United Clock Company "Fireplace" Clock

ANDY YALE

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While cleaning out a storage shed, I found an ornate electric clock made by the United Clock Co. of Brooklyn NY. It looks to date to the mid 50s, is housed in a heavy metal casting with a fireplace to the right of the clock face. There is a revolving drum with colored foil that reflects the light of a small bulb onto a translucent plastic face covering the fireplace, giving the illusion of flickering flames. I don't know where this thing came from, I don't remember buying it.
The clock motor runs, the light lights up, but the motor drives neither the clock train or the revolving drum. That is: working motor, no action. There is a lever that throws the clutch to the fireplace drum, this appears to be working as designed.
Electric clocks don't enter my world view, but I would like to fix this artifact. I havent delved into it much yet, but am looking for advice and pointers from Those Who Know.
 

shutterbug

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Those clocks were not well made, and used a type of plastic gears to run things. Those gears are the weakest part of the movement, and are usually the reason for the failure. That may not be true for parts inside the actual movement though. I'll move this over to the electric clock forum. It will appear in both forums for 30 days, so you should get a more varied response to your inquiry.
 

mlschlot

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I'm currently working on one of these. Everything is working fine (bulb, clock, animation motion works) except for the flickering flames. The motion shaft rotates as it should when engaged from the rear mounted lever, but I'm missing the rotating disk that simulates the flickering flames. Can anyone explain what the disk looks like? It can't be too difficult to make one. I attached a photo of the clock. Mine is identical to this photo except I have the frosted (translucent) plastic mounted in front of the fireplace and bulb. The example in this photo has clear plastic installed and I believe a clear light bulb; my bulb is an orange Christmas tree bulb of the type used years and years ago, which I think is correct.

Regards -- Mike

UnitedFireplace 2.JPG
 

ANDY YALE

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mike - i will send you a photo in the next couple of days. were you able to get the mechanism out of the case? I can't figure out how to do it, it's missing a bit of clearnace. my motor runs, but no time telling so i need to get to the train to fix it. more details when i send you the photo.
 

mlschlot

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View attachment 601712 [/QUOTE]
were you able to get the mechanism out of the case?
Hi Andy. I had trouble too, but I was able to get everything out through the clock movement opening. The trick for me was to loosen the nut holding the small right-angle bracket to the mechanism. See my second photo at 2 o'clock from the center of the cylinder. Unbolt the bracket from the case, then loosen the nut holding the bracket to the mechanism and flip it up or down out of the way. It's still a tight fit, but I could get mine out.

Mike
 
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ANDY YALE

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Jun 14, 2013
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Mike - here are 4 photos of the "color wheel" to guide you in creating one. The first photo shows a seam in the foil that covers the wheel. Each photo that follows is a 90 degree rotation of the wheel TOWARDS you. that should give you the whole layout, if you want to re-create the color scheme.
The covering of the wheel is a heavy duty aluminum (?) foil, it seems to be either painted or colored with magic markers.
I got mine apart, I had only taken off part of the bracket, with the whole thing off it came right ut the clock opening.
Thanks, and good luck with your project.

DSC08491 - Edited.jpg DSC08492 - Edited.jpg DSC08493 - Edited.jpg DSC08494 - Edited.jpg
 

mlschlot

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Hi Andy.

Thanks for posting the photos showing the color patterns on the cylinder. I figured I'll try crumpling some tin foil, and color it with magic markers like you suggested. I'll wager if I model my color patterns after your photos, I'll have a reasonably nice simulated fireplace running. Thanks again for the info.

Regards -- Mike
 

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