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SWCC Model Help

Fredinaz

Registered User
May 24, 2020
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I'm a complete newvbie. New to SWCC clocks, this site and tinkering with old clocks.

Looking for a model number and possible age.

I was given this clock (images attached) by a friend. Probably picked up at a Ham (Amateur Radio) Fest.

Face diameter is 16". Base diameter is around 19". Has FR302492 stamped on movement. From searching the Internet, I'm guessing it could be a 37SS. Has hole for light which I understand lights during synchronization, so I guess it's a more modern model?

Looks like earlier owner tried to jury rig a battery connection. In the left side of the movement is a capacitor (little round yellow disk in picture). Were they used in these clocks or is this something that was added by someone tinkering? Also, the cut-out at the bottom of the movement is empty. Is there supposed to be a coil of some kind in there, or does this model only use the one coil in the upper right of the movement.

Glass and case are in good condition. Movement appears intact. I want to get an idea what model this is before I try and bring it back to life.

Thanks in advance for all your help!

Fred

SWCC_Face20200525b.jpg SWCC_Works20200525a.jpg SWXX_Cover20200525b.jpg
 

Kevin W.

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Apr 11, 2002
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Looks identical to mine. Mine dates to later 1930,s. Seth Thomas F movement. Very nice, its a big clock.
 

Fredinaz

Registered User
May 24, 2020
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3
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Looks identical to mine. Mine dates to later 1930,s. Seth Thomas F movement. Very nice, its a big clock.
Thanks Kevin. I didn't realize that Seth Thomas made movements for SWCC. Am I correct about the Model number being 37SS?
 

Tim Orr

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Good afternoon, Fred!

Did the clock run for the previous owner? The missing parts you cite are the winding solenoids. Can't see well enough to see what else might have been taken out or what may have been added. Not sure what the cap is for. No, they were not generally seen in SWCC units of this vintage.

Do you have the sweep second hand? This particular type of clock was commonplace in TV and radio stations all the way through the 1960s. They used the synchronized time (at the top of the hour, the minute and second hands "jumped" up to the 12 and the red light on the dial lit) that was provided by Western Union to keep broadcasts on schedule. Most of the clocks in use other places had neither a sweep second hand, nor often, any second hand at all, and did not have the red "5" through "60" numbers on the outer ring, since seconds-keeping was not a priority.

I can't verify the model number, but Kevin is correct about the movements' having been built by Seth Thomas.

More pictures and more close-ups might help, but I believe you have some parts missing, Is the inside of the front cover full of heavy felt batting? That was what was used to soundproof the clocks for radio and TV use. Often, these were installed high on walls, so the chain and hook were used to hang the cover (You'll find a small hole at the top of the rim of the cover) while the batteries were replaced or other work was done.

Most knowledgable source I know of on these is: Ken's Clock Clinic - Self Winding Clock Restoration & Products

Good luck!

Best regards!

Tim Orr
 

Fredinaz

Registered User
May 24, 2020
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While I'm at it. Any hints on what to use to clean the clock face or is that something I might ruin if I try cleaning it?
 

Kevin W.

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Apr 11, 2002
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Mine does not have the red numbers up to 60, but does have the red light. Mine does not have a second hand. The link posted is great. And thats where i ordered the fake batteries i used in mine.
 

Fredinaz

Registered User
May 24, 2020
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Thanks Tim! Yep, I have a disk with batting on it. And I have a red sweep (second) hand. The minutes and hour hands are black. Attached is a close-up of the movement.

The friend who gave it to me had it sitting around and I'm pretty sure he never had it running - probably why he gave it to me.

Looks like an earlier unknown owner fiddled with the movement, added the capacitor and played with powering it. When I was looking at Ken's website, before I found this site, I thought I saw movements without the bottom solenoids. I'll look again.

It was given to me intact. I removed the cover, batting and hands to see the guts. Except for the battery wiring and capacitor, it looks in good condition. I'm hoping I can get it running again without mcuh effort. I've pretty much exceed my current skill level when I took the cover off without breaking anything.

Fred

SWCC_Movement20200525a.jpg
 
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mxfrank

Registered User
Oct 27, 2011
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First off, I'm not sure there were model numbers for the Western Union Clocks. They came in round and square cases, and that's how I've always heard them identified. I've not seen a studio version before, it's interesting.

The movement is derived from an F movement, but it's not a typical F. An F movement would have a winding solenoid at the bottom. It's not that your solenoid is missing, the plates aren't even drilled to accommodate one. So whatever was done to the winding system was done at the factory. (see photo.) I'm wondering what sort of winding motor is behind that front plate. Or it could be that the synchronizing solenoid at the top right did double duty and wound the spring. The gearing is explained by the sweep second hand, but the lack of a standard winding motor begs for sideview photos.

