Simplex clock age

Discussion in 'Electric Horology' started by msolomon, May 1, 2005.

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  1. msolomon

    msolomon Guest

    Please forgive me if this topic has been covered before (I am new to the group and loving it!) but I have a question about the age of the Simplex clocks I have been collecting. No matter how old they are (or aren't) I just love these old school slave style clocks but I honestly don't have the first clue if what I am buying is 30 years old or 5 years old and I was just wondering if there is a way to tell. I have quite a few of these clocks and I have noticed some subtle differences in their faces. The logo is different on some of them and some of them just say "Made in USA" at the bottom while others say "Mady By Simplex Time Recorder Co., Gardner, Mass. U.S.A." and I am hoping that these little differences may help me when trying to determine their age. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. I will post pictures if necessary of some of my favorites.
     
  2. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Hi, Msolomon. As you have noticed, these slave clocks have no serial numbers. There are a few ways to possibly narrow down the age. On minute impulse clocks, I have only seen one style of movement, and it is still used today. However, this is from a Canadian perspective, where Simplex was not a big player until after the IBM purchase. If you have a metal dial, your clock would be older than around 1970. If it has an IBM style movement with a motor, 1960's or newer. If you know where the clock came from, you might be able to date it from the age of the building. If the clock has a synchron motor, there is a date code on it (however, the motor may not be original to the clock). Some of the clocks with IBM style Hanson movements have dates on the movements as well as the motors. Hope this helps. Harold
     
  3. msolomon

    msolomon Guest

    Thanks for the input Harold, I took one of my clocks and the first thing I did was check to see if it had a metal dial (it did), then I looked at the motor. It was a Synchron motor and at first I couldn't find anything that looked like a date code. But I kept looking and sure enough, around the band were the numbers 12-62! If you hadn't have given me this advice I would have never thought to look there. I know the motor may not be original but at least I know that the clock is over 40 years old. Thanks again for the info and if anyone else has any additional things to look for, I have about 20 more clocks to look at :)
     
  4. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Hi, Msolomon. That style of clock originated around 1955 by IBM. Originally they only had hourly correction, adding twelve hour correction around 1958. Your clock from 1962 is 3 years older than any Simplex clock of that type that I have seen in Canada. I would say your motor is original. These old motors seem to last forever, unlike the newer ones. And the older movements are much superior to the new ones. Keep it oiled and grease the pivot you see to the right and above the motor, and it will last a long time. What are you planning to do with 20 of these clocks? Are you going to build a school? Harold
     
  5. msolomon

    msolomon Guest

    No, not planning on starting a school (although I have enough clocks to do so). I have several of the type described below and I have some square ones and several different styles (including one from the UK). I have always been fasicinated by these clocks and when I find them on ebay or wherever I will usually try to get it. I have quite a few of them running (let's just say I always know what time it is in my house ANY daylight savings time is a nightmare :)) and the others I have in a closet and am trying to figure out how to make a display of them. Of course the one from the UK, I don't know if it works or not since it is a 220 clock but it is a little different than all the others and I love having it in my collection.

     
  6. tom11443

    tom11443 Registered User

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    Hi Msolomon

    I too have always been fascinated with the correction method on the Simplex unit. Currently have 5. Two 12 inch round with the 'original' dial type. One nearly new (type 6310 I believe). One square 2310 & one smaller square type with diffent type hands & no sweep second hand, which I believe is from the 70s as a nearby school built in 75 has these. All are in working order & I have all the correction coils wired to a push button so I can correct them as needed. Hope to someday get a vintage IBM too.
     
  7. tom11443

    tom11443 Registered User

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    Hi again.

    Just obtained an old standard size IBM dated 2-55 on the motor. Still works & corrects properly.

    What seems unusual is that the receiver contains two tubes instead of one & there is what appears to be a tranformer & possibly a buzzer device along the left side of the assembly. Have never seen one equipped like this before.
     
