Seth Thomas Sonora Chimes

tliette

Registered User
Feb 13, 2014
36
3
8
63
Greenville, Ohio
Country
Region
I've seen clocks with 2 types of Sonora chimes, clocks that chimes on a series of bell, and I've also seen clocks with the second movement of Sonora chimes but the hammers strike on a series of bars. Are both types of chimes the bells and the bars both considered Sonora chimes?
 

roughbarked

Registered User
Dec 2, 2016
5,874
765
113
Western NSW or just this side of the black stump.
Country
Region
The name “Sonora” comes from the Sonora Chime Company. William Hoschke of New York, New York applied for his patent on this design on April 16, 1907, and the patent was granted on April 18, 1908. Hoschke apparently had a background with music box engineering that he utilized in his design of the Sonora configuration. Seth Thomas purchased the rights to Hoschke's bell chime mechanism and resonators patent around 1912, changed the movements to suit their own manufacturing techniques, cut the price substantially, and successfully marketed a full line of “Sonora” clocks with numerous models and configurations. The unique, rich, resonant sound of Sonora bell chimes comes from the wooden expansive sound chamber in which the cup bells are mounted. They are struck with leather-tipped hammers.
 

shutterbug

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Oct 19, 2005
46,112
1,757
113
North Carolina
Country
Region
Yes, the bells are much more pleasant to hear than the rod type. I have one of each.
 

chimeclockfan

NAWCC Member
Dec 21, 2006
4,463
378
83
WI
Country
Region
The gong rods originally used by Seth Thomas were made by R. H. Mayland's company in New York. The very last production runs of "Sonora" chime clocks utilized the Mayland gong rods before Seth Thomas switched over to the 113 and 124 three train chime movements. I do not personally consider clocks with the Mayland rods to be Sonora clocks regardless of what may be claimed elsewhere.
 
  • Like
Reactions: breeze

KyleG

Registered User
Nov 4, 2006
95
2
8
Country
Region
The name “Sonora” comes from the Sonora Chime Company. William Hoschke of New York, New York applied for his patent on this design on April 16, 1907, and the patent was granted on April 18, 1908. Hoschke apparently had a background with music box engineering that he utilized in his design of the Sonora configuration. Seth Thomas purchased the rights to Hoschke's bell chime mechanism and resonators patent around 1912, changed the movements to suit their own manufacturing techniques, cut the price substantially, and successfully marketed a full line of “Sonora” clocks with numerous models and configurations. The unique, rich, resonant sound of Sonora bell chimes comes from the wooden expansive sound chamber in which the cup bells are mounted. They are struck with leather-tipped hammers.
 

KyleG

Registered User
Nov 4, 2006
95
2
8
Country
Region
I've seen clocks with 2 types of Sonora chimes, clocks that chimes on a series of bell, and I've also seen clocks with the second movement of Sonora chimes but the hammers strike on a series of bars. Are both types of chimes the bells and the bars both considered Sonora chimes?
Most S/T Sonora Chime clocks have the words 'Sonora Chime' somewhere on the dial. The chime clocks using the rods never do. The Sonora's with bells are the more collectible IMHO.
 

Bill Steele

NAWCC Member
Jun 27, 2018
5
0
1
67
Country
I have a 5 bell but the clock only utilizes 4 . It plays the melody on the 4 bells and strikes out the hour with all 4 hammers at the same time striking out the hour. Why would their be 5 bells ? On the face it says Baltimore Maryland and something else that I can not make out . Do you think that is why the strange set up ? I am baffled. Thanks Bill
 

Sevan

Registered User
Feb 26, 2018
12
2
3
usedclockparts.com
Country
Im not sure why it has five bells but only plays four? I recently aquired a nice Seth Thomas tambour with a 124 movement. It plays Westminster on 4 of the rods and counts the hour on the fifth rod. The fifth rod has a distinctive sound unlike the others and sounds great, I like it alot!
 

mldenison

NAWCC Member
Oct 3, 2010
175
29
28
York, PA
www.m82a1.us
Country
Region
If you have a 5 bell model, and the 5th bell isn't used, there were extra parts installed to hourly strike on the 5th bell. Just a way to jack up the retail price I suppose.

I have an 8 bell Sonora. I also have 9 bell Kieninger which used to be my favorite chimer. I now prefer the Sonora. The tonal quality is deeper and louder. My wife said, the first day she heard it, "You've got a new clock and the sound is beautiful".
 

Bill Steele

NAWCC Member
Jun 27, 2018
5
0
1
67
Country
If you have a 5 bell model, and the 5th bell isn't used, there were extra parts installed to hourly strike on the 5th bell. Just a way to jack up the retail price I suppose.

I have an 8 bell Sonora. I also have 9 bell Kieninger which used to be my favorite chimer. I now prefer the Sonora. The tonal quality is deeper and louder. My wife said, the first day she heard it, "You've got a new clock and the sound is beautiful".
I can see that the 5th bell is bigger , so why would they go to the expense to put that extra bell in and it not be used ? Can the clock be modified somehow to utilize the 5th bell since its in the clock ? Thanks Bill
 

mauleg

NAWCC Member
Dec 26, 2012
848
143
43
Country
I can see that the 5th bell is bigger , so why would they go to the expense to put that extra bell in and it not be used ? Can the clock be modified somehow to utilize the 5th bell since its in the clock ?...
This thread discusses this issue.
 

MartinM

Registered User
Jun 24, 2011
3,091
112
63
El Dorado, CA
Country
Region
I's bet the most logical conclusion is that either there was a major miscommunication between the clock movement team and the chime movement team or that over the years, repairers married the wrong combinations when one of the movements was beyond repair.
If you've ever seen a chime movement where the barrel bushing got too oblong letting the power out all at once, it's a huge mess.
 

shutterbug

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Oct 19, 2005
46,112
1,757
113
North Carolina
Country
Region
Most S/T Sonora Chime clocks have the words 'Sonora Chime' somewhere on the dial. The chime clocks using the rods never do. The Sonora's with bells are the more collectible IMHO.
I had not noticed this before, but it seems Kyle is correct. Therefore the chime bar type shouldn't be referred to as Sonora chimes, even though the movements are pretty much the same.
 

hambyl

NAWCC Member
May 14, 2012
47
1
8
If you have a 5 bell model, and the 5th bell isn't used, there were extra parts installed to hourly strike on the 5th bell. Just a way to jack up the retail price I suppose.

I have an 8 bell Sonora. I also have 9 bell Kieninger which used to be my favorite chimer. I now prefer the Sonora. The tonal quality is deeper and louder. My wife said, the first day she heard it, "You've got a new clock and the sound is beautiful".
Midenson, is your 8-bell Sonora a S/T clock or one put out by Sonora before they sold rights to S/T? If Sonora, is the works a New Haven with Sonora Clock Company stamped on it? I have one of the original Sonora clocks and am trying to work through some issues.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
164,706
Messages
1,432,936
Members
85,756
Latest member
jtvx
Encyclopedia Pages
1,101
Total wiki contributions
2,863
Last edit
Rockford's early high grade movements by Greg Frauenhoff