SWCC Looking for some information on an SWCC Master

Discussion in 'Electric Horology' started by Matthew Ostrowski, May 2, 2020.

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  1. Matthew Ostrowski

    Matthew Ostrowski New Member

    May 2, 2020
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    This is my first post on this forum. I'm an artist who often works with old technology, and I recently came into possession of an SWCC master clock, case serial number F10186 (with an additional movement serial number 199536). The movement number (type F) is 52418. As you can see from the attached photos, the winding coils have been removed, the battery holder has been taken out, and it looks like the electrics have been fiddled with quite a bit. The pendulum, of course, is also missing.

    I've done quite a bit of research online, and thanks to the efforts of Mr. Bloore and the late Mr. Weiland, I've learned a fair amount regarding the mechanism, plus a guess at its date, but I'm having difficulties laying my hands on schematics, and I'm hoping someone might be able to point me in a useful direction or give me any further information about this model. I haven't started tracing all the individual wires yet, but it looks like the relay on the right has to do with the winding, and the one on the left with synchronization. It also has a lever on the front of the mechanism that seems to engage with the second hand, so I'm guessing this model both receives and sends time synchronization?

    If anyone has any information they could share with me regarding this clock, particularly the electrics, I'd very much appreciate it. I'd also like to know if anyone has any leads on where I might find replacements for the missing coils...

    You recommend lots of pictures, so I've enclosed lots!

    Thanks very much,

    Matthew Ostrowski

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  2. Tim Orr

    Tim Orr National Membership Chair
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    Sep 27, 2008
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    Good evening, Matthew!

    Glad you popped in to the NAWCC Message Board. In the 2nd-from-last and next-to-last photos, I think I see the case of a synchronous motor behind the movement (has those two reddish wires coming out). I can barely see what looks like "120 V" on the case of the motor. That might account for the removal of the winding coils and mechanism at the bottom of the movement. The mainspring and its wheel are gone too.

    My bet is that they are driving the seconds arbor with the synchronous motor. It's connected to the motor by the coupler that has the two over-length screws in it. The switches on the front of the movement may or may not be activating the relays in the case. Hard to say from the pix.

    Can't read the voltage on the one relay, but I note that it has something in the space marked "CYCLES." It could be 60 or it might actually say "DC." Can't read it well enough. I also see fuses below the left relay.

    I honestly cannot see any witness marks from the presence of battery holders. Can you?

    I now think you might have a "sort-of" "Master" after all. The switches below the relay are typical of the adjustment switches that often are associated with masters. The knife switch might turn off the secondary clock completely, if, for some reason it got ahead of the master, while the "key" switch could be used to pulse the secondary to advance the time on the secondary to catch up with the master.

    Please keep us posted on your progress with this clock! Looks like an interesting specimen.

    Best regards!

    Tim Orr
     
  3. Matthew Ostrowski

    Matthew Ostrowski New Member

    May 2, 2020
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    Hi Tim!

    Thanks so much for you kind responses both here and on the electric-clocks forum -- they've been very helpful. I've removed the works entirely, and I believe you are right about this being a timer, at least in part. Rather than the winder, which I guess is typical, there is indeed a synchronous motor, marked "640 110v 60CY 5W 1 RPM" along the circumference all, of which is pretty self-explanatory. Less clear to me is "713RC-1WR-5 3-69" which follows it (serial number?). The relay coils are 28 VDC, with amperage ratings at various voltages marked for the contacts, which is close enough to 24 that I think your guess is right. Unfortunately, I'm on lockdown here in New York, and my multimeter is upstate, so I can't check the coils or how the wiring is connected at the moment. The Synchron motor, obviously, just runs off of mains power, so not quite sure where the 24VDC comes in. I just checked -- I tried wiring up the motor and it appears to be dead -- neither sound nor heat. Does the polarity matter in those things? neither wire is marked, so I assume not.

