My new E. Howard Round Top Tower Clock - A Few Questions

Discussion in 'Tower, Monumental & Street Clocks' started by keinert, Nov 25, 2013.

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  1. keinert

    keinert Registered User

    Apr 30, 2012
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    I recently bought this clock on ebay.
    Howard 1.jpg

    I have a few questions:
    Lever1.jpg Lever2.jpg
    1) I have circled a lever in green and then zoomed in on this same lever. What does this lever do? It seems that it would catch the small pin on the wheel and stop the strike train from turning, but gravity keeps this lever in the position shown in the pictures. Can someone please explain what this lever does? Am I missing parts for it to function properly?

    2) Which model Round Top is this? #1, or #2, etc:???:

    3) At the very top of the movement, I have only one half of a U-Joint as shown in the first picture. I would like to restore this clock and hook it up to one dial only. The dial will be located several feet above this movement. I would like to buy the following parts:
    a) The missing pieces for the U-Joint at the top, so I can continue going upward vertically for several feet (I will supply the tubing).
    b) A right angle gear set and mounting bracket that I can place several feet above the clock movement.
    c) The gears that makes the hour and minute hands turn.

    4) I would also be interested in buying any original E. Howard weights that are correct for this clock.

    Thanks for your time,
    Kevin Keinert
    keinert@sbceo.org
    www.GameRoomRepair.com
     
  2. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

    Aug 27, 2000
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    I suspect the lever you are asking about is involved in the night shut off. but the mechanism that controls the night shut off is not shown in your pictures. neither is the usual turret which contains the planetary mechanism, and the rest of the night shut off and timer for the lit dials. The lift lever and drop lever that control the strike are shown in the foreground of the one picture where you feature the lever you are asking about. I have looked after one of these for 25 years, and on this one, the lever you are asking about has been on a shelf in the clock room for those 25 years,
     
  3. keinert

    keinert Registered User

    Apr 30, 2012
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    Hi Doug, thanks for the reply. Does the clock you look after have the night shut off?
    Could you (or anyone) post a picture of a complete night shut off assembly so I can how it's supposed to work?

    Thanks,
    Kevin.
     
  4. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    Hi,

    The one I look after has never had the night shut off functioning, to the best of my knowledge. This clock is 110 years old, and I can only speak for the last 25 years. As I mentioned in my post, your clock is missing the components that activate the night shut off, as well as the control for switching the dial lights on and off.
     
  5. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    #5 doug sinclair, Nov 25, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2013
    I have just reviewed your pictures again, and I see the turret shows in two of the pictures, but has been partly obscured by a fan blade in one of the pictures. I will try to find a picture that shows the complete turret, including the planetary mechanism and the gearing for the light controls and the night shut off.t

    i have added a picture of our local Howard which shows the turret, including the planetary mechanism and the gearing that performs the light on/off function, and the night shut off. These components aren't shown in your pictures. The picture is not high resolution, but it should give you an idea.
     

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  6. gvasale

    gvasale Registered User
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    That lever is to prevent the "winding back" of the strike train as you wind it up. I'll check photos to see if it is oriented correctly.

    You are also looking for the cross piece & opposite part of the u-joint, right?

    I need a better description of the gear that makes the hour/minute hands turn. Are you saying you need the escape wheel? More photos of the time train between the side plates, please.

    I've never seen this clock in anything but one "size" configuration meaning they all appear to be about the same height. You do have the riser, which all of these clocks do not have.

    Did you get the pendulum? They came in two sizes. 1 second & 1 1/2 seconds, IRC.

    If you find weights, freight is going to be very expensive.
     
  7. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    Now I have a better idea of the purpose for that lever. Our clock has it, but it has never been put to use to the best of my knowledge. As to the pendulum. Ours has a nine foot pendulum shaft with a 25-pound bob. The beat is 40 times per minute.
     
  8. FDelGreco

    FDelGreco Registered User
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    Kevin:

    You actually need two unversal joints, one on each end of the shaft that connects the clock to the dial. One universal is the fixed length type, and has two identical end pieces -- like what you have -- with the cross piece in between. The universal at the other end should be the variable length type that allows the shaft's length to expand and contract as the seasons change without causing binding. Image below. If everything is in your house and the temperature is fairly constant, you might get away with two fixed length universals.

    You'll need a set of bevel gears if you want to change the direction 90 degrees. Image below (this bevel gear set happens to be from a Seth Thomas, but you get the idea).

