Spelter clock - missing bell

Simon Holt

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Good afternoon everyone.

This clock came in to me missing its bell:
2020-02-17 12.43.08.jpg 2020-02-27 13.06.03.jpg 2020-02-27 13.07.10.jpg 2020-02-27 13.06.16.jpg
The only bells I've seen are symmetrical (i.e. with a hole dead-centre) and clearly unsuitable. What would a replacement look like - and should the bell also act as a cover for that aperture?

Simon
 

wow

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Looks like it is a replacement bell mount. It should not protrude outside the back cover. You may be able to bend it and make it work.
 

shutterbug

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I think so too.
 

Simon Holt

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Thanks wow and shutterbug, but I'm really struggling to understand the situation here. I seem to have the following problems to resolve:

(1) There's no cover for the aperture at the back of the case - unless the bell is meant to provide cover
(2) The bell mount protrudes from the back of the case, making it impossible to fit a bell inside the case
(3) The bell mount is too low for a symmetrical bell to be mounted

The bell mount does not look like it has ever been any shape other that what it is now. I'm left with the conclusion that the movement is not original to the case, unless anyone has seen this configuration before and can tell me what the bell should look like.

Simon
 

Willie X

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Movement switch, or bellstand switch.
Maybe both, who knows! Ha
Willie X
 

Uhralt

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In some cases there were no back covers when the clock was intended to be under a glass dome. Is the bell stand fixed in the current position by pins? If not, it may have to be rotated upwards so that the hammer can reach the bell. The bells are generally small, with a diameter of not much more than an inch. A bell covering the back would be out of proportion.

Uhralt
 

Simon Holt

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In some cases there were no back covers when the clock was intended to be under a glass dome. Is the bell stand fixed in the current position by pins? If not, it may have to be rotated upwards so that the hammer can reach the bell. The bells are generally small, with a diameter of not much more than an inch. A bell covering the back would be out of proportion.

Uhralt
Yes, the bell stand has a location pin. It would be easy to bend the hammer arm though, if I can find a 1 inch bell. I never knew they came that small.

Breaking news - I've found a source of 32mm (one and one quarter inch) bells. I'll measure up and see if one would fit. Thanks for the info!

Simon
 

Simon Holt

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Just to close this one off:

I measured the distance from the centre of the bell mount to the hammer – one inch. That would suggest a 2 inch bell would have been present originally (assuming the hammer shaft has never been reshaped, which I couldn't guarantee). While there isn't one inch space between the bell mount centre and the rear case aperture, a bell is bell-shaped (go figure) so it will curve away from its mounting point. And a 2 inch bell fits perfectly:
2020-03-03 12.58.54.jpg
I still don't know what's meant to keep the dust out though!

Thanks again
Simon
 

PatH

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Thanks for letting us know, Simon. To get an idea what might have been on the back, you can google french gilt or french patinated or french silk suspension clock and look at images of the backs. As Uhralt said, some were under glass domes. If you like to watch old movies, you can sometimes spot the clocks under domes on the mantle.
 

Uhralt

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Just to close this one off:

I measured the distance from the centre of the bell mount to the hammer – one inch. That would suggest a 2 inch bell would have been present originally (assuming the hammer shaft has never been reshaped, which I couldn't guarantee). While there isn't one inch space between the bell mount centre and the rear case aperture, a bell is bell-shaped (go figure) so it will curve away from its mounting point. And a 2 inch bell fits perfectly:
View attachment 574408
I still don't know what's meant to keep the dust out though!

Thanks again
Simon
That looks pretty good! I'm sorry for having mislead you. I meant to say 2 inches, which is a very typical diameter for a French bell. Maybe in my mind I mixed up radius and diameter. I've been suffering from the flu the last 10 days, so my mind wasn't particularly sharp. Luckily I start feeling better now.

Uhralt
 

Simon Holt

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I've been suffering from the flu the last 10 days, so my mind wasn't particularly sharp.
In that case you're forgiven, Uhralt!

In fact your answer led me to the right solution anyway. No harm, no foul. Glad you're on the mend!

