop the lever, you may not need them.

    BTW Why the name SteamCar? I ask because I just finished training to drive a steam traction engine.

    Frank
     
  9. Edwardo

    Edwardo Registered User

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    Hi Steve
    Forget the capacitor ideal
    I have since tried it

    You need a good kick to pull in the solenoid

    Using the capacitor idea creates an intermittent wind and you will end up with more problems then you got now

    I would either convert it to motor wind or re configure what you have already got
    These clocks are wired very differently then the ones sold in Canada and the States

    As I am local to you and am happy to take a look, it might just need setting up

    Also I will be stripping a motor wind movement in the next month or so
    I am happy to photo the parts and give you some dimensions if it would help

    Edd
     
  10. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

    Jun 24, 2007
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    Hello Edwardo,

    Thanks for the tip on the capacitor idea. I was about to try it.
    Further investigation into why my clock stopped has revealed a broken spring. It would appear that the timer idea did not work either as the main spring was not up to everyday use.
    I have found some nice motors but they are faster than 1 rpm. Am now considering running the motor once each min with the existing setup and arranging for it to run for just 1 revolution. I will let you know how the idea works out. Meantime here is a couple of pics of my movement.
    I took these before I touched anything so I can put it back as it was when I am finished. Looks like it will have to come apart so might as well clean and service it. If anyone knows where I can source a mainspring I would be gratefull for the clue.

    Steve
     

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  11. fdew

    fdew Registered User

    Jul 12, 2007
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    Very nice.

    The stuff below the large coil is an accumulator. It would "count' the minutes that are not sent out to the slaves providing a sort of group correction after a power failure. (if the clocks were off 4 hrs it would allow a pulse every 2 sec until 240 pulses had been sent out.) If you remove it, or remove the gear that drives it and one wire, (The very large gear), your clock will make less noise, and the movement will have less to do.

    (It was a option, and the master will run fine without it.) I would certainly save it as it is a valuable antique.

    Frank
     
  12. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Steamcar, I have a few mainsprings for these, if you are sure yours is broken and not repairable. If you have overtightened the winder in an effort to get more run time on a full wind, that could be the reason yours has broken. Your movement looks to be in need of cleaning if nothing else.
    The accumulator could be used to rewind the clock after your night shutoff comes back on (it would be very noisy for a half an hour or so)
     
  13. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

    Jun 24, 2007
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    Thanks Frank,
    I have been told about the accumulator but do not think this one is complete. I suspect there are some bits removed by the previous owner.
    From the back by the look of it. The wheels turn easily enough but do not appear to perform any function at this time. I suspect it has been disabled in some way as you have mentioned would be a good idea. I will be leaving it there as it does not appear to cause any problems and looks interesting.

    Thanks Harold,
    I will contact you about the spring once I know for sure if mine is broken.
    I am not sure about cleaning the whole clock as this would appear to be a big task given all the extra bits that would have to be removed and replaced. If I just cleaned some of the brass that would make the rest look worse. At least at the moment from the front all the bits match. It does need a clean and service of all the working parts to put it in good working order. How far would you go with a clean?

    Steve
     
  14. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

    Jun 24, 2007
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    Hello Harold,
    I do not fully understand your referance to "overtightened the winder"
    My clock has a solenoid that pulls a lever against a coil spring.
    The coil spring does the winding and not the solenoid.
    Once the main spring is fully wound the solenoid will still pull the lever in but the coil spring will not be able to wind it any further.
    I have not altered or replaced any of these parts. They are exactly as they were when I recieved the clock. If something is not as it should be I am not aware of it.
     
  15. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    SC, the spring that pulls the solenoid back after it is energized is adjustable, and can be tensioned too tight. You don't want the spring "fully wound" before the spring can no longer pull the solenoid back.
     
  16. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

    Jun 24, 2007
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    Thanks Harold for your explanation. I have found the adjustment that you mentioned. Currently mine is set in about the centre of its range. I can not say if the coil spring is origional but it appears to have been there for some time. Closer inspection of the main spring shows that it is either disconnected in the middle or broken. From the outside all looks intact. I am currently working on a winding arrangement to replace the solenoid and will take the clock apart once that is made.
     
  17. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Steve, sounds like you will need a mainspring. They do occasionally break for no obvious reason.
     
