Renovating Vintage Long Bell Door Chimes    

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Ok, so maybe this topic isn’t entirely mid-century and not necessarily modern, but I have developed an interest in long-bell door chimes.  It all started with a 1959 vintage NuTone Supreme that was original equipment here at EurekaModern World Headquarters.  It didn’t really fit with the décor scheme for our renovation plan, so I did some repair to it and sold it on eBay.  Pleased with the way that went, I kept a lookout for more that I might restore and sell.  After renovating a number of these I have developed a fair knowledge of how they work, what goes wrong with them, and how to repair them.   If you have come to this page looking for repair advice, read on!

Most of what I know about vintage chimes is covered on these pages.  If my experience is helpful to you for your renovation project, glad I could help. Or, if it all sounds like more than you care to take on, maybe you need my help. See the service topic.

If you are visiting for the first time, I advise you to read through all the subjects. 

Just for the record… this is a hobby for me.   I am glad to share info, and happy to answer questions.  All I ask in return is that you share any knowledge you have that will add to the collective know-how...that,  and any tips on chimes that are available greatly appreciated.

I am a recovering collector. I love to buy things, but for me it’s all about catch and release now.  I have many chimes currently in process and all are for sale.  In a way,  I have the largest collection of  doorbells in the world...  I keep it on the walls of homes across America. 

If you seek  a magnificently restored chime in perfect working order for your wall, check out my vintage chimes for sale  page. If you are looking for the very best in stylish new chimes, see the new chimes for sale  page.


The Basics

This site is mostly about 4-note long bell chimes, though much of the info here can be applied to 2-note long bells and various compact chimes.

 To describe the basic workings of a four-note chime, there are three essential components:

1-   an electrical distributor that sequences power to…  

2 -   a set of solenoids that strike…

3 -  a set of tubular bells

 The distributor is very much like a distributor in a car: a commutator passes over a set of contacts, sequentially sending power to the solenoids.  

A solenoid is an electromagnetic device with a field coil surrounding a cylinder and plunger. When the field coil is charged the plunger is forced forward, striking the bell, making one of the bells sound.

The bells are straight forward—pretty much like your garden variety wind chimes.

Many Chimes with four bells typically provide a few ringing options.  Some of the earliest models play just the first four notes of the classic Westminster Chimes sequence.  Many later models play the 8-note Westminster Chimes sequence, and some of these have an option to play an abbreviated 4-note sequence. A few extra fancy models allow selection of various chime sequences.  Typically one or two other stations can be set to ring single notes, sometimes labeled as “back” and “side” doors.   

 So what could possibly go wrong?


Click on each topic for information on that subject. 


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I am a lot more skilled at fixing old door chimes than I am dealing with search engine optimization, so here a a few terms and phrases that might help surfers find me.  

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