Seth Thomas Ships Bell

Vernon

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This clock came in non-running. It looks like this clock was dropped as there is a dent on the rear bezel and two of the movement mounts are broken. I also believe that the balance staff is broken as the balance wheel wobbles and tilts. The clock is dirty and will likely need bushings for the barrels which I can do. I don't have any experience with hairsprings nor platform escapements so before I go any further, I'm looking for advice on how to proceed:

* I think that a new platform escapement is available which I'm leaning towards. Are these pretty straight forward to install?
* I could send the platform out for cleaning and repair.
* I believe that a new movement complete is available.

Thanks.

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Uhralt

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Sep 4, 2008
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The movement looks very much like the Hermle "Royal Mariner" movement. If that is true, a complete replacement is available at Mark Butterworth. The platform can also be bought new at Timesavers. The replacement platform is the better 11 Jewels Swiss made platform. The mainspring barrels can be bought complete with spring at Timesavers. The barrel without spring is also available as are the barrel caps.

Maybe somebody can confirm my impression that this is the Hermle made movement. I think the movement number is 322-071.

Replacing the platform should be easy. It is held by two screws. Just make sure to let down the mainsprings before you undo the platform.

Uhralt
 

Vernon

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Uhralt,

Butterworth shows the Hermle movement, it is 132-071SG. It is good to know that the barrels are available. At this point, It is looking like a new movement after viewing the platform pricing (Yikes).

Thanks for your help, Vernon
 

Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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Movement price will be a "yikes" too. More than 3 Benjamin's, if available.

Willie X
 

S_Owsley

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I just took one of these apart (several times - a learning experience!) and have some insight. The 11 jewel movement can be bought cheaper, and with warranty on eBay. It will likely need to be shimmed out from the plate slightly to run properly - at least mine did. These can be a bear to work on, but you will certainly learn something. Coleman's book "The Best of J.E. Coleman, Clockmaker" has a whole chapter of articles on servicing these and how to get the ship's bell to strike properly, and it won't be the first article in the chapter that gives up that information. If you do decide to replace the movement with a new one and will sell the used one cheap - let me know. The clock will probably need bushings on the second wheel of both the going and strike train to run properly, and don't forget to service and lubricate the springs.
 

Vernon

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S_Owsley
I had not considered sources outside of major trade suppliers, could be some value there! I'll pm. about the old movement if it goes that way. Thanks for the information!

Willie
Timesavers current hard copy catalogue price verses their website on the platform jumped over 50 percent!
 

Uhralt

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Uhralt,

Butterworth shows the Hermle movement, it is 132-071SG. It is good to know that the barrels are available. At this point, It is looking like a new movement after viewing the platform pricing (Yikes).

Thanks for your help, Vernon
Yes, that's the movement. Actually, Mark lists it as 132-071SE (Swiss Escapement).

Uhralt
 
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Willie X

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You can buy a nice modern chiming GF clock and a brand new movement for it, or a very nice antique mantle or wall clock, for around the price of this little (not so good) ships bell movement!
Ha, Willie X
 
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Vernon

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Well, I've got it apart and cleaned, pivots polished. The center shaft had a bend right at the pinion which required removing the wheel. I believe this was caused by the fall. I didn't notice any other issues beyond bushing work.
I'm putting my order together for a few things. I was thinking of getting One Dip to clean the new platform balance, does this sound advisable? Also, I have some 10 year old Nye watch oil to oil the platform balance. Should I use this or something different?

This clock has sentimental value. My labor and parts won't cost the owner anything.

Thanks!
 

Simon Holt

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Note sure about One Dip, but lighter fluid (or lantern fluid, aka naphthalene) is preferable I believe. It's to do with not dissolving the shellac that is sometimes used to hold the jewels in place.

Simon
 

S_Owsley

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I'm not an expert on platform balances, but why would you need to lubricate a new one? Wouldn't it come lubricated from the factory?
 

Vernon

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Simon, I may have one of these alternative cleaners on hand. Thanks.

S_Owsley, You could be right, I may be making work for myself but if it wasn't oiled that would be a problem too. Maybe I'll ask the seller. Thanks
 

shutterbug

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One Dip is expensive, but does a great job. It also evaporates quickly, so don't leave it out long term.
 

S_Owsley

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I thought I would follow up on this and how it turned out. I just took mine apart for the fifth time and tracked down where a power loss issue was occuring, and now I feel like I'm a semi-expert on these. Just not the platforms! Finally figured out the easy way to get the strike arrest cam set properly. Too bad everyone seems to want $100 for their "overwound" non running ones.
 

ChimeTime

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My experience is that with these escapements is that you mentally need to transition from clock to watch when working on the escapement.

One area that shows up is lubrication. Thinner watch oils within the escapement, applied with a tiny red dip oiler. Non-magnetic tweezers, etc.
 

Vernon

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S_Owsley,

So I've straightened the bent center shaft, made and threaded 2 mounting posts to replace the damaged ones, installed 11 bushings, replaced a barrel cap and put on a new platform escapement! I gave it about two full turns and let it run overnight not knowing if the striking was correct which it wasn't.