  8. skruft

    skruft Registered User
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    No need to correct them manually - it is not too hard to find either a used Simplex master clock or a modern master of some other brand that can correct many brands including Simplex.
     
  9. Arglybargly

    Arglybargly Guest

    Howdy from Georgetown TX
    I see that you're a Simplex slave clock collector. I have some older Standard Electrics that I am able to made run from a driver made mainly of Radio Shack parts.
    I've recently acquired a Simplex to add variety to my collection. It'll run on 110v., but I doubt I'll ever be able to set or synchronize it. It's a square 12-inch clock and has an old miniature radio tube in it's works. I gather a central unit sent radio signals to set and synchronize it. Got any suggestions for its operation?
     
  10. tom11443

    tom11443 Registered User

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    Ill send info on Monday about how you can wire the clock so you can corret it via push-button. That write-up is at work.
     
  11. #11 Peter Downunder, Oct 27, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2017
    G'Day Tom11443,

    I was searching the web looking for info on synchronising a Simplex clock I found at a Goodwill store, and came across your post below.

    I would sure appreciate it if you could send the details my way. And also any insight on the timing of the button push required to make the synchronisation work. So far I have been operating the mechanical part of the coil by hand trying to figure out the correct sequence and timing, and the clock operation is not always consistent.

    BTW the clock appears to be from mid 70's. 12 inch round face. 240 volt operation for down here in Oz. Has just the one word Simplex on the face and a sticker in the back saying manufactured by Simplex International Time Equipment Pty Ltd.

    The Pty Ltd tells me that this was manufactured by and Australian registerd company (Pty Ltd is our equivelant of your Inc.)

    Cheers

     
  12. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Hi, Peter. Welcome to the message board. I assume your Simplex has a three wire plug plus a ground wire. If the wiring is the same as up here, the red wire is the correction wire. All you need is a toggle switch between the black (hot) wire and the red wire. An 8 second pulse gives hourly correction on the 58th minute, and a 14 second pulse gives 12 hour correction at 5:58 am and pm. This is what the master clock does. If your clock has a vacuum tube, or a printed circuit board, disregard these instructions.
    Harold
     
  13. tom11443

    tom11443 Registered User

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    I have complete wiring instructions at work on how to bypass the receiver in the clock (if it has one) I will send to you on Monday. The timing as Harold stated is correct, & clock should correct to 59 minutes 00 seconds sixty seconds after the impulse. I will send all the details Monday.
     
  14. tom11443

    tom11443 Registered User

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    Sent via private message earlier today.
     
  15. caperace

    caperace Registered User

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    Hi, when I was bench repairing these electronic clocks I would use a small screwdrive and short across 2 of the tube pins and that would fire the tube. I don't recall which pins I shorted, but if you do identify which pins you could wire a switch across them and correct your clocks that way.
     
  16. tom11443

    tom11443 Registered User

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    Never tried that, but from the diagram, looks like pin 1 to pin 7 might do it. Recommend you check w Harold Bain as to this method before you try again.
     
  17. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    I recall using this method to test correction mechanism in the field when I didn't have a portable frequency generator with me. It should work all right.
    Harold
     
  18. pianoman

    pianoman Registered User

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    This talk of correction brings up a question I have. I just recently acquired one of these simplex clocks from the sixties and noticed the clutch magnet there, and wondered what it is for. Now I'm reading about how it provides "correction", but what exactly is correction?

    On a different note, is there some means of making the clock set to a different time, i.e. when the time is changed on the master clock, without a master clock? Basically, is there a way to accelerate the action of the clock to adjust the hour? Also, does anyone out there have spare clips for holding the glass face on the clock? Mine didn't come with any, so it's currently faceless.

