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Frequently Asked Questions

We've attempted to answer some questions we get asked often and put them in one place. This first section will deal with issues about having your clock repaired - for both chiming and non-chiming clocks. The second section will be added to as we go and will deal with specific questions about the different models or about the Telechron movements. Some clocks are unique in function and we will try and address some of the more common questions.

*   REPAIRS- NON-CHIMING    REPAIRS-CHIMING CLOCKS    GENERAL CLOCK QUESTIONS    *
 
Non-Chiming Clocks
  • Can you repair my Ingraham, Seth Thomas or other Electric clock?
    No - not really. We specialize in Telechron motored clocks which includes Telechron and General Electric (GE) only. First, this is where we have are expertise and second, we have spare parts both new and used available to us and in our stockpiles. If we are working on your Telechron clock and you need a simple cleaning, oil, or some simple case work on a non Telechron clock, we may be able to help you. We only do this on a limited basis.

  • Do I always have to get the Basic Tune-up Service?
    Yes - in most cases. This fee pays for the labor for most other service work that might be done. It includes an Ultrasonic cleaning of your movement and a proper oiling plus a general cleaning and adjustments. It is our Basic bench charge to work on your clock.
     
     
  • If my clock is not running, will the Basic Tune-up Service fix it?
    Probably not - It most cases when the clock is not running at all the problem is usually with the coil or rotor. Of course, a broken or loose wire, filthy, sticky gears, and other things may be the problem, and a cleaning and oil or fixing a bad connection could fix the problem.
     

  • If my clock is running but is slow and/or making a slight noise will cleaning fix it?
    Again, probably not -The likely problem is in the rotor. Either the oil inside hase dried up and the gears are wearing, or the oil has gotten thick and sludgy and the gears are moving slowly.
     
     

  • Can't you put some new oil in my rotor or replace it with a new one?
    No - The older clocks used the 'B' rotor and the newer and majority of the non-chiming and alarm clocks, use the 'H' rotor. Neither of these rotors has been manufactured in many years and no after-market replacements are available. We do not recommend any of the "quick-fix" remedies you and I have heard of, like drilling a hole and adding oil. For either rotor we have the rotor rebuilt completely from top to bottom to the original Telechron specifications by our skilled machinist. You receive a rotor as good as an original with a full one year warranty.

  • How will I know how much my repair or service costs will be - can you give me a price before I send it in?
    Yes & No - We can usually give you an approximate cost based on your information but we really need to see the clock. Once we have the clock in our hands and have looked it over, we will contact you with an estimate explaining what is wrong and what we suggest to correct it and bring it back to top-notch condition. In 99% of the time, this will be the final cost, though there is always the chance that an additional problem might be discovered once we take the clock completely apart.

  • Will it take long to get my clock back once I send it in for service?
    No - Our non chiming service, done in Florida, is usually available for repair work on a regular basis. Depending on what work is being done, you can typically expect a 10 day to two week turnaround time once we are given the go ahead. Of course any major work would take longer.
     

  • Can you fix, reglue, and/or refinish my wood case?
    Yes - In most cases we can fix your wood case and refinish it. Simple fixes are not a problem and we can obtain and make parts for certain other problems. When we refinish a wood case, we like to strip it completely down to the original wood, add stain if needed, and then apply multiple -as many as 10- coats of hand rubbed tung oil finish.
     

  • How about my metal, Bakelite, or plastic case?
    Yes - Metal cases can be striped and repainted using primer, main coat, and clear coat if needed. We can usually match the original colors closely. Splits, dings, and large dents can not always be repaired. Plastic cases -and most are plastic or a variety of plastic and not Bakelite- can be cleaned and polished. Discoloration due to aging can not always be removed. Cracks and broken pieces can be glued or epoxied, but seams are usually still seen.

  • Do you have other parts like glass, dials, bezels, etc?
    Yes & No - We maintain a supply of new and used glass lenses both in round convex sizes and some square and rectangular convex sizes. We can usually find a replacement for your clock. We do have some spare dials and bezels but for the most part they are not available new. For that special clock, we do have resources that might be able to make you a reproduction dial.
     