  18. Edwardo

    Edwardo Registered User

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    Steve,

    By the look of your photo the accumulator is complete
     
  19. Edwardo

    Edwardo Registered User

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    Here are some photos that may help
     

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  20. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

    Jun 24, 2007
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    Hello Edwardo,

    Thanks for the pictures. I see how they did it but the 1 rpm motor is not so easy to find. Here is what I have come up with so far. My winder is on a brass plate attached to the side using existing screw holes so I can remove it easily if the right part ever comes my way. This system uses a 60 rpm motor that will be geared down. It will have a latching relay that will make the winder run for 1 turn each time the clock pulses. It might look a but messy but I am using bits I already have so it is only costing me time.
    The adjusting screw at the end allows adjustment of the throw inwards and push rod is free in the brass body so it can stay in if the clock is fully wound. Doesn't look much but there are a couple of earlier ideas in the bin which we won't talk about. Will get it finished as soon as work gets out of the way. Just wanted to show you progress to date.
    Harold, I would like to accept your offer for a spring if you can give me some contact details. Also I suspect the winding latch is worn but am hoping I can reshape the tooth to fix that. Has this been your experience?
    Thanks
     

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  21. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Never had to replace the wind pawls, reshaping the ends would work OK.
    1 RPM motors shouldn't be too hard to find. If you have any local time clock repair companies, they should carry them. If not, I have lots. PM me for the mainspring:thumb:
     
  22. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

    Jun 24, 2007
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    Here are a couple of pictures of my completed winder module. I will add one of it on the clock when I get the clock back together again. Mainspring was broken 2 coils from the inner end. Either old age or it did not like working every night. The winder takes just over 1 second to do it's thing so this can be used with all the origional switch gear. It should behave just like the old solenoide did but with no noise. The relay also makes life easier for the points as they no longer carry much current. I have managed to keep the winder as a complete unit in its own right so tis easy to remove later if needed. I have also stamped my name on the new bit so those who follow will know it is a ring in. If I had a couple of gears I would have used those in place of the chain but I have used what I had to hand and it works OK. The chain, gears and motor are from a 35mm securiety camera. The switch gear is from a telephone switchboard. No extra holes were drilled in the clock.
     

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  23. Edwardo

    Edwardo Registered User

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    Hi Steve,

    Nice piece of work

    Its good to see there are still people out there that can be bothered
    to tinker with these sorts of things

    Hope it gives you years of service

    Edd
     
  24. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

    Jun 24, 2007
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    Here are some pictures of the winder fitted to the clock.
    I managed to get a workable mainspring and the clock has had a bit of a clean and service. I did not brighten the plates as the thought of pulling all the switchgear apart to do the job properly was a bit daunting. So it still has it origional patina but all the working parts have been cleaned and re oiled. For myself I don't mind that it looks old. The new spring is a bit firmer than the old one and I don't think it will fully wind. This will not effect normal operation but the clock will not have the same reserve if the power goes off. For my use I don't see that as a big problem.
     

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  25. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

    Jun 24, 2007
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    Back together again. Even though the motor I used is 24 volt I have had to reduce the voltage to 12v. In my case this was easy cause I have a variable voltage power supply already installed. This has made it even quieter. The clock is runnung better than ever. Still have 24v available to run a slave if I find one. All that remains is to see how well it stands up to time. I will let it run like this for a bit while I turn my attention to the new dial.
     

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  26. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Great job, Steve. I see you were able to work around the original wind solenoid. Should be lots quieter now.
     
  27. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

    Jun 24, 2007
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    My clock has been running about 2 weeks now with no problems. The only thing I have noticed is that the pendulum now swings further than it did before. It must have liked being cleaned and re oiled. It is now swinging about 1/4 inch past the ends of the scale on the indicator at the bottom.
    I don't mind the bigger swing and it does not appeared to have upset the time keeping but is this a problem and if so can anyone tell me how to adjust it.
     
  28. fdew

    fdew Registered User

    Jul 12, 2007
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    Very nice, Can we see a picture of the case?

    Frank
     
  29. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

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    Hello Frank.
    Here is a picture of the complete clock. Am currently working on a new dial to make it look a bit more interesting and will add another picture when that is finished. The old dial will be attached to the back of the case to preserve it. Next owner can put it back if they want.
     

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  30. fdew

    fdew Registered User

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    Wow. That is the newest case I have seen form IBM That makes it quite rare. In it's day most masters were AC. Also, to my eye a very good looking case. When I was at simplex the model 25 was no longer in the catalog but there was a pendulum radio master. It was basically a model 25 with a slip clutch and a heart shaped cam on the second hand to allow correction from a radio tuned to WWV There was one at the Rochester NY airport It was in a case just like yours.

    Very nice find.

    I wonder who has the oldest case or the most unique. Your may be the most unique Liberty tool in Rochester. made a lot of parts for IBM and received a IBM master in a floor case That is the only one I ever saw and I don't know where it went.