    -Dan
     
  19. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Hi, Dan, welcome to the message board. Correction is provided by a master clock to sync your clock to the same time as the master clock. It requires an 8 second pulse to energize the coil on the 58th minute of the hour to set the minute hand. If you wire up a switch to activate your coil, you can advance the clock an hour at a time, but it will always stop at the same minute. But, as long as you have no glass on it, just move the minute hand ahead to the right time will work for setting it.
    Harold
     
  20. pianoman

    pianoman Registered User

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    So how exactly does this coil sync the clocks? Is this assuming that the slave clocks will always run faster than the master; at least from what I understood from seeing clocks at school, the coil slows the second hand and moves the minute hand. I'm just not sure why this would be necessary. If I recall, the clocks at my school did this once a day during the school day at around 9 AM I think. And why is the impulse 8 seconds? I'm just rather intrigued by this operation. I really enjoy mechanical devices and their engineering; these pre-computer devices, but I haven't really done much involving clocks (unless you include hammond organs, since they have a modified clock motor running them :))

    -Dan
     
  21. tom11443

    tom11443 Registered User

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    I sent you a private message with the whole story.
     
  22. pianoman

    pianoman Registered User

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    Thanks for the info Tom. Going on that info, I wired a button so I could manually provide the impulse to the coil, and noticed an interesting thing about my clock. I pressed my button at 8:57:55 and held it for 8 seconds to attempt to slow the clock by one second, and what happened instead is the minute hand advanced for a while until it reached 9:20. What might be causing this?

    Thanks,
    Dan
     
  23. pianoman

    pianoman Registered User

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    One thing I did just think of that might be causing the problem: when I first got the clock (and the reason it was taken down) was because it always got stuck at the 35 second mark. When I looked on the inside of the gearwork, I noticed that the square thing (not sure what it is) that rotates with the second hand was getting caught on a thin piece of copper about 3/8" wide with a shallow bend to it. I bent this piece of copper a bit more so that the square piece could pass it. Would this have thrown something off perhaps?

    -Dan
     
  24. skruft

    skruft Registered User
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    Dan, with synchronous-motor slave clocks, there are various "schemes" but normally they consist of commanding the slave clock to run at a much higher than normal speed to a certain time indication and stop, then start up again at normal speed at exactly that time. That way they are on exactly the same time as the master. With Simplex, the 8-second signal is normally a correction that is sent every hour, to correct only the minute indication. A longer signal is sent twice a day, which can correct a greater error. The signal does not have to be a precise length, such as 8 seconds - there is a range of duration that will work. Other clock makes use all sorts of different signals (such as multiple pulses) but the process is basically the same.

    The "impulse" slave clocks that change every minute, and which were in the school I attended, are entirely different.
     
  25. pianoman

    pianoman Registered User

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    So could it be that on my particular clock the duration that the coil is energized needs to be slower? I understand that the shorter duration on the hour corrects just the minute, but as of right now, the minute hand links up with the second hand at about 35 or 40 seconds and continues around until the second hand reaches 60 seconds, at which point the minute hand indicates 20 minutes after the hour, and the hour has of course advanced appropriately, ex. sending the impulse at 9:57:04 causes the clock to land at 10:20:00.

    -Dan
     
  26. tom11443

    tom11443 Registered User

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    I will send more details later. The copper piece is what is supposed to stop & delay the second hand during correction. I would suggest trying to get it back where it was. If the second hand then stops somewhere other than at 60 during correction, loosen its nut & reposition it.
    To correct the minute error, either wait till correction stops, loosen the nut on the minute hand & repostition it to stop on 59th minute (trial & error, be patient). Or put the clock in correction, pull the plug & push the minute hand gently back 20 minutes (again trial & error & you may loosen the nut doing this). Let the correction complete, then repeat as necessary, a little at a time until the minute hand stops on 59th minute.

    These adjustments can be tedious, so take your time.
     
  27. pianoman

    pianoman Registered User

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    I will try to get that copper piece back in position. What I did after the minute correction experiment has set a new curve on this whole thing, because I tried doing hourly correction just to see if the clock would reset to 5:57, and instead, the minute hand linked with the second hand, and will not unlink. I ran the clock for 28 minutes (28 hours essentially). I will try to make these adjustments though. I was wondering if perhaps the hands were not actually displaying the right position on the clock.

