WT C40A on eBay


An early, Gents' Pulsynetic WT, in a rather sorry state, has turned up on eBay. The pictures are almost as poor as the condition of the early movement. I have enlarged them considerably and played with contrast and gamma for posting here.

The armature impulse hook is pre-roller suggesting a very early example of the small WT. Certainly pre-WW2 and perhaps even 1920s. The black, cotton (or silk) wrapped, insulated copper wire on the electromagnet bobbins is early too. (Though the wire insulating wrapping may have been dyed green originally) The relay electromagnet's bearing plate is diagonal and has chamfered ends. (though not easy to see here)

The original black (semi-matt) paint on the mainframe is an early indication. As is the rounded "knee" to the cast main frame above the drive electromagnets. The contact assembly support post is oval, fixed and horizontal in the major axis. Even slightly later iterations of the WT have a slotted support base and a taller vertical axis with radiused ends.  All these details point to confirmation of its authenticity as a very early C40A WT movement.

Sadly the movement is still too distant to make out any real detail in the auction images. Enlarging even the original images just makes them fuzzy.

It looks as if the gathering pawl is absent but I can't be absolutely sure. It may still be attached to the pendulum top. Though it looks considerably slimmer than on later models.

It looks as if all the bevel gear cluster is missing at the rear. The usual casting to support the bevel wheels is present but there are no bevel wheels present. Nor their stub axle block. Not in any of these images. Though the wormwheel shaft must be present because a leading-off coupling is visible at the left of the movement. So at least you have a drive to one or two dials.

The worm could be badly rusted but it is impossible to see such fine detail from these images.The Hipp toggle and contacts are thankfully present. As is the WT relay coil and mechanism. The wiring almost certainly needs sympathetic replacement. It should run happily on 20 Volts DC when it is finally restored. You will also need a master clock, of course. These WT movements don't keep time (at all) without a master clock to give a correcting impulse at half minute intervals.

General view. The pendulum is present with top bearings still attached. Hopefully, that may well be the gathering pawl still attached to the pendulum too. (hanging at 45 degrees or 20-to-two) Though it is very difficult to confirm this from the image. The gathering pallet is a complex brass or bronze casting and not at all easy to reproduce without a machine shop. It straddles the pendulum rod and is also pivoted there. So this may have saved it from becoming lost. If only the images were better with decent close-ups!

This is very definitely not a restoration project for a complete beginner. Dismantling a rusty movement can easily damage vital parts. Clamping the movement in the vice would be cruelty beyond belief! Clearing vital threads in rusty holes requires the correct tools (taps) and some manual skill. 

If screws are rusted in (and they very probably are in this case) then you can't just spray WD40 all over the place. It is a poor substance to use for this purpose anyway and highly toxic to some people. If I get so much as a whiff of it (even out of doors) I am ill for days! 

There are much better (proper) penetrating fluids used by car mechanics and restorers. Browsing will throw up suggestions which may be locally available. 

Patience is absolutely essential to allow the fluid to penetrate the rusty thread around the firmly stuck screws. There is very little room and the thread's normal air space is full of binding rust! Apply the proper penetrating fluid to all the screws at least a week before you even think about removing any of them. The longer your leave the fluid the better the chance of success. And, the least chance of a disaster! 

Many of the fixing screws are cheese head, slot-head steel. Requiring the slot be cleaned carefully before a perfectly fitting, straight bladed screwdriver, of high quality, is applied. A worn or tapered screwdriver point will ruin your chances of removing the screw. A screwdriver which fits perfectly wíll seem almost too big but must reach to the bottom the slot in the screw head to ensure maximum turning force can be applied. Buy a brand new, quality screwdriver with a good handle for applying plenty of torque. 

Cheap, or discount, tools will not have the highest quality steel of the best tools. Some Chinese tools are even made of mild steel! Which is absolutely hopeless. I have seen such screwdrivers take on a twist after a short period of use. Stanley used to be a name to trust but the last cross-head screwdriver I bought crumbled on the very first screw. Another Stanley cross-head screwdriver, which I bought well over four decades ago still works as if it were brand new.

Try screwing  gently inwards before outwards. Try tapping the screw head with a very small hammer to break any remaining hold the rust may have on the screw threads. If the screw will not turn then apply more penetrating fluid and try again after a few days. Heat is sometimes suggested but may ruin the original paintwork. Unless you use a powerful soldering iron rested on the head of the screw.  

Attempting to unscrew a rusted-in screw may snap it off right inside the casting. Now what? You will have to carefully centre punch the broken screw very accurately. Then drill it out a concentric hole with increasingly, larger drills. Without damaging the original thread in the casting. Now you have to remove the thin, tubular shell of the weakened carcase of the screw. A reverse threaded conical stud extractor helps here. Then you have to clean the rust out of the threaded hole with the correct tap. Without making the screw hole too loose for a new screw. No easy task! 

If you haven't worked on old cars, old motorcycles or rusty bikes then don't start practising on an early Gents' Waiting Train. A tin of 3-in-1 oil and a pair of old pliers isn't going to get you anywhere! You may damage the movement beyond economical repair. Great patience is required in such a project or you may ruin the original finish on parts. Or break them while trying to slide rusty shafts through bronze bearings. The rust must be carefully removed first. If you think that rust removal involves a spinning wire brush in an electric drill then you may be in for a shock when it comes to valuing your finished project.

Plenty of motion work here! Leading-off rods and contrate gears. (A simpler form of bevel gear) The four sets of motion work have minute hand counterbalance weights. Condition mainly rusty and corroded. Most of it looks as if it has all been standing in the rain for years!

The pendulum impulse coil bobbins look as if they have disintegrated. This requires real skill and patience to fix properly. Because it probably means making completely new bobbins and a complete coil rewind. If you want to retain any semblance of originality you can't just rewind the coils with new enamelled copper wire. It will look completely incongruous! Greatly reducing the value of the movement. The coils will be by far the most difficult part of the restoration. Probably requiring a decent lathe at the very least. It may be just possible to glue turned new bobbin ends to the original cores without disturbing the windings. Though it would require considerable luck and skill. 

Another view showing partially dismantled movement and all the dial work. One dial hour pipe (in the foreground) is rusted right away! As it came from a stately home the turret clock system may have been abandoned at some point in its history. It could be somewhere around 90-years old by now.

As so few of these WT movements come up on eBay it is very tempting to bid with your heart instead of your head. You may be desperately hoping the poor condition means it will be more affordable.  I would suggest that, unless you have the proper skills, or know a man who does, you leave this one well alone. It would be better to save up and buy one in much better condition. Knowing what is involved I would hesitate to take this one on myself.

I hope the auction winner has the skills to sympathetically return this movement to its former glory. It is almost certainly the earliest WT I have seen in this size. If its installation history can be confirmed it will almost certainly add to the pleasure of ownership.

The auction ended on £1420 GBP.

Click on any image for an enlargement. Back click to return to the text.


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