Seth Thomas Tower clock on fleemarket -- not complete?

Discussion in 'Tower, Monumental & Street Clocks' started by vlad0002, Apr 18, 2009.

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  1. vlad0002

    vlad0002 Registered User

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    #1 vlad0002, Apr 18, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2009
    Hi all,

    I saw an interesting Seth Thomas clock today -- attached are pictures made with my cell phone (sorry). It looks just like the one in NAWCC museum (model 6?), http://www.nawcc.org/museum/nwcm/galleries/tower/sthomas.htm, but it's completely missing the escapement and pendulum. What's strange is that it lacks even a place to put it... Instead there is a governor... for what? The train definately drives the hands (on 4 faces, differential is on very top, not shown in the pictures; there's also a detached link that feeds the power into that differential, that's not shown either). There are two small hands, so one can see the time when setting it. It was wound by electric motor and chain, both missing. The weights with rollers are there, though, and the supporting frame is complete, with rollers for chain on the bottom. The mechanism is in excellent condition, otherwise. The guy who was selling it told me it was from a church in Detroit. He wants $1500 for this, but will probably take $1000.

    What do you, guys, think? Any ideas what this is and what is missing? Is it worth getting and trying to build a clock out of it?

    Any help will be much appreciated.

    Oh yeah, there are also two sets of wooden hands, shown on the pictures.

    Thanks.

    Vlad
     

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  2. gvasale

    gvasale Registered User
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    an electric rewind frame for sure, possibility it might have had a gravity escapement, but the more pictures the better. Lots of other stuff is missing. The time adjusting worm, bevel gearsets /transmission . All not easy to duplicate. but...
     
  3. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Yes, it looks like about 1/2 of an electric wind gravity escapement timepiece. Obtaining / making the other half will not be easy nor cheap. Even at $1000 you would be buying a huge project that would cost several times that to return to proper operation.......
     
  4. DanJeffries

    DanJeffries The Tower clock man
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    I think this would be a slave driven unit. Thus you notice there was no place for the pendulum adjustment nut, that is traditionally on the front of this clock. This would be an installation where they had a large dial and needed the power to drive the large hands, but did not want to climb the tower for winding, maintenance etc. This would be equivalent to one of our now minute impulse clocks. There would have been a master clock located somewhere in the main floor of the church then this would have been located in the tower. Each minute an impulse would have been sent "letting go" the large lever on the movement. This would allow the hands to advance one minute or some were every 30 seconds. This movement would have wound itself and basically been maintenance free. Someone would need to go check on this particular movement every 3-6 months verses the weekly maintenance of a weight driven pendulum tower movement.
    Pretty cool either way, but yes there is a lot of missing parts even as a slave driven movement. The basic bones of the clock are the same as the traditional pendulum tower clocks, but there will be a lot of expense to getting all those parts.
    Good luck either way.
     
  5. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    I believe Mr Jeffries is 100% correct. The long lever on the 3rd/4th arbor is the best clue, as well as no pendulum hanger. I have a drawing of a smaller ST electric rewind movement set up in just this way. I will post it when I find it
     
  6. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    here is the smaller version of what this movement was most likely before it lost a lot of parts...
     

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  7. gvasale

    gvasale Registered User
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    To be somewhat contrary, I see no need for any type of a fan on a slave movement. Lest we forget the damage that Verdin and perhaps others have done when electrifying mechanical movements. They have cut off parts of frames in some cases where the pendulum hangs to make the return to original difficult and expensive. I have photos of them (2)
     
  8. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    well, if you blow up the page photo above, of the Seth Thomas electrict rewind slave from the 1930 ST catalog, you will see the same long lever that is seen on the original movement photo at the top of the thread. Also, in the lower photo you can see how an electric solenoid intercepts the long lever....and it is located on the same position arbor on both movements....
     
  9. vlad0002

    vlad0002 Registered User

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    Thank you all very much for an interesting discussion. I ended up not getting it. But I had spent about half an hour crawling all over (and under) it, and do think it is a slave unit. The picture cleared all doubts completely. The fan, it looks like, is there to slow down/soften the every-30-seconds hand advancement. The weights are pretty light, but still, without a fan they would deliver a much harder inertia blow to the train every 30 seconds.

    Thanks again.

    Vlad
     
  10. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    here is a blow up showing the lever etc....
     

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  11. gvasale

    gvasale Registered User
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    Jim: Looks like you got it. Good job.
     
  12. DanJeffries

    DanJeffries The Tower clock man
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    Thanks Jim for finding the pics. I tried to find my ST book with those pics and of course you can never find it when you are really looking for it.......funny how that happens...:)

    Well I hate to see one sit, but that one was missing a lot of parts. That would probably be a good parts clock........hate to say it but......

    Has anyone ever seen one of these large slave clocks working? I have encountered a few and I have yet to see one working. Several have been switched over to a synchronous motor to run the clock, but I have yet to see one that actually released every 30 seconds, etc.......I didn't know if these large slave clocks were problematic or what.
    thanks
    Dan
     

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