Westminster Maryland Seth Thomas Clock

Discussion in 'Tower, Monumental & Street Clocks' started by Dave B, Jan 9, 2009.

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  1. Dave B

    Dave B Banned

    Jun 7, 2008
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    Civil Engineer; woodwind musician; clock repairman
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    On November 17, several of us from Chapter 11 inspected the tower clock in the old Fire house, on Main Street in Westminster, Maryland. It is a Seth Thomas, fiorst installed in 1896.

    The weights were remmoved, aqnd the escapement disabled when the clock was "electrified" in the early to mid-1920's. At that juncture, or sometime only slightly later, the strike was also motorized. The striking is now powered by a 120VAC 1/2 horsepower motor. Switching of the motor is by a Simplex Mercury switch actuated by rods in the strike side of the movement. The mercury switch is mounted to an aluminum strap, bolted to the clock frame. The strike motor is bolted to a plate mounted on the lower cross members of the frame.

    I have decided to take on the task of cleaning it, replacing the mercury switch that controls the strike motor with some micro switches and a relay, relocating the strike motor to the floor of the clock room, and balancing the hands. (Right now, the counterweights are run in pretty close to the arbors, so it is unlikely they are balanced).

    The Mayor and Council have asked me to see if I can locate a 1/20 horsepower motor they can purchase as a standby, in case the motor that is currently powering the clock gives out. Does anyone happen to have one of these they are willing to part with, or know of a source for a new one?
     
  2. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    David, I have some that were used in time recorders by IBM and Simplex. I will post a picture later to see if it matches what you need.
     
  3. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    David, what RPM is the motor you are looking for? Mine is 1000 rpm 1/25 HP.
     
  4. gvasale

    gvasale Registered User
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    #4 gvasale, Jan 9, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2009
    of the striking clocks I've seen that have been electrifed, a 43 rpm 1/8 hp is a common motor. Now this is usually a bodine nsh 54rl, seldom found on ebay. I'm not saying that a smaller motor wouldn't work, just that it may be a 1725 rpm with a speed reducer integrated unit, and will turn fairly slowly. Unless there is some paranoia about having a mercury switch, usually very well protected, I'd hesitate to replace them. They last virtually forever, and are trouble free. If you get exact specs on the motor/s you want to replace, or keep as spares, there may be some hope. But expensive. Usually, the timekeeping motors are 2 rpm, very scarce too. The little Hayden or Cramer motors really aren't up to the task for durability, and I'm not sure they're rebuildable. Is this perhaps a #16 clock? Does it look like this?
     

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  5. Dave B

    Dave B Banned

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    It is a Seth Thomas #16. The motor in it is a 1/120 HP 1800RPM 120VAC capacitor start Bodine. It has a 180:1 right angle gear reduction unit mounted on the shaft, but I can't remember if it is part of the armature shaft, or connected by a coupling. I will be going back up into the clock room sometime around March or A[ril (after the weather is a little better and will check it then. If it is coupling connnected, any 1800 RPM motor that can stand running all the time, at temperatures from -10F to about 180F will do as a standby.
     
  6. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Hi, Dave. The closest I have is a capacitor start 1/100 hp 2800 rpm motor, made in England. The part that connects to your motor is likely held on with an allen screw, or something similar.
     
  7. gvasale

    gvasale Registered User
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    #7 gvasale, Jan 21, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
    Bodine motor

    Harold: I'm having trouble replying to the tower clock post with the Seth Thomas 16 needing a spare motor. Quote me, adjust the post, however necessary. I'm repeatedly getting the page not found error again.


    With a 180:1 spec. the motor has to have a 10 rpm output. There is most likely more stuff, another pinion gear on the output shaft of the motor, and another gear on the shaft where once the escape wheel was installed. These motors have a worm on the motor shaft, and additional speed reducing components in the attached gearbox. Contact me by PM.
     
  8. Dave B

    Dave B Banned

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    gvasale - You have PM

    Here are a bunch of photos.
    You can see how the mercury switches are mounted in a box that is kind of "floating" on the end of the alumnum strap. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo that clearly shows how the strike motor is bolted to the frame cross member.
     

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  9. rlspinden

    rlspinden Registered User
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    Dave,
    We (Chapter 153) just restored a similar clock in Weiser, ID. I built a low voltage switching, relay, array with a small dc power supply and installed limit switches. This took the 120 volt switching completely away from the clock framwork and made it quite a bit safer. If you send me your email I'll invite you on to the Yahoo group that was created for those doing the restoration. There are some good photos and comentary available.
    rlspinden@msn.com
    "Redeeming The Time"
     

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