    I think what you are looking for when you say the gears that make the hour and minute hands turn is the gearing that mounts right behind the dial. They're called motion works. I've seen some Howard sets in mart rooms going for around $350.

    I know a guy in Massachusetts that has a pile of original Howard weights. He will probably sell you some. Where are you located?

    Frank
     

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  9. gvasale

    gvasale Registered User
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    That lever must be repositioned so that the long end sits on the outside edge of the top plate which hangs the pendulum & other parts.
     
  10. keinert

    keinert Registered User

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    #10 keinert, Nov 26, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
    Hi gvasale and FDelGreco, thanks for your replies. Would you be willing to call me or let me call each of you? You both have info I'm looking for. It's quicker an easier to explain things on the phone and get answers that way.

    gvasale: I'm not sure how to reposition the lever from your description. Can we talk about it on the phone or can you post a picture? To answer your question, my pendulum is 8 feet long.

    FDelGreco It will be all indoors, so I will try it without the variable length U-Joint. I would like to buy a complete set of 90deg bevel gears & U-Joints as you show in your picture. I do need the motion works and I will pay to have Howard weights shipped to me in California. Can I call you to get contact info for anyone who might have these items for sale?

    One of my original questions is: What "Model Number" is this clock? Does is have a # or is it just called a "Round Top"?
    You can call or email me at: keinert@sbceo.org 805 937-8881
    Thanks, Kevin.
     
  11. gvasale

    gvasale Registered User
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    "Popular legend" has it that Howard did not assign model numbers to their clocks to prevent competition from understanding their product. Insead, they made different sizes of many of the same style clock. Your's is commonly referred to as the round top. I also call it the "economy"
    model because there are only two major castings...the side plates. As compared to a base, time uprights & legs. I'll scan a photo showing the lever in the proper position.
     
  12. keinert

    keinert Registered User

    Apr 30, 2012
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    Hi Doug, thanks for posting your picture. That light on/off planetary mech looks pretty cool! Is it currently being used to control some nite lights? If not, is there any change that this planetary mech might be for sale? I'd like to add one to my clock. Thanks, Kevin.
     
  13. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    The planetary mechanism consists of one horizontal beveled gear at the top of the turret which drives four vertical beveled gears beneath the horizontal one, the vertical beveled gears each driving the dial train of one of the four dials. This planetary mechanism is in use. The rest of the gearing that you see in that picture is what originally controlled the on/off of the dial lights, through the use of a rotary switch. That system is all there, but it is not in use. The lights are controlled by a modern TORK box with a 24-hour time clock. In addition, there is a casting which is bolted to the turret, and onto which the light control gearing is fitted. That casting appears to be missing from yours. I get the impression that whole system was an accessory, ordered when these clocks were ordered. And, no! These components are not for sale. This clock belongs to the City, and is Calgary's first tower clock.
     
  14. Donn Haven Lathrop

    Donn Haven Lathrop Registered User

    Jul 28, 2010
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    That's NOT a planetary system. It's a simple bevel gear transmission to drive up to four dials. Personally, I wouldn't bother with a round-top. They're the Hermle's of the tower clocks. I won't even work on them.
     
  15. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    Donn,

    I know it is not truly a planetary mechanism, but for the unedified, the description "planetary" suffices to describe the arrangement simply. As to the "round top" being the "Hermle" of tower clocks? I wonder if a lot of folks share your disdain for these clocks. I know from past communications from you, that you have very strongly held opinions. That is your privilege!
     
  16. bptanguay

    bptanguay Registered User

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    I have one I'm restoring for my local Museum, we might have extra weights so I'll keep you in mind. How lucky you were to have found one on ebay. I am currently repairing one just like yours for a local Church.
     
  17. keinert

    keinert Registered User

    Apr 30, 2012
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    Thanks for keeping me in mind. If you have any parts left over when done, email me at keinert@sbceo.org
    Thanks, Kevin
     
  18. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    This picture shows the weights which power the strike side of our Howard. Two of these weights total 125 pounds, and there are six of them.

    . image.jpg
     
  19. pmiddents

    pmiddents Registered User
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    #19 pmiddents, Aug 2, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2016
    Doug,
    I went back in the thread and found the historical details of your Calgary clock. It was sold Dec. 30, 1904. The record book calls it a No. 0 Striking Tower clock Four sectional dials 5' in diameter. The first appearance of these clocks are in 1890 and 1892 catalogs where they are called Howard Round Top Special Striking Clock.