  • Can you fix electrical problems and replace power cords?
    Yes - Most electrical problems have to do with the coil or the connections to the power cord. New coils are no longer available, but we do have a supply of the most common coils. A few clocks do have lighted dials or other electrical components and we can repair any problems associated with these clocks. We can provide new power cords and plugs both in the standard 18 gauge wire (brown white or black) and in reproduction cloth covered cord (brown, white, black or gold) with new button style plugs.

  • Can you supply me with the parts I need to fix my clock myself since I know what's wrong with it?
    No - Though we love these old clocks and would like to help you out, there are a limited number of resources still available for them. The parts we have are reserved for our customers who send their clocks in for service or repair. We my be able to provide contact information for possible sources of parts or provide a certain part if we have plenty on hand, but in many cases you may have to buy a "donor" clock online to obtain the parts you need. Many of these clocks used the same parts and we are willing to help you in your search for parts.

  • Would you be interested in buying my clock - either in running or non running condition?
    Maybe - We are always looking for clocks for "donors" or to recondition and sell, but we can only offer a minimum price on most clocks. Please contact us about your clock and we will let you know.
     
     

  • Who pays for the shipping charges?
    You do - Our repair prices are for the work we do only and do not include any shipping costs. We will invoice you for the return shipping when the work is completed. We only charge for shipping at actual weight and there are no handling charges. If a repair needs to be returned you will be responsible for the cost unless it is due to damage in shipping (a claim will be started for you).
 
Chiming Clocks
  • Do you work on non Telechron motored clocks?
    No - We specialize in Telechron motored clocks - Revere, General Electric (GE), and some Herschede models only. This is where our expertise lies and a very specialized area. We have worked on hundreds of these movements and have been able to get most of them back in excellent condition. We know what makes them work and what the usual problems are. Plus we have accumulated an inventory of spare parts that we can use in our service work.

  • What type of repair work do you do?
    We can do just about any repairs needed up to a full restoration on most of these clocks. There are four basic areas that we address 1) the movement itself; 2) the rotor and coil that drives the movement; 3) the case that holds the movement; and 4) the accessory components like chime rods, hammer tips, glass, dials, bezels, etc.

  • I was told that rotors and other parts are no longer available for these clocks - is this true?
    Yes - The 'B' rotor used in most of these clocks hasn't been made in many years. An aftermarket version was hinted at but never materialized. Revere and GE stopped making other parts for movements. cases, etc. many years ago also. Used rotors and parts are getting harder to find and most would be made anywhere from 40-80 years ago anyway.

  • How can you repair my clock then when others can't?
    Rebuilding & Experience - We have the rotor rebuilt completely from top to bottom to the original Telechron specifications by our skilled machinist. You receive a rotor as good as an original with a full one year warranty. We can obtain some new parts like glass, and we have a great collection of spare parts from other clocks that we can use for your repair. Remember that these clocks used basically one of two Telechron clock movements in every clock and since that is what we specialize in, we know these movements and have access to many components. Our skilled artisan and repairman has many years of experience working with almost every model and knows what is needed to restore it.

  • Can I just take my movement out of the case and send it to you for a quick clean and oil?
    No - Unfortunately we can not work on movements only due to possible problems that may occur when replacing the movement. We need the entire clock here so that we are confident that all is working correctly when it leaves our shop. And we don't really do " a quick clean and oil".
     

  • So if I send in the clock, you can do a Basic Cleaning and Oiling and I'll be all set?
    Maybe - Our Basic Cleaning and Oiling imcludes removing the movement from the case, ultrasonic cleaning, proper oiling with the correct oil, replacing some parts, adjustments, bench testing, putting the movement back in the case and adjusting the chimes. It does not include work on the rotor, the most important part of your clock (details on our repair page). If you do not know if or when the rotor was last changed or serviced, we highly recommend rebuilding your rotor at this time. Remember that the rotor is taxed the most during a striking cycle and many problems with striking are due to a bad rotor.