    Frank
     
  31. fdew

    fdew Registered User

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  32. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

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    Thanks Frank,

    That is interesting,

    However the article about IBM time equipment said that "IBM time equipment is manufactured in the companies plant in Endicott NY"

    The accumilator on my clock (the bit attached to the bottom of the movement) is marked "INTERNATIONAL made in England"

    Could this be an English made case. Since it was imported into Australia it could have come from anywhere.
     
  33. fdew

    fdew Registered User

    Jul 12, 2007
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    Your right of course. SImplex only bought out the Domestic (to USA) division.
    We know it was after 1956 but we don't know how new it could be.

    Why are you called Steam Car

    Frank
     
  34. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    That style case and dial is shown in my IBM manual as a model 37 radio controlled master. However, the radio controlled movement has a center shaft sweep second hand.
     
  35. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

    Jun 24, 2007
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    There are no other holes in the case to indicate that anything else was ever in there. The transformers were added by the previous owner and I have not changed them. Clock is 24v dc. There is a metal tag on the left side just behind the cross bar held on with 2 round head wood screws that has the number 18867 2035. The first part matches the movement no and the second part matches the accumilator no. As far as I can see this is all as it should be but there is no radio stuff anywhere. Could there have been an Australian agent who imported parts and assembled the clocks here as and when needed. You could pack a lot of stuff into a case that big.
    Frank. Steamcar hints at another one of my bad habbits but it has nothing to do with clocks. Soothead also works.
     
  36. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Steamcar, if you have no model and serial number plaque with your clock, difficult to tell where it was made. Could have been ITR England. I don't think yours has been altered, other than the transformers.
     
  37. K Reindel

    K Reindel Registered User
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    What are the measurements of your particular spring (eg, thickness, width and length)?

    Also if the spring is broken very near the center it can likely be repaired.

    Ken
     
  38. fdew

    fdew Registered User

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    I just spotted another one of those for sale in England, It must be how they made the more modern ones over there. It also seems that Europe used pendulum master clocks much later then the US I don't know if it was power reliability, or frequency stability, or tradition.

    Perhaps some of our European or Australian members can tell us. In the US power and frequency were very stable and the frequency was corrected to make time accurate to + or - 3 sec per day non cumulative since the 50s was that true in Europe as well?

    Frank
     
  39. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

    Jun 24, 2007
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    Hello Frank,

    Would be fun to see a picture of it. Any chance of posting one here.

    As to power I am not sure about frequencey but I do remember in my younger days that every decent sized factory in Melbourne had a backup generator installed. They used to run it every couple of weeks to keep it in good order. These don't appear to be as common now. Perhaps we have built a few more generators since those days.
     
  40. fdew

    fdew Registered User

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  41. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

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    Hello Fdew,
    Thanks for the links. Both clocks are similar to mine and yet the case is still a bit different. They both appear to have a timber framed door on the front. Size given is 54 by 15 1/2
    Now look at the picture of my clock. You will see a key on the side near the top. Just above that is a piece of timber accross the front. This is fixed. Same at the bottom. Between those is a full width hinged class door. The silver parts are attached to the ends of the glass and cary the hinges and the catches for the locks. Size of my case is 61 by 18 1/2.
    I like the white dials on your examples. Better looking than the dial that was on my clock. I wonder if the movements inside were the same as mine.
     
  42. fdew

    fdew Registered User

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    Poak around this link www.clock-museum.co.uk/w0814.htm There are two shots of the movement in there

    Your bringing back memories. As Harold mentioned Simplex offered that case with a pendulum master corrected by WWV I serviced one at our Airport. Around 1972 or so I had forgotten about the glass door.

    Frank
     
  43. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

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    Hello Frank,

    I found the movement pictures and the clock appears the same as mine less the solenoide wind which is removed in favour of a motor wind. This could have been a change later in life or it might have come like that. Is also missing the accumulator device but there is some electrics on the side that may provide that function. My clock is no E 18867. Could not make out the number of the museum one but it appears to have 1 more figure than mine something like Z372108. Not sure if the glass fronted case is newer or the smaller size is the newer version. Perhaps both were available at the same time. I see the ebay one went for under 90 pound. Not much to pay given all the fun I have had with mine so far.
     
  44. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Steamcar, the letter is likely a year code, the numbers, serial numbers. I don't know what the dating code for UK IBM clocks is, but it will be totally different from the US or Canadian IBM dating codes. I think that the motor wind may have been standard equipment on these after the 1950's. Any I have seen made by Simplex had motor wind.
    These clocks are for the most part undervalued for what they are, and the quality that went into them, especially when compared with the prices that a Seth Thomas wall regulator goes for.
     

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