Seth Thomas ships bell how long do they run ?

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by klokwiz, Feb 12, 2020.

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  1. klokwiz

    klokwiz Registered User
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    Hi, I have had several opportunities to work on these type clocks and for some reason it appears to me that the movement will not run a full 8 days between windings. I have not conducted a properly verified test, but it just seems they run down before a weekly winding routine. Is it possible they were designed to be wound more often than weekly? It seems that maybe the mainspring being in a cage on the great wheel does not allow for 8 days run, or does it?

    Please note I do not know the proper name to this type movement and the movement pictured goes in internal and external bell clocks.. I know the movement pictured is missing the strike spring.

    thanks for any help restoring my sanity on this one. I am wondering if there is some thing wrong with the servicing work or if it was a design issue. Joe.

    movmt back view.jpg movmt 3.jpg movmt 2.jpg movmt 1.jpg clock front view.jpg case sound grill side.jpg
     
  2. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    I believe that model is considered to be a two-day running clock.

    RC
     
  3. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    That spring barrel arrangement was a terrible design. I had to replace one that broke off.
     
  4. klokwiz

    klokwiz Registered User
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    RC, that would certainly explain a lot as it seems to fall off on accuracy after a couple of days. I am thinking of running some sort of testing and would post results. Strange that they would make a 2 day clock. Do you have any references on this I could research?

    Shutterbug, I agree it is not the best and difficult to handle for servicing. Not to mention the difficulty of getting the strike side correctly aligned and set up.

    Joe
     
  5. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Many 1-day clocks run two days or even three on a winding.

    Uhralt
     
  6. klokwiz

    klokwiz Registered User
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    Uhralt, Understood, but these seem to run almost 5 days before they stop. so I am trying to get a definitive answer on the design specifications. thanks, Joe
     
  7. senhalls

    senhalls Registered User

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    As if that isn't enough. On each pair of bells struck, the interval between strikes is one half the interval between pairs of bells struck. Get that wrong and the Chief bosuns mate will wear your guts for garters ! Just saying, from an old salt .
     
  8. Karl Thies

    Karl Thies Registered User
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    100_1165.JPG

    I have one just like yours and I consider it a 30 hour clock.. It can run much longer than the 30 hours, but the accuracy begins to fall off after that time. It seems the clock will run much longer than the strike side will keep striking.
     
  9. klokwiz

    klokwiz Registered User
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    Senhalls, yes don't mess with the bell. my dad was navy and he just loves these clocks. everytime I get a new one he ogles over it..

    Karl, Not sure I would say 30 hours but you are right the accuracy falls off quite a bit after two days. But I have another that seems to run strike and time well for 5 days. Its a strange bird. I hope to maybe do some testing to resolve this. Or we get more weighing in on their experience.

    Karl, interesting clock stand and retaining wires

    thanks, Joe
     
  10. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Striking Clock Repair Guide, by Steven G. Conover, page 69; "These are one day clocks that can run two or more days, although they are sometimes mistaken for eight day mechanisms".

    RC
     
    Karl Thies likes this.
  11. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    The springs look like 8 day springs, so they are often confused.
     
  12. klokwiz

    klokwiz Registered User
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    RC, thank you for providing that reference. Strange movement. Clock when running has nice sound and looks good. thanks for your help solving this (my) dilemma. Joe
     
  13. klokwiz

    klokwiz Registered User
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    The clock has been running now for approx. 60 hours on full wind. I have noticed that it is now beginning to loose time and the strike is a bit slow. It has lost about 4 minutes in the last 12 hours. Tempted to wind it now but going to see when it stops on it's own. Joe
     
  14. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Warships historically carried many more men than were required to operate the ship when wasn't in a battle, so there was plenty of extra labor available to do chores like daily clock-winding.
     
  15. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    I doubt that many, or any, of these actually saw service aboard war ships. Ships on the high seas carried a precision chronometer that was much more precise than this the winding of which would not have been delegated to a deck hand. Aboard ship there would have also been the shorter "dog watches" to accommodate meal time which the typical ships bells clocks we see do not include.

    RC
     
  16. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    But were are lots of clocks: wardroom, engine room, bridge, mess, radio room, fire control, and everywhere else where it would be handy to know what time it was. The chronometer sat by itself for the benefit of the navigator and nobody else much was permitted to be near it.
     