  • Do I need my rotor serviced, oiled, or replaced with a new one?
    Yes & No - We don't use any 'quick-fix' methods for getting a slow or noisy rotor working and there hasn't been a new one made in years. We only rebuild your original rotor - see above "How can you you repair my clock when others can't". Again, we highly recommend that this be done at the same time you have the movement serviced.

  • Can you fix and/or refinish my wood case?
    Yes - Some people like to keep their clocks in 'original' condition showing all the signs of age. But these clock have suffered from 60 to 80 years of dirt, dust, cigarette smoke (everyone smoked in the 30's and 40's) and in many cases been stored in attics or basements for years enduring heat and cold and dry or humid conditions. We like to remove all this dirt (and the old finish) and bring them back to what they looked like when new. These clocks used fine woods - mostly mahogany- and will strip down to reveal lovely wood patterns and designs that were meant to be seen as part of the clocks design. Features like book-matched diagonal stripped mahogany looses its impact if all looks dark and dull. In many cases we can fix split wood, loose veneer or have missing parts made or obtained from another clock. We can't fix every little ding and dent but we completely strip your case and refinish it with hand rubbed tung oil finish. If you prefer to keep the original finish we can leave it and just clean up the basic dirt on top.

  • Can you get my chimes working - they are out of tune and don't strike correctly?
    Yes - But let us explain some things. Do not confuse TUNE, TONE, and ALIGNMENT. The chime rods are either in tune or out of tune. This is determined by their length. If they are dead, they are broken or cracked and need to be replaced. The tone is determined by the type of rods you have, how they are mounted, and the style of the case. Large open cases resonate well and produce a deep tone. Smaller cases produce a higher pitched tone. That is fixed by the model you have. Alignment is how the hammer tips hit the rods. The tips are made of hardened leather and do wear but we can replace them. The hammer arms can move out of alignment with the chime rods - they can be adjusted.

  • My chimes sound OK but do not count out correctly or play the melody correctly - can this be fixed?
    Yes - Playing the melody (Westminster or Canterbury) is controlled within the movement as is the counting out of the hours on the hour. Telechron uses a self-adjusting movement that will reset your counting sequence by itself in most cases. Of course, wear and adjustments can play a role here also. These adjustments are made when we service your movement. Also during this time, the rotor is being taxed the most having to produce the most torque, so it needs to be in top shape.

  • Can you supply me with other parts that may be needed like glass, bezels, dials, and other componets?
    Yes - In most cases we can supply glass (stock and custom-made), miscellaneous components and some bezels. Dials are harder to get, but we may have one if you need it as part of your restoration. We also have contacts with people who can provide custom parts when needed. We will try to get anything you might need for your clock while we are working on it. Please remember that there is a a large variety of these clocks with some more popular than others and supplies for some may be hard to get at all.

  • I only need a special part or two, can you sell me what I need to work on my clock myself?
    No - Though we love these old clocks and would like to help you out, there are a limited number of resources still available for them. The parts we have are reserved for our customers who send their clocks in for service or repair. We may be able to provide contact information for possible sources of parts or provide a certain part if we have plenty on hand, but in many cases you may have to buy a "donor" clock online to obtain the parts you need. Many of these clocks used the same parts and we are willing to help you in your search for parts.

  • Can I just go ahead and ship my clock to you for service and repair?
    No - Since we are one of the few companies that do service and repair work on these clocks, our schedule is quite busy. We have set up a Waiting List for repair work and take your clock in numerical order from the list. We are happy to place you on the list and will then contact you with confirmation and a number that you can track on our status page. When it is time for it to come into the shop, we will contact you with all the details you will need. We work on several clocks at once and our list moves at a steady pace.

  • When I get my clock back from being restored it will look and work like it did originally?
    Yes - But remember that your clock is a Vintage item- more than 60 years old. There will still be the age related wear that will always be there and the movement was designed in the early 1900's and was changed little over the years. Some models had exotic woods that have aged and some have rather plain and simple cases. Each one sounds different and there are many styles. You will have to do some homework on these clocks and know how they work and what you need to do to get them running and stay running. We supply information on our web site in both written and video form. But these are 'old folks' and need to be treated as such.

