Odd ship's bells Seth Thomas

Cathy in Hawaii

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Feb 25, 2005
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Aloha Clock Folks,

Today's inquiry is about a Seth Thomas ships bell clock and I haven't been able to make sense out of it's ring pattern.

It never rings with a single bell and it never rings with eight bells. The pattern is (in half hour increments):
A. two bells
B. two bells
C. two bells (pause) two bells
D. two bells (pause) <span class="ev_code_RED">ONE</span> bell
E. two bells (pause) two bells (pause) two bells
F. two bells (pause) <span class="ev_code_RED">ONE</span> bell (pause) two bells
G. two bells (pause) <span class="ev_code_RED">ONE</span> bell, two bells (pause) two bells
H. two bells (pause) two bells (pause) <span class="ev_code_RED">ONE</span> bell (pause) two bells.

This isn't a proper ring pattern is it? It rings at the proper times, I just can't figure out it's rings.

Just wondering,
Cathy
fixme7111936
 

Cathy in Hawaii

Registered User
Feb 25, 2005
362
2
0
Moku Nui, Hawaii
Aloha Clock Folks,

Today's inquiry is about a Seth Thomas ships bell clock and I haven't been able to make sense out of it's ring pattern.

It never rings with a single bell and it never rings with eight bells. The pattern is (in half hour increments):
A. two bells
B. two bells
C. two bells (pause) two bells
D. two bells (pause) <span class="ev_code_RED">ONE</span> bell
E. two bells (pause) two bells (pause) two bells
F. two bells (pause) <span class="ev_code_RED">ONE</span> bell (pause) two bells
G. two bells (pause) <span class="ev_code_RED">ONE</span> bell, two bells (pause) two bells
H. two bells (pause) two bells (pause) <span class="ev_code_RED">ONE</span> bell (pause) two bells.

This isn't a proper ring pattern is it? It rings at the proper times, I just can't figure out it's rings.

Just wondering,
Cathy
fixme7111936
 

Cathy in Hawaii

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Feb 25, 2005
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Moku Nui, Hawaii
Aloha Phil,

Your version of ship's bells makes much more sense. Now the fun part is to get the clock to go along with the idea.

There is a "strike" switch on the side of the clock, but all that does is make it strike in the same odd sequence. I'm not sure why they have the extra switch, maybe if they wanted to call quitting time earlier, they could just hit the switch and chime the quitting bells. Anyway, that doesn't change the sequence of the bells, just makes the next set of bells strike immediately.

A bit of dissection may cure this problem, I guess. Making it into tiny parts should be enough to get it to change it's mind on the proper sequence of bells.

Anyone know an easy way to adjust the bell sequence?

Ticking along, just chiming wierd,
Cathy
 

David B Pendley

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Lots of different versions of Seth Thomas Ships bells...does yours have a countwheel or rack and snail? Photos might help us help you sequence it.
 

jacks61fd

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If your clock looks like the one displayed by your name then the wheel with all the pins for lifting the hammers is out of sequence.This wheel contains pins of two different lengths, some lift both hammers and some lift only one hammer. The early version of this movement requires disassembly to re-sequence this wheel, newer versions have a removable bridge on the front plate which allows this wheel to be re-sequenced without taking apart. This is a JOB for someone with clock repair EXPERIENCE.
 

Cathy in Hawaii

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Feb 25, 2005
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Here's some pictures of the inside. I'm not sure how to post more than one picture, though.

It has the two hammers and the countwheel. Anyone have some good suggestions on how to get it back in sequence? I stopped the clock at 4:30 and hope to be able to figure out how to set the countwheel so the first "one-bell" shorter pin is set to operate the hammer actuating mechanism. Is there an easier way?

At some time, someone put some nice red marks on two of the wheels, but I don't know what they mean. If the red marks line up when I get the short pin where it looks like it should go, then that would be nice.
 

LaBounty

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Aloha Cathy-

It looks like Jack and Phil have you looking in the right direction. The only thing I can add is that the hammer detents may be out of adjustment allowing the hammers to dwell on the pins a little too long (or not long enough).

I couldn't see the detents in your picture, but they are usually "L" shaped rods on the hammer arbors which contact the plate and keep the hammer levers properly positioned so they can be picked up by the hammer pins. With years of use, these detents will be "hammered" out of adjustment causing the hammer lever to dwell longer on the hammer pins during strike and the hammer to have excessive travel. (One hammer-head width of travel is plenty.) Too much hammer travel is a significant problem when there are two hammers which have a relatively short window in which to function.