If you like to watch old movies, you can sometimes spot the clocks under domes on the mantle.
A dome would certainly seem like the best protection. Even if the rear aperture had a cover, the base of the clock is open to attack from below by spiders. This was in the clock when I got it:
2020-02-20 10.00.20.jpg

Simon
 

John Arrowood

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There is the possibility that the case and movement didn't start out together and the movement is a replacement. Not all of these cases have the same depth/width for the movement and the movements may vary in depth also. and the original back ring with a hinged door may have been changed also.
 

Simon Holt

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There is the possibility that the case and movement didn't start out together and the movement is a replacement. Not all of these cases have the same depth/width for the movement and the movements may vary in depth also. and the original back ring with a hinged door may have been changed also.
Yes, John, I can see how that may be a possibility. I'm quite new to all this and often curious as to the history behind what I encounter.

Simon
 

shutterbug

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I think a thin piece of tin (a can bottom?) could be cut, smoothed out and screwed to the back with the two visible screws to keep the dust and dirt out of the movement.
 

Simon Holt

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It needs something, although it can't be flat because the bell mount screw protrudes. Thinking cap on...

Simon
 

Simon Holt

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If you look at my picture in Post #8 (Spelter clock - missing bell), you will see that the threaded post for the bell is longer than it needs to be. So I made a template for a cover that would utilise that extended post:
2020-03-05 11.39.59.jpg
It needed clearance holes for the two bezel retaining screws (those screws also hold the movement in place, so I couldn't use them to also hold the cover), but it looks so "right" that I wonder if that was original reason for the extended bell mount post.

Having made the template, I can now think about a more attractive solution. BUT: because this cover will be attached directly to the bell, there's presumably going to be a change to the bell tone. Can anyone suggest a suitable material that will not deaden the tone too badly?

Simon
 

Uhralt

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If you look at my picture in Post #8 (Spelter clock - missing bell), you will see that the threaded post for the bell is longer than it needs to be. So I made a template for a cover that would utilise that extended post:
View attachment 574567
It needed clearance holes for the two bezel retaining screws (those screws also hold the movement in place, so I couldn't use them to also hold the cover), but it looks so "right" that I wonder if that was original reason for the extended bell mount post.

Having made the template, I can now think about a more attractive solution. BUT: because this cover will be attached directly to the bell, there's presumably going to be a change to the bell tone. Can anyone suggest a suitable material that will not deaden the tone too badly?

Simon
If there ever was a cover, it would have large openings in it, covered with silk, to let the sound through. Covering the bell completely would almost mute the clock, they are not very loud to begin with. The bell shouldn't be touched by anything. That would kill the sound ,too. If it was my clock I would let it run as is. In modern, airconditioned houses there is so little dust compared to the past. I have one of mine running like this since at least 5 years and the movement still looks pretty clean. If necessary I can clean it when the time comes.

Uhralt
 

Simon Holt

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In modern, airconditioned houses there is so little dust compared to the past.
That made me smile. I don't know where in the States you are, but here in the UK air conditioning is rare in houses! Not that we're too poor to afford it, mind you...more to do with the climate!

I like your suggestion of doing nothing though. That's my default position if I can get away with it. I'll leave it up to the clock's owner to decide how to protect it - and hopefully that will mean not having it on a mantel piece above a log fire for 50 years or so...

Simon
 

Uhralt

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That made me smile. I don't know where in the States you are, but here in the UK air conditioning is rare in houses! Not that we're too poor to afford it, mind you...more to do with the climate!

I like your suggestion of doing nothing though. That's my default position if I can get away with it. I'll leave it up to the clock's owner to decide how to protect it - and hopefully that will mean not having it on a mantel piece above a log fire for 50 years or so...

Simon
I forgot you live in the UK. I live in Michigan in a rather contemporary home. Very little dust visible in the air, even in a stream of bright sunlight. But still, even if you live in an older house without A/C, the indoor air today should be much cleaner than a couple of 100 years ago. Wasn't the vacuum cleaner invented in the UK?

Uhralt
 

Simon Holt

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Wasn't the vacuum cleaner invented in the UK?
I think we'll have to share the credit for that, according to Wikipedia!

Simon
 

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