    The second hand has one cam and one ring with a divot taken out of it -- hopefully visible in the photo. The top leaf switch opens at about 25", and closes at about 27". The one to the left of the second hand is open by default, and is closed between about 55" and 05". There is another spade-shaped cam closest to the gear, but it doesn't make contact with anything. The second hand seems quite firmly affixed to the cams, so I doubt it slipped off from some more intuitive timing, such as the top switch opening on the minute. What strikes me as odd about the synchronizing coils is that I don't see any hardware on the clock that looks like it would reset a minute hand, nor was anything wired to the sync coils, so the works may have been repurposed. (If the article on dating type F works by serial number from Bloore is correct, that would make sense, as the would date the serial of the works as 1908 at the latest, which seems not right for the Synchron motor, and now that I've really gone down the rabbit hole, I can clearly see witness marks of the vibrator motor contacts, quite visible in the fifth photo from yesterday)

    Never having seen the inside of one of these before, and not knowing precisely how the dry cells were installed, I thought the metal clips on the right interior, visible in picture 6 from yesterday, might have been a connection to them, since they are wired, but I freely admit I don't know what I'm talking about. I also thought it must have been at some point in its career a sort-of-master by the sheet number of contacts on the inside top of the case. My guess is that both works and case may have been repurposed, as there's no point to having a clock driven by a synchronous motor in a 5-foot case.

    So that's the result of today's researches -- thanks for the leads, which got my thinking on the right path. Not quite sure what I'll do next -- try to restore it to its original state? replace the synchron and leave it at that? And I'll have to figure out something to do with the relays -- I'm sure they make a most satisfying click when they close. And one fun trivia fact for you: I used to live about five block away from SWCC's original factory on Willoughby St. in Brooklyn!

    Thanks for your observations, let me know if anything else crosses your mind, and I'll keep you informed.

    Cheers!

    \M

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  4. Matthew Ostrowski

    Matthew Ostrowski New Member

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    And another thing I noticed (yes, this is what happens in lockdown) is that there is a divot in the minute wheel into which the left-hand leaf switch drops on the hour. In Bloore's 2012 article, he's got a photo of the same lever, which he describes as one that sneds an hourly synchronizing signal. So probably when the clock is properly adjusted, the leaf has to be in the divot of the second hand cam AND the bottom of the lever has to be in the minute wheel divot, which makes sense. Perhaps the clock is a master and a slave. I may have to buy another multimeter...

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  5. Matthew Ostrowski

    Matthew Ostrowski New Member

    May 2, 2020
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    Hi Tim!

    Thanks very much for all the useful information! I've found a movement for a -- what's the correct term? Subsidiary? -- smaller clock with a 120 bpm movement, but I gather from a clock guy I know that modifying it for a 60 bpm movement is not exactly a walk in the park. I'm keeping an eye on what's showing up on ebay, but I'm sure I'll mostly be seeing the faster movements from the square-case clocks.

    He thinks it would be less of a chore to just replace the synchronous motor, but, yes, then I have a case almost 5' high with a lot of nothing in it, which does not exactly appeal aesthetically. If I can find the right movement, or talk my guy into modifying one, I have sufficient skills to cobble together a pendulum if I can manage the other bits.

    Should I manage to get this working one way or another, I have got some plans for the relays -- as I mentioned in my first post, I'm an artist who works with old technology ( my last big piece uses 24 computer-driven telegraph sounders -- you can see it at ), so I'm sure I can figure out something interesting to do with those relays, even if it involves sticking a 24VDC power supply in there somewhere. I'm also planning to get it to synchronize daily from a GPS clock using an Arduino. No sync lever on this clock, but I've seen them around, and if the coils are there, and I can buy a lever, I can probably get it to work, however I wind up driving the movement.

    I'm going to pack up the movement Friday and send it upstate to my clock guy -- he's done work on various actual antique clocks owned by family members -- have him assess it, and we'll see where to go from there. My dream is a 60 bpm F movement in decent condition appearing on ebay tomorrow, but I don't think it's likely,,,

    I'll take your advice and post on both forums, although I bet there's a lot of overlap!

    Take care, and thanks for everything!

    \M
     

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