Also, the last hammer lever in the sequence should drop off the hammer pin as close to stop as possible and still be reliable. If there is too much extra run, a hammer pin may start to pick up a hammer before the strike train stops. This is called "hammers on the rise" and could cause problems in the strike sequence if excessive. I'd avoid this condition if possible, either by rotating gears as Phil and Jack suggest, or with lever/detent adjustments.

Adjusting the detents can be a little tricky with a ship's bell since there is enough range in adjustment that it is possible to have both hammers drop at the same time. And adjusting the detents is usually done in conjunction with adjusting the hammer levers' relationship to the hammer pins, which means you really have four inter-related adjustments.

Good luck with it and I hope I haven't confused you too much!
 

jacks61fd

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Cathy

In your picture it appears the count hook wire is in the deep notch just after what would be the 4:30 single bell strike. The two red marks are alignment marks, they are usually gone after repeated cleaning of these movements.
Yes if the are aligned the movement should strike properly.The count wheel just floats on the pin wheel arbor so it is free to adjust when the movement is apart.
 

Cathy in Hawaii

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Feb 25, 2005
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Aloha David & Jack,

I'll check the hammer detents after reindexing the countwheel since it sounds like they can be adjusted while the movement is back together. The bell hammers move about twice their width right now, so they probably will need a bit of adjusting. They do strike in a double sequence and not at the same time, but their travel distance is a bit long according to your description.

The red marks are still there even after cleaning although the pictures were taken before any cleaning had been done to it. I didn't try to remove the marks while cleaning, I figured someone put them there for some reason and until I know why they can stay. I'll line them up and see if the sequence is correct.

You have a nice website, Jack! It is always nice to see a good collection of clocks. One of my next projects will be building a case for the movement now running on my test stand and looking at other folk's clocks is great for getting case detail ideas. But that's a project for another day, today's project is to get the ship's bells properly arranged.

Ticking along,
Cathy
 

Cathy in Hawaii

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Feb 25, 2005
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Whew! We,(me AND the clock) have survived the repair experience!

It has been extremely educational to take this clock apart and put it back together three different times. Parts shifted during reassembly, so I finally resorted to brute force and tied the lever in place with sewing thread. That worked and kept it in place but had to take it apart again to reattach the mainspring to it's arbor since it had become loose. Argh! (Late night clock repair techniques at work again.)

Now, if anyone else wants to reindex the countwheel on one of these clocks, there is a MUCH easier method. Here's a picture of the hard way to do it (just so hopefully someone else will also get enjoyment and knowledge from this educational experience) and I'll post another message with another picture of the easy way.
 

Cathy in Hawaii

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Feb 25, 2005
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Moku Nui, Hawaii
Aloha!

Why is it that the easy way isn't discovered first?

Should anyone else want to reindex a Seth Thomas ship's bell countwheel, here's a much easier way to do it other than taking the whole thing apart.

Under the clock dial is a plate held on with two tiny screws. Remove that plate and the gear holding the countwheels in alignment with each other can be moved away from the count wheels and the wheels moved into alignment. Note: Let down the alarm spring before moving the gear!

The clock is running well and chiming properly. Yay! Now we just need to get used to "ships bells" so we will actually know what time it is when we hear the bells.

Thanks guys! It was a success!

A hui hou,
Cathy
 

David B Pendley

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Cathy glad to hear you succeeded but the easy method you describe isn't on all the Seth Thomas Ships Bell clocks. The earlier ones all have to be separated to be re indexed. Steven Conover has a article on the S.T. S bell and has a name for the plate addition. He thinks it was added to speed up the assembly at factory.
 

jacks61fd

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Cathy-those red marks were done at the factory. I mentioned that removable bridge in my first post and like David said it is only on the later versions of this movement.Great work on what can be a difficult movement, enjoy.
 

Cathy in Hawaii

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Feb 25, 2005
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Doh! You are entirely correct Jack! You mentioned it in your post! Argh! (You can lead a horse to water but getting her to actually notice it can be a difficult thing! Good thing I didn't drown!) I will pay much more careful attention to advice and wisdom in the future.

I think printing out the advice, taking notes or putting my computer in the hobby shop would help me remember all the good advice when I have the clock apart, too.

This started out as a broken, tarnished clock picked up at a tag sale for a couple bucks. Had it been an expensive clock, I don't know if I would have attempted the repair since it gets quite intricate when taken apart. Now I am glad I did (although it should be "we" did, since you guys helped a lot!).

Thanks again!
Ticking along,
Cathy
 

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