  • Is it really safe to ship my clock through the mail or UPS, FedEx, etc.?
    Yes - If you follow our packing instructions, use the correct packaging materials and box(es), you shouldn't have a problem in shipping. We recommend UPS or FedEx or USPS Priority Mail. Please do not use USPS Parcel Post. It is the cheapest, but the most likely way to damage your clock. Over the years we have shipped hundreds of these clocks and have never had one get lost in shipping. And we have only had a relatively small percentage of any type of damage. These clocks not only have a sentimental value, some can not be replaced, so make sure you use extreme care in packing and insure your clock for an appropriate amount (minimum $100 - average $300 - upper end $500). Chiming clocks go to PA and many only take 2-4 days in the system which lowers the chance of damage.

  • If I have one of these clocks (either running or not) will you buy it if I don't want to fix it?
    Yes - We are always looking for "donor" clocks for parts, or a specific model, but for the most part we can only offer a minimum price for your clock. Of course we might just be looking for that clock or may know a buyer for it, so please contact us with your inquiries.
     
     

 
General Questions About Telechron, GE and Revere Clocks
  • What is the ROTOR that I hear about?
    The Telechron Rotor was invented by Henry Warren around 1900. It is a small cylindical container that holds a set of plates with a series of gears set between them. It is filled with oil and was sealed at the factory. There is a tail on it and an output shaft and gear on the other end. Along with a field coil it is in effect, the motor of the clock, the part that drives the gears in the movement. It was the first synchronous motor and was self starting. It was developed to be synchronous with the 60 cycles we use in our electrical systems. The field coil produces an electromagnetic field that turns some fins in the tail that then turn the drive gears. It is mistakenly called a motor by many but all Telechron motored clocks use the Telechron rotor system.

  • Are there different types of Rotors?
    There were several different rotors made by Telechron. The first was the 'B' rotor used in the late 1920s and into the 1940's. It was used in many non-chiming clocks and all Revere and Telechron striking clocks. The 'F' rotor was only used for a few years and transitioned quickly into the 'H' rotor. The 'F' rotor was used in non-chiming clocks and are not seem much today. The 'H' rotor is the most popular of the non-chiming clock rotors, used from the 40s into the 60s. Some later model Revere clocks from the 50s also used the 'H' rotor. The last rotor made was the 'S' rotor used only in non-chiming clocks. The 'B' rotor was made from brass, then a brass-nickel material, and finally aluminum. There are also different models like a 'B3' or a 'B13' and each one has specific applications. The 'H' rotor was made in copper and nickel and finally aluminum. Most are 'H3' models, the most common one found. The 'S' rotor was only made in aluminum. There are not any new or aftermarket rotors available except some 'S' rotors can still be found new and occasionally you can find a NOS (New Old Stock) 'B' or 'H' rotor.

  • What do I do if my Rotor is bad?
    There have been many quick fix remedies for a slow or noisy rotor. We have tried most of these and found them marginal if they work at all. We have found that having the rotor completely disassembled and rebuilt is the best method and the only way we handle a bad rotor. There are used rotors available, but you don't know it's history or condition or how much longer it may run. Even NOS rotors should be serviced as they will be over 60 years old and the oil has probably dried out. Look in our Service sections for details about rotor rebuilding.

  • What is that hole in my dial - the Red Dot?
    That hole has been called many things- an AM/PM indicator, an Alarm set indicator, and many other things. It is commonly known as the "Red Dot" feature since it can turn red at times. It is called the Power Outage Indicator. There is a 'flag' behind the opening (usually a circle above the center and below the 12 and name) that has two colors on it- the color of the dial and red. While the clock is running the magnetic field that powers the rotor also holds a steel counterweight in place, allowing the dial color to show through the opening. If the power is interrupted, the magnetic field stops and the flag drops to reveal the red section on the surface of the flag. When power is restored, the flag remains in the red position so you will know that there has been an interruption of power and the time may be incorrect. This was done in the early days because reliable power was not a common thing and this feature prompted you to reset your clock. At first you manually turned a shaft on the back to reset the color, and in later years, the time set shaft was used to trip the flag back to the dial color, and some models had to be turned upside down to reset them. Once tripped again the magnet held them in place. Telechron patented this feature and was seen on most Telechron movements up until the 1950s when is was phased out.