  17. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Have you ever seen one of these ST ships bells clocks on a war ship, or a picture of them in use on a war ship? I'm sure a large ship would have more than one clock but I see no reason why one select a clock like this that does not strike the dog watches. I think these would have been, and probably still are popular on private yachts and in the homes and offices nautical minded individuals. I have a similar one in my office which I need to wind today!

    RC
     
  18. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Dunno. On the Great Lakes ships I worked on they had Chelsea clocks in the engine room and on the bridge, but they weren't the striking variety. They're somewhat less nautical on the Lakes: left is left and right is right and the watches are four hours long. At least mine were. I don't know who wound the clocks, but it wasn't me.
     
  19. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Yes, I believe Chelsea clocks were quite common on ships but that's an entirely different animal that is an excellent time keeper and doesn't need to be wound every day or two.

    RC
     
  20. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Before GPS it was critical to have an accurate clock in order to navigate. Not so important for shift changes. On big ships, I assume they had a large bell that was manually used to signal shift changes. The mechanical ships bells were likely more of a novelty for ex-ships hands to enjoy and remember.
     
  21. Patrick J. Enright

    Patrick J. Enright Registered User

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  22. Patrick J. Enright

    Patrick J. Enright Registered User

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    Pat Enright here, I have the same Seth Thomas ships bell clock. I'm very very new to clock repair. I was given this clock some 40 years by my brother-in-law
    who got it from a ship's captain who also was studying for the priesthood with my brother-in-law. I had it repaired professionally and it ran for a few years.
    I'm now in my 90's and It seemed like a good hobby. The main problem seems to be the main spring. The arbor has a lot of sway to it. How can I remove the spring from the arbor to inspect it without getting hurt or worse? I replaced a few teeth that were broken and it ran a few hours when another tooth snapped off. Any suggestions? Other than finding a different hobby.
     
  23. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    These movements are a bear to work on. The mainwheel hole for the arbor is often severely worn due to strain from the spring and needs to be bushed. The mainwheel tilts and causes meshing problems with the second wheel, as well as worn or snapped off mainwheel teeth. In order to remove the spring you need to restrain it with a proper fitting C clamp. The clamp needs to be positioned in a way that the end of the spring is still free when the spring was let down and there is some room to push the spring hole out of the retainer.

    Good luck with that project!

    Uhralt
     
  24. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    That barrel-like thing the spring is attached to and captured by is usually in the way for most C clamps. You can use some steel wire, 14 gauge or so, to capture the spring after it is wound up. Let the spring down into the wire loop you form around the spring and twist tight. If you can get the clamp to fit, that's the safest way. Some here also use industrial strength zip ties. I haven't tried that yet.
    Treat that spring with the same respect you would for an 8 day spring. They are about the same.
     
  25. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    The problem with the wire restrain is that the wire will put pressure on the spring and the "barrel-like thing", making it difficult to get the spring off the hook.

    Uhralt
     
  26. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Yeah. Not one of their greatest designs.
     
  27. klokwiz

    klokwiz Registered User
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    I have found that a good spring winder and proper size "C" clamp works well and was able to remove and replace spring well for cleaning. Due to the "open cage" configuration it just looks and feels quite different but was not too difficult to work with. The ones I have had apart so far have not had great wheel hole wear of any significance.

    the clock in this post finally stopped at approximately 72 hours. Joe.
     
  28. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    The examples I worked on all had significant wear. Maybe you got lucky and the clocks hadn't been used much in the past? Or maybe I was the unlucky one...

    Uhralt
     
  29. Patrick J. Enright

    Patrick J. Enright Registered User

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    Pat the tinker here, Could it be possible to change the spring and wheel and arbor to a barrel spring and arbor that would fit? The dia. of the wheel is 2 3/8 inches, has 78 teeth and arbor measures 2 15/16 inches long.
     
  30. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    It would be pretty iffy. Best to go with the original design.
     
  31. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    It is conceivable that a spring barrel might be able to be constructed to replace the time side main spring. The original design is essentially a "spring barrel" with most of the barrel cut away and with no cover. The strike side would be a different matter. Here the outer end of the spring is anchored to the frame and the winding arbor. The winding arbor rotates and the ratchet wheel and click - really the whole drive line is different. It would not be a simple drop-in change, you would have to completely redesign the movement, at least on the strike side. The original ST design works fine......mostly, so why change it?

