Door Chime Clocks
most deluxe chimes included a clock. A few extremely rare models have a time
chime function in addition to the doorbell function, but for the vast
majority the clock was just an add-on feature to make the housing more than
a simple cover.
are powered by the same stepped-down voltage provided by the system
transformer for the door bell function, usually using a variation of the GE
Telechron clock motor. These consist of essentially two components: the
field coil and the rotor. They were designed so that that the rotor could
be replaced when it wears out, which is what happens in normal use. The
other problem that these occasionally have, caused by mishandling is that
the delicate leads of the field coil windings get ripped out, which is not
so easily repaired. By my experience it is unusual to find 50 year old
Telechron that is in working order.
Iím no expert
on clocks, but what Iíve read is that Telechron closed shop many years ago,
but just before closing, made tons of replacement rotors to keep Telechron
clocks running for a very long time. The effect of this is that there is a
significant, but definitely finite number of replacement rotors out there to
be had. The result is that what was once a couple dollar item can now cost
$50- $200óif you can find one. There are a few specialists who rebuild
these, so the long term prognosis is good, though certainly pricey. Equally hard to find may be a clock repair
shop that wants to help. I heard of one person trying to get her 24v
Telechron repaired and was told by one repair shop that it was hopeless
because the rotor was discontinued. Well, duh! I have been told
that rotors are largely interchangeable, specifically that any part number
across a letter series is interchangeable within that letter series.
For instance if you have a clock with a H3 M3151 rotor, it can be replaced
with any other H3 M-series rotor. I have replaced a few rotors with new
rotors of non-matching numbers with excellent result, so the
interchangeability is true as far as I can tell.
the debate about repair vs. replacement. Personally, I prefer the
repair route, keeping everything original. Telechron movements are a
significant part of time keeping history and an engineering and even
cultural milestoneóand that is the argument for repair. It comes at a price
though, in terms of dollars, in terms of the difficulty of finding parts.
On the other
hand, I am not exactly religious about the restoration route. Telechron
movements are in no way a fine bit of handcrafted clockmakerís art. In
this particular case, a clock is largely an adornment to a door chime. If
the primary concern for you is the utility of having an accurate and
dependable clock, a battery operated quartz movement conversion may be the
better choice. They are accurate, very low cost, readily replaceable, and
donít stop during a power outage. Yes, they are ďcheapĒ...just like a
Telechron movement was a "cheap" clock in 1935.
to the popular Telechron movements, Rittenhouse used time clock motors and
sequencer motors by Haydon Manufacturing
in early chimes.
limited number of data points, I believe these were used in the pre-war era;
Rittenhouse later switched to Telechron motors. Finding replacement
parts for Telechron can be a challenge, but easy compared to finding Haydon
parts. Some chime makers including Edwards used
Here are a few
considerations if doing a quartz conversion. Fitting the old hands is a
simple if tedious task that just requires patience and a set of jewelerís
files. Iíve been using continuous motion movements so the hands have the
smooth motion of the vintage movements. When converting to new quartz
movement there may be a tradeoff to deal with: the new clocks typical have
longer shafts, and the stack of hour, minute and second hands might not fit
under the original glass (if the clock has glass). Eliminating the second
hand, not using the glass, or using a higher domed glass might be the
Oh yeah, if
youíre thinking of writing to say that Iím a bad person for advocating
quartz conversion, save itómy reputation is already well established.
However if you have any constructive insight about restoring Telechron
movements, advice is always welcome.
Telechron motor assembly. The aluminum spec plate tells power rating.
field coil. The metal frame splits and pivots at the center line to
allow replacement of the rotor.
rotor. A gear on the back side drives the gear clockworks. The
rotor part number is stamped on the top of the housing.
All that I have seen in chimes are type H3 M-series.
Telechron gear clockworks attached to a mounting plate. For good operation,
this needs to be free of accumulated dust and gummy oil. Decades of
accumulated gunk can easily lock up this machine. Nothing
electrical here, so aggressive cleaning is possible.
typical problem with these-- contact terminals torn out of the coil
wrapping. The way that NuTones plug the clock power cord into
the power socket on the mechanism, it is likely to cause strain on the coil
contacts, hence this damage. The solution is to delicately glue it
back together or wrap the coil in electrical tape.
problem with NuTone clocks is that the power cord gets brittle and breaks or
insulation deteriorates causing a short and an unsafe condition..
Here's a rebuilt cord where
base connector is grafted onto new wire. The original design provided
no strain relief, resulting in the torn coil syndrome shown above.
When rebuilding the cable I like to make it much longer and tie it to the
coil frame in order to provide much needed stain relief.
people think that door chimes with clocks also chime on the hour. In truth,
almost none of them do. I know of a grand total of two. One is by Edwards, circa early 1940's. Here's the clock motor from
that chime. As you can see, it is quite a bit more complex than a regular
Telechron. Labels on the two controls at rear read " Hand Set" and
H The other
time chimer is a very rare version of the
common Jefferson model, which uses this Telechron clock motor with some
peripheral gizmography. This particular example is from a Nutone
Madison CH4000 model time chiming clock, but the door chime used the same
parts from the NuTone parts bin
"door chimes" above to see other related topics.
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.
door bell vintage doorbell vintage doorbells
vintage door bells antique door bell antique door bells
antique doorbell antique doorbells Rittenhouse