    -Dan
     
  28. tom11443

    tom11443 Registered User

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    That sounds like it's in a 12 hr correction mode that won't quit. Check to see that the little latch at upper right side of movement (the one that the solenoid cam lifts) is stuck in the 'up' position. Should drop back when correction is between 5 & 6 oclock, allowing 12hr cycle to end at 5:59. There is a little protrusion that catches on it to end the cycle.
    Maybe Harold Bain can help here, may be too deep for me.

    It may be up too high to catch it, allowing the endless correction. If you PM me your email, I will try to send a pic to show what I mean, won't be able to until morning though.
     
  29. pianoman

    pianoman Registered User

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    All right. I re-assembled the clock (a few springs let go when I moved the motor bit to fix the piece of copper). The copper piece now "clicks" correctly; at least mechanically. It still does it at 35 seconds instead of 59, but that's an issue with the hands of the clock themselves. The only problem I have now is this: when I first turned the clock on, it was still in 12 hour correction mode. Once the minute hand got to about 58 or 59, the small piece that comes around and holds the latch that starts the mode held it, but something now is slipping. As the clock runs normally, the minute hand hops forward like it is stuck, and you can see some gear slipping right near the latch. As far as I know, I reassembled everything correctly, but could something else be out of calibration? It appears to partially be the result of the gear that holds the latch being pushed against the latch. This piece I'm describing is the one that runs along with the gear on top of the gearset nearest the latch. This particular piece is shaped something like a comma; it's round with a sharp sort of tooth on one corner to lift/hold the latch in place.

    -Dan
    Edit: Clarification
     
  30. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Dan, sounds like the further you go into this movement, the more problems you are causing. The J shaped lever is the lock, unlock for the 12 hour correction. There is a round bump on the gear under it that lifts it once every 12 hours (usually at about 5:40) to lock out the 12 hour correction until about 10 after 6. Your problem with the correction not releasing sounds like a problem with the ratchet gear pawl not being caught by its lift lever (the one that the correction segment lifts to release the ratchet wheel at the 58th minute when activated by master clock pulses). Your movement may now be past repairability.
    Harold
     
  31. pianoman

    pianoman Registered User

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    I did realize this to some extent, but I do tend to believe that most things are fixable; it's just what degree of "fixing" it needs. The clock as it is runs corectly; the minute hand moves properly and it keeps time; it's just this one gear that is slipping. It doesn't affect the movement of the clock, it's just annoying because it keeps going click click click. My assumption is that this normally happens to some extent when the clock operates properly, it's just not noisy. It does get quieter as the second hand goes on the uphill travel towards 12, but keep in mind that my second hand also "clicks" at the copper piece at approximately 35 seconds. It sounds like you might be referring to my original issue with the minute hand constantly following the second hand, which I have fixed now. But I could be wrong. Thanks for all the help; hopefully I can fix this. Otherwise, I might just have to go on eBay and buy another movement.

    -Dan
     
  32. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Dan, if you look close, you will see that the click, click, click is the ratchet gear pawl hitting the ratchet teeth. The part that catches it may just need a little bending to lift the pawl higher. Or, the ratchet arbor bushing may be worn to the point of needing a bushing replaced. Keep at it, and you will find your problem.
    Harold
     
  33. pianoman

    pianoman Registered User

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    I've got good news and bad news. The good news: I fixed the clicking. The bad news: when I was attempting to bend the little piece that was catching on the gear (the one that is also attached to the hook that sits under the latch on the side that, when lifted, activates the correction mode) broke off completely. I don't even know where it is. So now the clock will run silently and correctly, but the correction mode will not work because there is nothing to carry that gear around. Is there a way to replace this part by chance? I tried once to take the plate on top with the motor attached to get to the inner workings, but I couldn't get the actual motor detached, and if I can't get that off, then I can't get at the workings to take out and replace that part in the first place, if that is even possible. I suppose that is the danger of working with 45 year old clocks...

