Author Topic: Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.  (Read 692 times)

Wowbagger

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Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.
« on: February 22, 2021, 11:19:20 pm »
My pal Penelope has one and I'm trying to make it work. It's clear that at some stage it has suffered a heavy blow of some sort. I have taken it apart and araldited together the inside of the bakelite case. I have ordered some electrical cable which should arrive in a few days. Apart from the case colour (Pen's is green) it's identical to the dark brown one that occupied our mantelpiece when I was a small Bagger. My recollection of ours was that, once you got it going, it was very good and worked well, keeping good time, but it was a bugger to get started. I'm pretty sure that on one occasion it went backwards.

On the back it says 200/250V 50~. What is a ~?
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hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2021, 11:23:06 pm »
~ = AC - alternating current.

Standard UK mains.

Wasn't there a knob with which you had to battle before the thing got going?
I think my grandmother had something like this...

Re: Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2021, 11:28:43 pm »
50 Hz. Those kind of clocks use the mains frequency to keep near perfect time, except when they don't. The mechanism has to be designed to count 50 Hz as one second, and would run fast in a 60 Hz country.

Wowbagger

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Re: Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2021, 11:36:07 pm »
~ = AC - alternating current.

Standard UK mains.

Wasn't there a knob with which you had to battle before the thing got going?
I think my grandmother had something like this...

Thanks for that!

There most certainly was! You have to press it in and the clock makes a starter-motor kind of noise. The same knob is used to adjust the hands and you do that when it's pressed in. THe actual knurled nut is missing but I'll be able to set it with pliers in the first instance and when jewellers are open again will probably be able to get one fairly easily.



That's the case. Pen had at one time painted it cream and regretted it. I have spent this evening scraping the paint off with a blunt knife and it looks OK. Still some detail to do but it's promising.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2021, 11:43:51 pm »
I think my grandmother's clock was cream and turquoise but it's SO long ago...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2021, 12:41:39 am »
Wasn't there a knob with which you had to battle before the thing got going?

Synchronous motor that isn't self-starting?  Primitive.  But keeps better time than the quartz rubbish on our microwave, on account of always getting the right number of 50 Hertzes in a 24 hour period[1].


[1] These clocks can drift fast and slow over the course of a day as the load on the electricity grid changes.  But the grid controllers count the cycles and make sure it always averages out.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2021, 07:15:56 am »
What I always  liked was that  if a second hand was fitted it progressed continuously rather than the series of  one second jumps we now live with.

There was a rumour that National Grid were going to stop time syncing the grid. There are certainly  problems with the increase in distributed generation capacity. On current  progress everything may become unstable.  This  may interest some of us https://www.nationalgrideso.com/document/111956/download

I am old enough to remember chimney breast mounted mains spurs for  this  type  of  clock. They were a flush plug fitted with a 1 Amp fuse. Make sure any plug is fitted with a 1 Amp fuse, rather than the 13 Amp default.

Re: Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2021, 07:57:10 am »
Synchronous motor clocks will often run backwards. More modern ones have a mechanical device that jams them and reverses the direction before anyone notices if they start in the wrong direction.

Plug in mains timers like these https://www.argos.co.uk/product/5440524?clickSR=slp:term:plug%20in%20timer:2:3:1 are one of the few places that they are still used.
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Mr Larrington

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Re: Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2021, 11:08:59 am »
I am old enough to remember chimney breast mounted mains spurs for  this  type  of  clock. They were a flush plug fitted with a 1 Amp fuse. Make sure any plug is fitted with a 1 Amp fuse, rather than the 13 Amp default.

There's still one of those at Fort Larrington, though whether it works I wot not.  It ent had anything plugged into it since at least the turn of the Millennium.
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Wowbagger

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Re: Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2021, 11:34:44 am »






And it's working!



Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

T42

  • *** fool in a hurry
Re: Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2021, 01:57:06 pm »
Well done, Wow, it looks grand.  We had a pre-war Smith's Sectric mantel clock when I was a nipper, with the movement mounted in an octagonal slice of what looked like onyx but was probably plastic. Dunno what became of it.  It had that twiddly start button round the back as well.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
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Re: Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2021, 11:48:06 pm »


Back at Penny's house in her front room. The goose egg was from her parents' old place in Camerton, Somerset, and Penny blew it herself, over 50 years ago I think. Oddly, I was vaguely familiar with Camerton when I was was young as my aunt lived in Tunley, a mile or so up the road, and I stayed there a few times. Penny and I didn't meet until we both moved to Southend, in 1976.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Re: Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2021, 08:38:09 am »
That's a nice piece of art deco.

I didn't know araldite worked on it but I have found I could use paint remover on Bakelite without harming it. I have a industrial style sectric in my workshop.  In nearby Bishopthorpe a huge example on a school has been restored and put in operation.
Sic transit and all that..

T42

  • *** fool in a hurry
Re: Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2021, 09:11:54 am »
I wish I'd known about the twiddly knob back when we had ours. I'd have started it going backwards and driven my dad scatty.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.
« Reply #14 on: Yesterday at 11:24:21 am »
I guess they don't work in France the way they were intended.  It's British, don't you know, doesn't work on foreign electricity..
Sic transit and all that..

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
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Re: Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.
« Reply #15 on: Today at 01:41:40 pm »
I wish I'd known about the twiddly knob back when we had ours. I'd have started it going backwards and driven my dad scatty.

I don't think it was something you could control. It happened only rarely and at random, IIRC. Bear in mind that I was probably still in my teens when that clock finally shuffled off this mortal coil.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.
« Reply #16 on: Today at 01:48:02 pm »
Now I'm wondering if it's a relative of the ubiquitous mirrorball motor, which always starts up in the opposite direction to last time.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.
« Reply #17 on: Today at 02:02:07 pm »
Now I'm wondering if it's a relative of the ubiquitous mirrorball motor, which always starts up in the opposite direction to last time.

See also: microwave turntables.

(Unless it's always the opposite direction. Microwaves are as good as a coin toss)

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Mending an art deco Smiths Sectric clock.
« Reply #18 on: Today at 02:46:13 pm »
I think my microwave alternates turning direction.
My washing machine mostly turns and spins clockwise but reverses at some parts of some programs.