Which clocks will you NOT repair

JTD

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Sep 27, 2005
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I see.

Geeze I feel stupid. Of course I saw Seth Thomas and understand that is North American, but never saw it referred to as N-A . Thanks.
Don't feel bad, If it's any comfort to you, I've never seen N-A used like this either!

JTD
 
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rstl99

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Indeed, I own a 1900-1920 "banker's clock" from Seth Thomas, and the quality of the movement is night and day BETTER than that POS 7-42 I was writing about, which I now understand was made by another company using the ST name (and putting profit ahead of quality).
 
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Schatznut

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In my case, "N-A" stands for "Nucklehead Amateur." Yeah, and I spell good too.
 
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J. A. Olson

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My primary work revolves around tuning gong rod sets for factory production clocks spanning anywhere between the early 1900's to late 1980's. It is a small and often overlooked trade but very important. I haven't run into any rod gong unit I refuse to work on, there is always some way to work around the pitfalls and challenges of every design. It may be subjective but in my experience, the four companies that really pushed the furthest into gong engineering were Herschede, VFU/Gustav Becker, Elliott, and Junghans.

Walter H. Durfee of hall clock fame was a real expert in early American horology.
Some of his contributions may be found in this scanned book:

 
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wow

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Any clock from anyone with a history of calling every few weeks to check on the status.
Vernon
How about every few days? Or calling and saying “I thought you may have tried to call me and missed me” or “ I’m not in a hurry, just coming your way and wanted to check” or “ my phone has been acting up and I thought I may have missed your call”.
 

R. Croswell

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How about every few days? Or calling and saying “I thought you may have tried to call me and missed me” or “ I’m not in a hurry, just coming your way and wanted to check” or “ my phone has been acting up and I thought I may have missed your call”.
That's why I have caller ID and voice mail (and a delete key).
 
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demoman3955

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I definitely agree ... that movement is difficult to repair.

But the clock in question is not representative of the original (pre 1931) Seth Thomas Company products. That one was produced by the General Time Co. who purchased the right to use the S-T brand from about 1931 till about 1968.

The S-T #124, that I mentioned earlier, falls into approximately the same category. :(

My 2, Willie X
I remember looking at a ST clock and was puzzled because the dial along with the ST logo was made in germany. kinna messed up my love of ST, well that was until i picked up a #2, and that has to be one if the nicest running clocks i have. no, i have quite a few that run really well, and all different makes, but that one grew on me really fast.
 
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Keith Doster

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I guess I'm just a sucker for a sob story. When someone says, "This was my grandmother's clock and I haven't seen it run in XX years" I just feel sorry for them and want to help them out. As many of you have also experienced, I've had customers cry when they saw their beloved (but actually nearly worthless) clock running and back to life. That is exceedingly satisfying. And I should mention that this is a hobby for me and I don't depend upon it for steady income.

Having said all that, the absolutely worst case I was ever able to repair was a Clockpost Willie battery-powered novelty clock from the 70s or 80s. It's a ceramic (?) model of a guy who looks a LOT like Emmett Kelly hanging on the side of a street clock and he's definitely had too much to drink. At the hour, the quartz movement activates a continuous loop magnetic tape that plays someone whistling "It's 3 O'Clock in the Morning" Willie's head moves back and forth as he whistles. I bought a different model from the same manufacturer for parts online, but it had many of the same problems. Grrrr! However, after MUCH fiddling around I was able to make it work. I'm certain I lost money on this one. Never again. Probably. And the customer was quite happy. So I guess it's all good.
 

Bernhard J.

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Any clock from anyone with a history of calling every few weeks to check on the status.
Vernon
What about avoiding this by giving the customer a job number, advising about when approximately the job can be done and asking not to send the clock or parts of the clock prior to a notice that the job is now scheduled for next week? Has another advantage. Not so much stuff being stored away in your premises.

At least one fellow here does it this way and I find it a great approach. And have no problem waiting a few months for the instructions to send it. Knowing that the job will then be done perfectly and the watch/parts returned in less than a "few weeks" (months?).
 

R. Croswell

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As for specific clocks on my will not service list, I'm considering adding the Welch, Spring & Company "Patti" movement clocks. These have the club-foot escapement (the impulse and locking faces are on the escape wheel teeth instead of the verge), four, mainsprings (two in each can wound in opposite directions with the ends clipped together), very fine pivots that are soft and will bend if you look at them, and an inherently problematic count wheel strike system. Other than the funky escapement and four mainsprings, these are typical time & strike movements. The problem is the club-foot escape wheels tend to wear and replacements are next to impossible find. Machining a new club-foot escape wheel is something that very few people can do - certainly not me. That's complicated by several changes in the shape of the club-foot tooth over the production years. Replacement springs are not available off the rack and have to be custom made. I always end up spending more time than anticipated and losing money, plus I can't promise the customer when he/she comes in that I will even be able to repair the clock without it costing a fortune to have special parts made.

RC
 

Jim DuBois

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As for specific clocks on my will not service list, I'm considering adding the Welch, Spring & Company "Patti" movement clocks. These have the club-foot escapement (the impulse and locking faces are on the escape wheel teeth instead of the verge), four, mainsprings (two in each can wound in opposite directions with the ends clipped together), very fine pivots that are soft and will bend if you look at them, and an inherently problematic count wheel strike system. Other than the funky escapement and four mainsprings, these are typical time & strike movements. The problem is the club-foot escape wheels tend to wear and replacements are next to impossible find. Machining a new club-foot escape wheel is something that very few people can do - certainly not me. That's complicated by several changes in the shape of the club-foot tooth over the production years. Replacement springs are not available off the rack and have to be custom made. I always end up spending more time than anticipated and losing money, plus I can't promise the customer when he/she comes in that I will even be able to repair the clock without it costing a fortune to have special parts made.

RC
Certainly a good candidate for avoidance. I have only had a couple of them, had to make a new escape wheel for one of them. Unpleasant work out for sure. I have seen maybe 25 or more empty Patti cases over the years. Must mean something.
 
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