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Other Vintage Household Electrical or Electromechanical Items For discussions about other vintage (over 25 years old) electrical and electromechanical household items. See the sticky thread for details.

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Old 10th Jan 2020, 2:34 am   #1
beery
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Default A tale of two clocks

Hi all,
When my Gran died some years ago, I was able to choose a few small items as keepsakes.
I had always liked Gran's electric clocks. However, just a few years before she died, the house was rewired and the mantelpiece clock sockets were disconnected.
One of the clocks got thrown away and replaced with an even older Smiths 8 day clock. The other clock was converted to quartz. Somebody made a really nasty job of this which left the dial face with screwdriver scratches near the central boss.

Anyway... I obtained a similar Smiths sectric clock that enabled me to restore Grans clock to original working order. It had been working away happily for the past year when it suddenly failed last week.

I stripped the clock down and cleaned all the nylon gears. However, the real problem seems to be very severe bearing wear in the motor, so I don't think I can fix it. Now, I have read that this late nylon based movement (from 1963 onwards) is virtually unrepairable. Indeed if you look on ebay for Smiths Sectric clocks you will find plenty of older more reliable types, but very few of these later ones, which tells you something. Annoyingly this later movement is unlike other Smiths movements in that the second hand is nearest the clock face instead of being nearest to the front of the clock. So I think I have to give up on Gran's original clock

However I still needed a clock in the lounge. The following instalment will explain further...

Cheers
Andy
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Old 10th Jan 2020, 2:48 am   #2
beery
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Default Re: A tale of two clocks

Hi all,
here is part 2...

Remember that one of my Gran's electric clocks had been thown away. Well I managed to find an identical one. It has flakey varnish and is a bit bashed up, but it has an earlier more reliable mechanism which has not had much use. I might try to find a nicer example one day, but as a clock was needed in a hurry I simply lightly lubricated the motor, fitted a new flex and presssed it into service.

Actually with the clock on the mantelpeice you can't really see how nasty the woodwork is when you are sitting on the sofa.

One thing I noticed about both clocks is that the plastic covers of the workings seem to be made of styrene and they seem to react with the plasticiser of the electrical flex.

Err, that's it really.

Cheers
Andy
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Old 10th Jan 2020, 8:58 am   #3
Nickthedentist
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Default Re: A tale of two clocks

Nice work Andy.

As you say, the Smith Sectric clocks from the 1960s have movements which are nowhere near as robust and servicable as the older ones. If I see one from the early 1930s, I know I'll be able to get it going easily enough. If I see one like yours, it's a different matter.

The equivalent non-electric models from the 1960s often had a balance wheel on a vertical axis known as a "floating balance". So long as these haven't suffered a ham-fisted attempt at repair, these are also easy enough to get going.

Nick.
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Old 10th Jan 2020, 9:54 am   #4
Andrew2
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Default Re: A tale of two clocks

Clocks like that always bring back memories of Sunday afternoon visits to Aunts & Uncles. There was without fail at least one of them to be seen on the mantelpiece or on top of the telly.
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Old 10th Jan 2020, 11:50 pm   #5
Robsradio
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Default Re: A tale of two clocks

Quote:
Originally Posted by beery View Post
Hi all,
here is part 2...

Remember that one of my Gran's electric clocks had been thown away. Well I managed to find an identical one. It has flakey varnish and is a bit bashed up, but it has an earlier more reliable mechanism which has not had much use. I might try to find a nicer example one day, but as a clock was needed in a hurry I simply lightly lubricated the motor, fitted a new flex and presssed it into service.

Actually with the clock on the mantelpeice you can't really see how nasty the woodwork is when you are sitting on the sofa.

One thing I noticed about both clocks is that the plastic covers of the workings seem to be made of styrene and they seem to react with the plasticiser of the electrical flex.

Err, that's it really.

Cheers
Andy
Great to see Smiths Sectrics in use 'in the wild' it makes me feel more comfortable running these old timepieces
I have seen a lot of clocks from these times suffering from the plasticiser burns, many people think the wire has overheated!
Keep them going and keep a look out for the later movement, unused clocks do still turn up occasionally.

Rob
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Old 11th Jan 2020, 12:17 am   #6
PJL
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Default Re: A tale of two clocks

Servicing the early Smiths clocks is very satisfying as it doesn't take long to strip and lubricate and they are very reliable though sometimes a little troublesome to start. The only fatality I have had was lost teeth on the paxolin 1st wheel.
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