Seth Thomas No 44 strange repair job

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  • #49931
    rgmt79
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    • Topics Started: 11
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    I have just acquired a Seth Thomas movement, which I understand from an article by Steven G Conover in the Clockmakers Newsletter Workshop Series Book 6 entitled Seth Thomas, is a version of the No 44 movement. The number 3 5/8 is stamped on the movement, exactly as described in the article. The article is primarily about an intriguing “turn back feature” and was one of the main ST movements from the 1890’s. The movement appears to be working, but the purpose of this post is to seek comments about, what appears to me (being a complete novice) as a rather strange repair job. Instead of bushing the worn pivot holes, a small brass lug containing a new pivot hole has been attached over the old pivot hole my means of a self tapped screw into the main plate. Having done this on the outside of both plates, it effectively increases the distance between the pivots by twice the thickness of the main plate (3-4mm), but somehow seems to support the original arbour, yet the axial play does not seem to support this…maybe new arbours were made? Even the bearing for the centre arbour has been renewed with a cranked brass lug crudely brazed to the main plate instead of using a self tapping screw (probably because there is hole where the screw would have to go). The escape wheel bearing has been treated in a similar way.

    Can anyone explain why a repair has been done in such a way?

    I hope the photo’s attached support what I am trying to describe. I suggest opening each image in a new tab to view the whole image at once.

    Thanks, Richard




    #64415
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
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    Hey Richard, YES, it is a strange repair….I see those all the time, some screwed onto the plates and some with gobs of solder dripping all over the movement….. I guess they are called, Rathburn Band aid Clock Repair Bushings. In my opinion it is a lazy repair. Using these are possibly because someone is afraid to disassemble the movement and do a proper job. As for the end shake the arbor would have stayed the same, the pivot pushed up into its original starting point or center before the wear happened and this band aid put over the top of the pivot and screwed to the clock plate to keep the pivot there. These type of clocks movement most times would have enough pivot length to do this. Axial play and or end shake would stay the same because of the shoulder of the arbor. Take that band aid off and I bet you see a badly worn pivot hole. They are what the name says…a band aid.

    Several things when using this lazy repair…..pivot area does not get cleaned, pivot does not get looked at and addressed for wear, clock plates are compromised, denying yourself the ability, knowledge and satisfaction of how to take a clock apart, ect……

    I remember a clock I received a few years ago had 6 or 7 of these screwed all over the clock plates. When I disassembled the movement I found several pivots near the point of breaking because they were worn so bad, most likely never looked at and potentially disastrous.

    Now, thats not to say this isnt a creative idea, someone was thinking (rathburn himself?), a quick easy repair to get a clock running again, very inventive…… if someone was out in the middle of nowhere and wanted to keep his own clock running with a hammer and a screwdriver,….then have at it….

    For someone who claims to repair clocks….. poor, lazy and destructive, I do not recommend learning the band aid repair technique, but thats just me….have a great day, William

    #64416
    bernie weishapl
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 58
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    Echoing what William said it is a lazy and unethical repair. It simply means he took the movement and probably did what I call or should say most clock repairman call a dunk and swish job. I can probably tell you without a doubt that movement has not been taken apart, cleaned, pivots polished, bushing install, and reassembled, oiled and timed. The mainsprings I am guessing are just full of crude as you cannot clean them with anything unless the movement is fully disassembled and the mainsprings let down and fully open. Another thing that irritates me is when putting these in with screws it just defaces the clock movement. Also what is even worse in my books are the ones that are soldered on. It is a mess to clean and I do clean ALL of the solder off the plate. Takes some time to do it without damaging the plates. I have taken hundreds of these off over the 33 yrs and I would say at least 60% of those pivots need to be cut off and a new pivot installed which a lathe is needed. At the very minimum the pivots need to be burnish and polished. Once that is done then a proper bushing needs to be installed.

    I am in Williams camp. Anyone wanting to do clock repair needs to learn to do it properly. There are no short cuts and no room for laziness. My old mentor told me the first day I sat down with him as his apprentice. He said, “if you can’t do the job right, do it properly, then you had better get the hell out now.” 😆 But I have lived by that for all these years.

    #64417
    rgmt79
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 11
    • Total Posts: 56

    Thanks guys, very interesting, it did not occur to me that this botch job was done to avoid dismantling the unit, which explains all. I acquired this movement to learn more about different types of movement and was intrigued by the turn back feature and the regulator adjust mechanism, which does seem a little too over-kill just to allow adjustment from the face of the clock instead of winding the pendulum bob up or down. I will let you know what I find when I strip the movement down.

    Thanks,

    Richard

    #64418
    bernie weishapl
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 58
    • Total Posts: 1218

    That was a pretty common way to adjust time on clocks. There are a lot of them out there including Gilberts, Waterburys, Ansonias, Ingrahams, etc that use this so you will come across it more than you think.

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