Self_Winding_Clock_Company_Western_Union_clock.jpg
 

Tim Orr

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Good evening, Fred!

If you look at that famous online auction site, you will probably see one that was wound using a little motor instead of the vibratory winding system. I think I can see a couple of wires in the area where the winding solenoids would have been that are colored and might be related to winding somehow.

I will be shocked beyond belief if there is any way that the synchronizing solenoid is involved in winding. Lots more photos, from top, bottom, sides, etc. will help. You can also loosen the captive screws so that you can detach the movement from the cast iron mounting fixture and show us what it looks like from the back.

I would be very careful about any attempt to clean the dial. Use something exceptionally mild, and try a tiny area that is not likely to be seen if your attempt proves disastrous. As I recall, the basic beige paint stands up to cleaning pretty well, but I wouldn't go near the numbers or dial markers.

Best regards!

Tim
 

Fredinaz

Registered User
May 24, 2020
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Thanks again for all the help. I contacted Ken's Clock Clinic. He said these newer models came with a motor (where it is, I can't see it) instead of the solenoids. He also said the motors were a German manufacture, poorly made and break down easily. At least now I know there are no obvious missing parts.

I tried swinging the pendulum back and forth to see what happens but I'm not seeing any gear movement. Is there a way to hand wind the clock so I can see if it works?

Assuming the movement winds and works, I'm guessing I can test the auto rewind with a couple of 1.5V batteries?

Fred
 
Last edited:

Tim Orr

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Sep 27, 2008
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Good afternoon, Fred!

Problem is, if you don't have the rewinding solenoids, it's not going to rewind. Period. It would have to have the little motor. If it doesn't have that, it isn't going to rewind. Batteries won't help.

If you remove the works from the mounting plate and take lots of photos, we can maybe figure out a lot more. But there are only two ways the thing will rewind, either through the rewind solenoids or the electric motor. There's nothing else to do it.

If you get the works out and fiddle with them, you might be able to wind the mainspring a little bit, but I'm not even sure you'll succeed in doing that. But maybe you could test the movement that way. As Mxfrank points out, it looks like your clock was never drilled for the rewind solenoids. If that is true, it would have to have had the little motor at some point. Might not have it now.

Did you send Ken the photo of the movement from post #7? I'll bet he'll recognize it.

Best regards!

Tim
 

Fredinaz

Registered User
May 24, 2020
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Hi Tim! Ken recognized the movement. The motor is hidden inside the lower right of the movement. I found it. What I need now is a wiring diagram so I can test it out, or at least see if the I can get the motor to wind the movement. I found a third capacitor wired into the movement that doesn't belong there per Ken.

Fred
 

Tim Orr

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Sep 27, 2008
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Good evening, Fred!

I was pretty sure you'd find the motor. Not sure where you're going to find a wiring diagram. They are around, but where? Ken could probably tell you. I saw a motor on that auction site (in "Completed Sales"). I believe that the wires in your picture, red and maybe black, near the bottom behind the light socket, but not connected to it, are the ones you want. I would trace from the motor and see where the wires go. If one is red, in old-fashioned stuff like this, red was almost always the positive and black the negative. You can use a battery holder to put two D-cells in series and get 3 volts. If you don't have one, you can use a bunch of tape to fasten two batteries together and add some wires, also with tape.

If you can get it to wind, you are a long way there. Ken would recommend a complete disassembly, cleaning, etc. His clocks work like the day they left the factory!

Good luck!

Best regards!

Tim
 

Fredinaz

Registered User
May 24, 2020
21
2
3
Country
Thanks Tim. I received a reply from Ken with a wiring diagram. He said those motors draw 2 amps when they kick in. Not sure a couple of D cells will do the trick. We'll see.

Fred
 

mxfrank

Registered User
Oct 27, 2011
187
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If it's like the motor in the auction, you should be able to carefully turn the gear by hand to wind the clock. The motor may also be removable without disassembling the plates. Once it's out, you can disassemble it, clean the brushes, clean the commutator, and maybe oil the bearings to get it going. Concentration should be on the winding mechanism, I would bet anything that the clockworks are fine.

You can find the maintenance manual for the F movement here. Other than the motor, yours will be like any other F movement. Instructions for removing the movement are on page D1:

FTL Design Electric Clocks - Self-Winding Clock Company
 

Tim Orr

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Sep 27, 2008
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Good afternoon, Fred!

You will be "shocked" to find out what a couple of D-cells can deliver!

Best regards!

Tim
 

Scot Traffis

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Apr 8, 2011
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You'll be surprised how fast they wind the clock. The batteries will last for about a year.
 

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