    The record book entry shows a casual attitude toward some of the record keeping. The round top clocks first show up in the 1890 records. The catalog states that the clock can be configured for serving four dials in various sizes capable of serving dials from 4' to 8' in diameter. Striking clocks could be configured for hour and half hour striking on bells from 500 lb. to 2500 lbs.

    Preliminary total sales indicate the No. 0 Special was produced in greatest quantities. In the ten years from 1888 - 1898; No. 0 Spec. TP 29; No. 0 Special striker 55; No. 1 TP 7; No.1 Special striker 24; No. 2 TP 1; No. 2 Special Striker 10. In 1904 Seven No. 0 Special timepieces (TP) were sold and 14 No. 0 Special strikers were sold. No other round tops were liste for that year.

    The dimensions of your clock, gvasale's clock, bptanguay's clock and Kevin's clock would really help sort this out. I am working on an update to my paper on Howard Models that Donn Haven Lathrop was kind to enough to on his website: http://homepages.sover.net/~donnl/Middents/howard1.html
    Paul Middents
    Silverdale, WA
     
  20. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    #20 doug sinclair, Aug 3, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016
    Paul,This Howard strikes on the hour only, and originally had 5-foot dials. Owing to this smaller cupola it is now in, it now has four foot dials. The bell is a McShane, cast in Baltimore in 1903. We didn't weight it, but it is likely about 500 pounds.
     

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  21. pmiddents

    pmiddents Registered User
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    Doug,
    Thanks for the info. Do you have overall height and width of the frames?
     
  22. gvasale

    gvasale Registered User
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    My Howard time piece stands 57" tall measured to the bottom of the pendulum support. That is, the casting which holds the frame uprights together and the mount for the output shaft.
     
  23. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    #23 doug sinclair, Aug 6, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2016
    I was in the clock room today, with my tape measure. I am not sure these measurements will be any basis for comparison, since our Howard doesn't have the stand. Pictures for comparison.

    image.jpg image.jpeg

    Above right is is from a Howard catalog. The clock sits elevated on a removeable four footed base which ours didn't come with. Apparently lost over years in storage. Ours sits on four 1 1/4" plywood shims, directly on the floor, as may be seen in photo, left. Ours is 40 3/4" tall, not including these shims, but I measured to the TOP of the pendulum support bracket. Profile measurement, 15" edge to edge. Side to side, 47 1/4". Height to the top of the ascending shaft in the turret, 60 1/4", and that is excluding the 1 1/4" shims. Not a lot of basis for comparison, but there you have it. The images in the Howard catalog appear to be a 60 bpm pendulum. Ours is 40 bpm.
     
  24. pmiddents

    pmiddents Registered User
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    Doug,
    This is really valuable information. Thank you for taking the trouble.
    Paul
     
  25. bptanguay

    bptanguay Registered User

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    The E. Howard roundtop in Barton VT St. Paul's Church measures 45 1/2" tall X 47 1/2 " wide and 15" deep.
     
  26. pmiddents

    pmiddents Registered User
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    Those dimensions match Doug Sinclair's and are consistent with what I think is a Model No. 0 Round top special. Serial No. 2210 which you reported on another thread is listed in the Howard records for St. Paul's Church Barton, VT Dec. 5, 1902. The entry specifies 4 dials, 8' diameter. So far so good. Now the Howard erratic record keeping strikes again. The entry says the clock was a No. 1 striker. This was the closest thing to the Model 0 Round top so perhaps the order changed at the last minute or the record keeper was just confused or sloppy.
    Paul
     
  27. pmiddents

    pmiddents Registered User
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    Is this a Round Top Special? If so, what is the width of the frame and the depth of the clock (total depth across the frames)?
     
  28. gvasale

    gvasale Registered User
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    This is not a round top, but a late model timepiece.
     
  29. pmiddents

    pmiddents Registered User
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    You sent a picture of a Round Top serial no. 2876. What are the dimensions of this clock?
     
  30. gvasale

    gvasale Registered User
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    It will have to wait until I service a round top clock again in September.

    But...that particular clock is now in private hands, so I'll measure the one I service.
     
  31. pmiddents

    pmiddents Registered User
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    Thank you. Any and all data helps build the picture. That goes for anyone else following this thread that has access to a Round Top clock.
     

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