  • How can I tell how Old my Clock is?
    Most Telechron, GE and Revere clocks do not have a date on them. You may see tags with dates like 1927 and 1928 on these clocks and assume that's when they were made. In fact, those dates are usually the patent date for a particular movement design. Since Telechron movements changed very little over time, it is not uncommon to have a clock made in 1940 with a 1927 patent tag on it. Most non-chiming movements did not have serial numbers, so dating can not be done that way. The way Telechron and GE numbered there different models gives some clue to age, as the basic number was sequential - meaning a model 7H141 was made quick a while after model 7H04. But that still does not give a date, just a reference. There are sites on the Internet that have model and dating information for Telechrons and GEs (Telechron.net) and there is a lovely book by Jim Lintz that shows pictures and dating information for many non-chiming and alarm clocks plus several Chiming GE and Revere clocks. Our section on Revere and GE clocks is packed with information and dates for Revere and GE chiming clocks. It also includes a way to get a date by serial number(Revere intro) IDing your clock and a complete photo Quick-Look gallery.

  • So what do all those numbers and letters in the model mean?
    The Telechron and GE non-chiming clocks had a system to their model numbers. Each model number had a first number, a letter (possibly two) and two or three ending numbers (possibly and ending letter). The first number told us the style of the clock; the letter told us the type of rotor in it; the last numbers were issued in sequence as models were designed, with Telechron mainly using the odd numbers and GE using the even numbers; an ending letter would indicate a variation in the case of a model. The style numbers are (1)-commercial and industrial wall clocks (2)-wall clocks (3)-mantle or shelf clock with a 3 inch dial (4)-mantle or shelf clock with a 4 inch dial (5)-mantle clocks with a 5 inch dial (6)-Hour and half hour striking clocks and ship's bell clocks (7)-Alarm clocks (8)-Cyclometer and specialty clocks. We discussed the rotor letters above under Rotors. There are some exceptions in the early models- odd and even wasn't used as much; models had a three letter designation; GE used an AB prefix on some models. Most of these clocks were made before 1932. Some of the end letter designations were (M) mahogany (L) lucite or luminous or leather and (G) glass.
    Revere and GE chiming clocks were usually numbered with an (R) for Revere and (GE) for General Electric. The number after the letter wasn't sequential so a R-905 could be the same age as a R-130. Revere clocks did not have names (a few did) but GE did name most of their models. The Revere and GE section of our web site contains much more information about this.

  • How can I tell what model I have?
    The Telechron and GE non-chiming clocks had a system to their model numbers. Each model number had a first number, a letter (possibly two) and two or three ending numbers (possibly and ending letter). The first number told us the style of the clock; the letter told us the type of rotor in it; the last numbers were issued in sequence as models were designed, with Telechron mainly using the odd numbers and GE using the even numbers; an ending letter would indicate a variation in the case of a model. The style numbers are (1)-commercial and industrial wall clocks (2)-wall clocks (3)-mantle or shelf clock with a 3 inch dial (4)-mantle or shelf clock with a 4 inch dial (5)-mantle clocks with a 5 inch dial (6)-Hour and half hour striking clocks and ship's bell clocks (7)-Alarm clocks (8)-Cyclometer and specialty clocks. We discussed the rotor letters above under Rotors. There are some exceptions in the early models- odd and even wasn't used as much; models had a three letter designation; GE used an AB prefix on some models. Most of these clocks were made before 1932. Some of the end letter designations were (M) mahogany (L) lucite or luminous or leather and (G) glass.
    Revere and GE chiming clocks were usually numbered with an (R) for Revere and (GE) for General Electric. The number after the letter wasn't sequential so a R-905 could be the same age as a R-130. Revere clocks did not have names (a few did) but GE did name most of their models. The Revere and GE section of our web site contains much more information about this.





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