Seth Thomas Tower clock clean/repair

Discussion in 'Tower, Monumental & Street Clocks' started by John Echternach, Aug 15, 2019 at 5:30 PM.

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  1. John Echternach

    John Echternach Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jul 27, 2003
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    I have the dubious distinction of disassembling and cleaning a Seth Thomas 1935 Tower clock for my Town.. The T&S are all on one frame and the weights are wound automatically by electric motors.
    Can anyone tell me where I might find a book or guide/schematic to these clocks and some practical help in this effort?
    My problem is the clock will not stay running. It runs 20 minutes or a couple of days and stops. I have played with the adjustment screws to regulate the beat but no good. I tried hooking up my microset but that didn't work (anybody have hints on that?)
    Any feedback would be most appreciated. I am desperate for any help.
    John
    Vermont
     
  2. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
    NAWCC Fellow NAWCC Member Sponsor

    Mar 3, 2006
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    Restorer of antique clocks.
    Rhode Island
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    Tower clock movements are just like any other clock movement, but on a grand scale. They still need careful, well documented disassembly, thorough cleaning, pivot burnishing, bushing inspection and sometimes sleeving. Cables need to be cleaned as well, or replaced. If roller chain is involved (it is with some self-winding systems) it too needs to be meticulously cleaned. I generally chuck up each arbor and wheel in my South Bend lathe for final burnishing of the arbors through 600 grit emery cloth, then more cleaning, and finally I tape off the pivots and lacquer the parts. Verge pallets generally need refinishing. It's involved, time consuming, and very satisfying. I'm not aware of any book that really covers specific restoration techniques for American tower clock movements. There several comprehensive projects that have been touched upon in this forum, and Google is your friend. Best of luck, we are here to answer specific questions once you get enmeshed!
     
  3. John Echternach

    John Echternach Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jul 27, 2003
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    Peter:
    Thank you for your help. It is just what I expected. a few questions;
    First, you sent me an email asking where the clock is. In the Town House in Strafford Village, VT.
    My questions:
    -Do the chains have a disconnect link? Otherwise I can't get the chain off of the "center arbor" w/o separating the "plates/bridge" (cast iron frame with all the arbors that is bolted to a lower ,more simple frame)
    -Do you know where I can get replacement "rods" that go from "transmission" out to the clock dials. They are very light, hollow steel tubes. One is badly bent and I think may be impeding the movement. I was thinking of just making one out of a hollow aluminum tube. Weight is my concern.
    - I seem to be able to connect my microset to a nut close to the pallet arbor and I pick up a reading that is typical of any smaller movement. I assume I can trust this data?
    Thank you for you feedback!
    John
     
  4. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
    NAWCC Fellow NAWCC Member Sponsor

    Mar 3, 2006
    1,641
    11
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    Male
    Restorer of antique clocks.
    Rhode Island
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    Yes, there is a master link, just like on any roller chain (think bicycle chain). If the tin tube is not repairable (they often are), thin wall aluminum tubing, painted black, is a suitable substitute. I'm not clear on why you are using a Microset!
     

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