    -Dan
     
  34. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Dan, if all else fails, you can get a new movement from American Time and Signal. Why is the motor not removable? Are the screwheads stripped? You just need the right size screwdriver usually on these, although some are rusted on enough to require a bit of assistance from a good set of pliers. You also need to be aware of the three springs, and unhook them before taking the movement apart. You will need a springhook for this. The part that broke is the ratchet pawl, which almost never needs any bending. So you are right, your correcting days are over :eek:. If you can post, or send me a few pictures of your movement, I might be able to see something to help you. I have lots of parts for these movements, but there were small changes over the years, mostly from the 1960's vintage movements. Also, don't try taking the movement apart unless you have removed it from the clock!!
    Harold
     
  35. pianoman

    pianoman Registered User

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    Thanks, Harold; I will take pictures of the movement when I get ahold of a better camera; mine won't focus on things that small. For now, I have the clock hooked up so that it works minus the correction setup. I now have another interesting issue: the motor rattles now. It's sort of a percussive rattle that occurs constantly as the clock runs. I don't think anything is loose, and I doubt the gears would rattle, so I'm assuming it's some part of the motor itself. Could it be that it needs oiling or something like that? If it's something that's not fixable I may just search around on ebay and see if I can find another original movement to put in instead. By the way; how is it that you remove/reposition the hands? I couldn't figure out how to loosen them to, for example, set the second hand so it passes at the right point to "click"; I think Tom might have been sending me something on that, but I haven't gotten that yet...

    Thanks,
    Dan
     
  36. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Dan, the second hand is held on with a nut, as is the minute hand. When you loosen the nut, you can move the second hand to where you want it then tighten again. The second hand is also threaded. The hour hand is friction fit.
    These clocks are pretty cheap on ebay.
    Harold
     
  37. Neseattle1

    Neseattle1 Guest

    Hello!
    I found this site while looking for information on "School Clocks" ... One of the students at the university where I work asked how the all clocks keep the correct time, being they are not digital. It got me wondering too! I found your site (and some others) to explain the "Simplex" system that I remember.

    I checked Wikipedia.org, but only found a bare bones posting on "Slave Clock" so I wondered if someone could someone please post an article on Wikipedia?

    Thanks,

    Murphy/Seattle
     
  38. tom11443

    tom11443 Registered User

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    I sent just sent you a private message with a complete description of how they worked. This type system was developed by IBM in 1948 to replace the older wired 'minute impulse' systems which required their own dedicated wiring network. The advantage of these 'reciever operated clocks was that they could be plugged in anywhere in the building & be synced to the master clock, usually every hour.

    IBM sold out their time division to Simplex in 1958. I am fortunate to have 5 IBMs in my collection plus 8 Simplex. The early Simplex models looked exactly like the IBMs
     
  39. reidc

    reidc Guest

    I have a recently-acquired Simplex slave clock. What appears to be the date on the motor housing indicates "4-70" and the wiring diagram on the back shows what appears to be a model number "804-007". Previous postings on this thread indicate some of you have knowledge of how to do a manual reset. My manual manipulation of the clutch magnet moved the minute hand and then stalled the clock entirely. Somehow I got it moving again (don't ask me how) but clearly my random actions are more likely to damage the clock than anything else. Any help appreciated.
     
  40. tom11443

    tom11443 Registered User

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    I had a Simplex do that very thing when I first got it. I simply sprayed the mechanism from all sides with silicon lubricant, ran it though a correction cycle, then sprayed it again. That was two years ago & it has been fine ever since.

    If this doesn't work, I might suggest contacting Harold Bain, Skruft, or Caperace, they are the experts on Simplex clocks & have been helpful to me.

    If you want instructions on how to wire one of these for remote operation via a push button, let me know & I will send you by email or private message.
     
  41. reidc

    reidc Guest

    It'd be very helpful to have the "manual" wiring instructions to be able to update the clock without having to remove its case. Thanks for that. I've learned a lot, by the way, by reading previous postings on how these clocks work. Thanks to all who participated in that discussion.

