Progressive Era 9-tube - Bawo and Dotter?

Ramsey Badawi

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Oct 4, 2021
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This 8 ft 2 in Gothic behemoth is my latest acquisition. It's my first tube-chimer and I am very excited!

This 9-tube sounds Westminster on 4 tubes or Whittington on 8 tubes, selected by a lever on the front. There are two additional levers on the front for "chime/silent" and "strike/silent". It has an anchor escapement and no maintaining power; it also has fly adjusters to allow for changing the speed of the strike and chime. The clock face is silver with black detailing of floral motifs, and the moon dial shows a sailing ship on fire on one side and a rural cottage on the other. The solid oak case measures 98"x21"x15".

There's no information I can see on the maker of the case or movement. The tubes are stamped Elite 205 pat.Dec.4,1900. The tube support manifold shows pat. May 17,1904 and the Hammers show a pat.Oct.22 1901 issue to Charles A Jacques. The lead weight inserts are stamped Tatham & Bros. and paper tag on one of the inserts shows lot 76 11/10/05. The back plate has a serial number of 33 stamped on it.

Any thoughts as to the maker of this clock and the movement? I'm guessing Bawo & Dotter given the Jacques patent and the date of the lead weights … what would be the likely origin of the movement? Also, I have never seen a burning ship on a moon wheel before - any significance to that? All insights/educated guesses welcome!

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J. A. Olson

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Dec 21, 2006
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11/10/05 most likely refers to when your clock was built.

Movement AA with 9 tubes and two chimes, introduced in 1904 and made by Mathias Bäuerle of St. Georgen, Germany specially for Bawo & Dotter in New York. They are frequently mistaken for Winterhalder movements which are more recognized by brand name. Early B&D hall clocks from 1899 to 1903 did use Winterhalder movements and can be easily told apart from their Bäuerle counterparts by the winding arbor spacing + hammer framing arrangement.

Patents:



Chimes played are Westminster and Elite Whittington (Eight Bells). The Eight Bells chime is often mistaken for the similar St. Michael chime.

EliteWhittington.jpg

I did not find a match for your case in my reference pool. B&D specialized in customary clocks to order which included some real oddballs never catalogued. The joys of an industry which balanced profits, quality and creativity all together.

Charles Adolphe Jacques was the head of B&D's clock department. He arranged several customary chime melodies, outlined case patterns and movements alike and was a real expert in the field of chiming clocks. A true albeit unsung genius of the American clock industry.

In 1997 a compilation of Bawo & Dotter catalogue material was published under the auspices of the Greater St. Louis Regional, and St. Louis NAWCC Chapters #14 and #168. Although entitled Elite Hall Clocks, the volume contains a range of catalogue material from over several years, as well as movements available at various times. They even imported cuckoo and small carriage clocks, sold alongside those big, epic Elite hall clocks with tubular bell chimes.
 
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Ramsey Badawi

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Oct 4, 2021
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Thank-you - that also explains the subtle differences I am hearing in the chime melodies for this clock compared to other clocks I have heard that play Westminster and Whittington melodies!

I was a bit surprised that this movement does not have a deadbeat mechanism and maintaining power - is that typical of this era of hall clock?
 

J. A. Olson

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Dec 21, 2006
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Many of the large hall clock movements from 1890-1930 had maintaining power however it isn't impossible to rule out that it was modified at some point, or a short-lived production offshoot. Many of those older Elite movements were a bit more experimental in nature, incorporating several changes to the overall design in the span of just a few years. Jacques was a real innovator and his clock outlines evolved over the years, keeping up with changing markets and resource availability.

The Elite Whittington was a popular alternative chime and has also been found on standardized German hall clocks from Mathias Bäuerle and VFU/Gustav Becker.
 

Ramsey Badawi

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Oct 4, 2021
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Well, I thought there was something funny going on with the chime, and examining the score you posted I can see that it is running 4 bars behind. Do you know if there is a way to safely advance it without separating the plates?
 

J. A. Olson

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Dec 21, 2006
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Jacques' advised method to synchronize the chimes was to wait until the top of hour. Let the clock play the chime and strike the hour, then advance the minute hand towards the quarter-after hour (15 minutes mark). The chime train should go into warning a minute or two before the quarter-after - after it goes into warning, turn the hand back to the top of hour (60 minutes mark) and it should play one section of the chime melody. Do this until it is playing in proper synchronization.

Older clocks would have a pullcord which manually activates the chimes instead.

The chimes as properly played from a VFU/Gustav Becker hall clock with rod gongs:

 

Ramsey Badawi

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Oct 4, 2021
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That worked a treat - thank you SO MUCH! And, much easier set to 4 bells than set to 8 bells!
 
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