I took the platform off the next morning so that I didn't damage it while figuring out how the strike timing works. Until I started typing this reply, couldn't wrap my mind around how the strange pin wheel between the plates and the snail up front, along with the lever on the back all work together. However, I may have it after thinking it through a little more...

*The snail is in 3 sections with 8 steps in each.
*The pin wheel with points grouped in 2's
*A lever on the rear of the center arbor appears to give a passive strike but why?

It appears that rack tail should drop onto each step of the snail twice except step 8. On the half hours, the passing bell strike will accompany the repeated hour so: 2 o'clock has 4 bells, 2:30 5 bells, 3 o'clock 6 bells and so on. Am I on the right track?

Vernon
 

Vernon

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Chime Time,
I did not oil the platform based on Owsley's reply. Also, the seller did not reply as to weather to oil or not. It is brand new and there are a lot more jewels which some don't oil anyway based on what I've read. Opinions?
 

Vernon

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That's not right. It's got to be that every other step on the snail represents the half hour where the previous strike repeats and the passing strike added in. I hope that's right
I can't test my theory until I bush the gp that was missed.
 

ChimeTime

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Vernon -
No thanks to you.... :emoji_yum: I remembered a personal 132, purchased new in 1977, that was due for service. I removed the barrels to facilitate cleaning, but the time and strike trains are virgin territory. If I can take any detailed photos to help you, please let me know.

132-071.jpg
 
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Vernon

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Thanks ChimeTime, Starting to reassemble now.
The only thing that comes to mind is the warning pin position before warning.
 

S_Owsley

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I'm going to post up the relevant pages from The Best of J.E. Coleman: Clockmaker where he describes the striking of the Seth Thomas A207 movement. One more point I would like to make is that when servicing, do not neglect to bush the rear plate where the canon pinion exits and extends past the plates to hold the cam. That place was worn on my A207 and was causing my power loss issue. I was expecting wear on the other pivots, not suspecting that the canon pinion exerts a lot of force on the rear plate. A careful reading of the relevant sections should help you solve any striking problems you come across. Hopefully it won't take you as many times as it did me to finally understand it.

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Vernon

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Gee, thanks a lot! I was hoping to have it back together by lunch but that didn't work out.

The center star cam was a little loose when I put it back on so I applied a little adhesive and shoved it on the last 1/8". As careful as I was, it ended up down in the plate so out came the torch and the disassemble/cleanup. I staked the cam for a good tight fit. Every time that I use adhesive it turns out bad.

I did bush the rear center arbor and allowed it to extend. I debated about doing the front but I would have to turn up a bush for that and overall it's pretty good with just minimal play.

I may take a day off but I'll let you know my progress.
 

S_Owsley

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There was no way I was going to be able to take the center shaft apart to bush the front side, but mine has been running strong since Saturday when I finally got it done. Seth Thomas sold these ships clocks for about $730 adjusted for inflation from the time they introduced them all the way until they stopped making them around 1975. So, they aren't Chelseas, but they were definitely not cheap clocks when they were new.
 
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Vernon

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Welp, I think that I have this under control for the most part. I've had the gathering pallet off and back on several times trying to get this set up. Part of the problem was the pallet pins weren't gathering the rack reliably.

* The clock has been running and striking properly now for 24 hours with one exception. I'm getting a single strike at the quarter past the hour. The cam on the rear was set to arrest an unneeded strike leading up to the hour. What might be happening at a quarter past?

Thanks, Vernon

By the way, I love hearing these ships bells! I may need one.
 

S_Owsley

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Re-read the pages from Coleman I posted. The pages may be out of order so just print them out and read carefully because he describes how to set the cam exactly. You want it to lift the cam at about the :45 minute mark. You also have to set the star wheel properly. It's hard for me to describe, but essentially you can get it set properly by a combination of lifting the strike hammer, letting the strike train run till the star wheel is in correct position, stopping the train by touching the flywheel, then lowering the strike hammer down so the lifting pins will lift the strike hammer at the correct time.
 

Vernon

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I'll pull it back out tomorrow and go through the process again. My hammer lift (finger) that interacts with the pinwheel seems a little short meaning that it doesn't touch the profile of the pinwheel in the low areas. Maybe that is no issue but now wonder if this is causing a positioning issue?
 

S_Owsley

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At the start of the strike, there should be room for the train to get up to speed and then hit the sequence of two bells each, on the half hour, if the cam is set correctly, it will arrest the odd strike. If you are getting an odd strike at say 20 past the hour, your cam is probably off 180 degrees.
 

Vernon

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That got it S_Owsley, the silencing cam in relation to the star cam were 180 from each other. I ran the hands around for a 4 hour cycle and it is working perfect. I believe that the silencing cam was not tight enough and had slipped. I'll let it run to make sure that I get at least 8 days out of it.

Now I can check this off the list as being my first ships bell and a clock with a platform escapement, I appreciate all of the help from all who replied.
 
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