    RC
     
  42. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Here is the lost thread
     
  43. RODALCO

    RODALCO Registered User

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    The German T&N (Telephonbau und Normalzeit) slave clocks as used by the European railways had the second hand making one revolution in 58 seconds.
    It still did the 60 impulsing motions but the drive was geared for 60/58 speed.
    Then the seconds hand was blocked by a pawl, which was released by the minute pulse from the masterclock.
    These clocks were also self correcting.
    If for whatever reason the power failed, and came back on, the seconds hand pulsed back up to the 12 and waited to be released by the next minute pulse to continue it's next round.
     
  44. Mike Devine

    Mike Devine New Member

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    Hi, everyone. I recently joined this message board, and it's a fantastic resource!

    I own the following two Simplex clocks:

    Type 5845 (round; 14" diameter)
    Type 6345 (square; 12 3/4" diameter)

    Photos of these clocks are attached below. Neither clock requires a master; each one has a standard two-prong plug and a stem to set the time.

    1. I'd like to determine the manufacture date of each clock, and I've read the previous discussion about finding a date code on the motor. But I'm not sure to how remove the black casing around the motor, as it appears to be riveted shut. Do you have any suggestions?

    2. Both clocks are running very well, but I doubt they were serviced for a long time before I owned them. I have no experience with maintaining clocks, and I certainly don't want to ruin these two. Do clock shops perform that sort of service, or do you recommend another approach?

     

    Attached Files:

  45. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Hi, Mike, welcome to the message board. The covers on your clocks are held on with pressure washers. A gentle squeeze with a pair of pliers should release them, then they can be flattened to use again. Oiling these movements will prolong their life. Many clock shops won't touch electrics, but this is something you can do yourself.
     
  46. Mike Devine

    Mike Devine New Member

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    Hi, Harold,

    Thanks very much for your prompt reply!

    If you don't mind, I'd like to follow up with you about the proper way to remove and reattach the pressure washers. They're attached very securely to the clocks I own -- in fact, I'm not sure where to apply the pliers. I've attached another photo for your reference.

    On a related note, do you know if Simplex ever published a catalog of the models of clocks they sold? Seems like there's very little documentation out there -- which is a bit surprising, given how many Simplex and IBM clocks were produced back then.

    Thanks again for your explanations on here -- you're a true expert!

    Mike
     

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  47. ibm clock

    ibm clock Registered User

    Sep 5, 2005
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    I never have luck getting them out, I simply use side cutters and cut them. They are called speed nuts in many catalogs. McmAster-Carr is one supplier that has them in their catalog.

    There are alos grommets under their try www.atsclock.com for replacement grommets, rivits used for the post, and speed nuts. Should be the same size as used on the IBM/Simplex syncronous movements. Don't have the part #'s handy.
     
  48. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Nov 4, 2002
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    Just light pressure on the 2 ends with needlenose pliers compresses them enough to remove them. Or you could use a small blade screwdriver to bend open the center.
    Simplex did have sales catalogues when I worked for them with individual flyers for each model. They were carrried by the salesmen, and flyers given to customers.
     
  49. AmP

    AmP New Member

    Oct 15, 2009
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    Hi,

    I've been reading through this thread. Please forgive me, I don't know anything about clocks. In fact, I had never heard of a synchronous clock until one was dropped onto my desk this week. It appears to be a Simplex 804-007 square clock with a synchron motor in it that must have been built after the university building it was found inside (late 1960s). From what I'm reading here, I gather that it either has to have a master clock or I have to wire in a switch to run it? The clock I have doesn't run when I plug it in. I've traced the power and it's getting power to the copper magnetic switch thing on the right hand side. Is the lack of master clock why it's not running or is there a more serious issue at work here?

    Thank you for your time,
    AmP
     
  50. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Hi, AmP, welcome to the message board. A picture of the movement on your clock would help me to identify it. Sounds like you have power to the correction coil instead of the motor. The synchron motor in the center of the movement is the part that drives the hands.
     

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