    RC
     
  32. Patrick J. Enright

    Patrick J. Enright Registered User

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    It's only the time side now that I'm trying to correct. Once I get it running I'll work on the strick side. Some of the teeth are slightly bent and I suspect they will snap off so I feel I need a new wheel. Which
    getting one might be slim and none.
     
  33. Patrick J. Enright

    Patrick J. Enright Registered User

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  34. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    It seems like somebody added another spring guard I guess as an improvement. The time wheel probably needs to be bushed if it can wobble on the arbor. Even though the springs look "tired" they will have plenty enough power to run the clock for 30+ hours. I would not recommend to change the springs. I've tried it once and the clock ran worse with the new ones than the old ones. The rubbing of the spring on the plate is "normal".

    Uhralt
     
  35. Patrick J. Enright

    Patrick J. Enright Registered User

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    Pat here, Thanks to Joe Collins spring winder that I finished I got the spring out of the holder {thing} The arbor hole is oval, { this was the arbor sway that I mentioned before}, both springs seem to be set, all four arbor plate holes need bushings, }It seems that they never were bushed from the start}, and a few plate holes need to be bushed. Other than that all's well with my ship's clock. I think I'm slowly sinking in the sea.
    Any suggestings are welcome, other than scuttle the clock.
    Many thanks to all of you clock masters. Between you guys and Youtube maybe I'll get it going.
     
  36. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    That arbor hole of the main wheel needs to be bushed. And believe me, even though the springs may look set, they will work just fine. The problem with a new spring, at least on the time side, is, that it puts too much inward pull on the wheel while the old one, due to its thickness and relative weakness provides more of an forward pull. I have experimented with multiple different modern springs of different thicknesses and the old spring worked definitely best.

    Uhralt
     
  37. Patrick J. Enright

    Patrick J. Enright Registered User

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    Thankyou Uhralt. I replaced the missing tooth on the main time wheel and I'm ready to repair the bushes. I'm not sure if I'm breaking any rules but where can I buy bushes and parts? I understand if you are unable to answer that question. The time side great wheel hole is 9/16 long. It's oval on both ends. I can see bushing on the spring side of the wheel but the other side is like a tube. Forgive me if I'm not explaining myself
    to clearly as this art is all new to me.
     
  38. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Bushes and other parts can be bought at supply houses like Timesavers (timesavers.com) or Merritts (merritts.com). However, I think for repair of the great wheel bushing you will need a lathe and will have to make the bushing yourself. There is nothing commercially available that would fit, I think. Holding the outer diameter of the wheel in a lathe and using a boring tool you would bore the oval hole to a centered hole. Then make a brass rod that is a friction fit for this hole. Then, again using the lathe, center-drill that rod after it has been inserted in the wheel, with a drill a bit smaller than the diameter of the arbor. Finally, with the boring tool bring the diameter to a snug fit for the arbor.

    Uhralt
     
  39. Patrick J. Enright

    Patrick J. Enright Registered User

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    Thanks for all your help. That should keep me busy for some time.
    Take care...Pat
     
  40. Patrick J. Enright

    Patrick J. Enright Registered User

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    Pat here, I made a very tight brass screw fit into the train arbor hole and am waiting for my order of mm drills. I have no bushes so I'm using brass wood screws. Is it ok to plug the bush holes with brass plugs and drill the pivot holes to accept the pivots? Right now I only have this one clock to repair and it doesn't make any sense to invest in a lot of tools and parts if I can use substitutes.
     
  41. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    The short answer is yes, but in the real world it isn't going to work because the new hole must be precisely centered on where the old hole was. Without some fairly precise tools it is unlikely that putting a screw in the bush hole and drilling a pivot hole in the screw will work unless you are extremely lucky.

    RC
     
  42. Patrick J. Enright

    Patrick J. Enright Registered User

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    Thank you RC. It was just a thought by a rookie. I'll do it the right way. There are no short cuts in clock repairs. It's a learning process and I hope to improve.
     
  43. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    You are correct, Pat. Shortcuts tend to take longer and cost more than doing it right. ;)
     

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