Rusty, partial WT on ebay UK


Another C40A WT has turned up on eBay[UK]. In decidedly "weathered" condition it is missing a number of essential parts. 

I would not recommend anybody lacking mechanical skills to attempt a restoration. That said, you do get many original parts if you do have mechanical and basic electrical experience. 

A good soak in a proper penetrating fluid will help. If you automatically thought that meant a bath in WD40 then this project is obviously not meant for you! The coils do not want to be immersed.

An early example of this smaller WT. Its age most easily identified by the curved section of the main frame just above the large, drive electromagnets. The 'bare' silk covered solenoid wiring is also early. Brass and bronze components nicely match the time frame of pre-WW2. I'm guessing here, but it all looks about right for the period.

It is difficult to say whether it has been lying outside for half a century or that a clock room roof has been open to the sky for at least as long. The difficulty of removing all those rusted fasteners and bearings should not be underestimated! It's not just a case of removing things to clean them up. Most of the bearings will be rusted solid! Only a rank amateur would try to move or remove anything with force.  

The worm and gathering wheel are absent but the vital wormwheel is present. No doubt the steel worm would have rusted away to uselessness anyway given the state of the rest of the movement.

[Almost] the entire pendulum drive contact system is also missing. Though this can be silver soldered up from yellow brass sections. Just as I did when I obtained my own, very similar WT. The oval, fixed contact assembly base is present. Another clear sign of an early movement.

The terminal block is [almost] damaged beyond repair and will need restoration or rebuilding from scratch. The insulated block is much simpler than my own detailed moulding. Another early sign? The original screw terminals have thankfully been saved by being attached to their wiring.

As already mentioned, you do get most of the other important parts. Even a crown/bevel wheel cluster, with original, time setting dial, for those who long to replace their own missing examples. Though they may not swap easily to another, seemingly identical movement. Because they [WTs] were largely made by hand, to order, sometimes in small batches. Don't forget to silver the dial with the correct, white silver salts. The modern stuff will make it look like the bottom of a brand new stainless steel saucepan and you certainly don't want that.

The main frame is rust resistant cast iron and can be cleaned up and repainted once all the rusted parts are safely removed. There may still be flakes of the original paint colour hidden under rusty components. There is the slightest hint of a lighter colour overlying the rust in places. Though it may have been repainted by an amateur at some point. The early details suggest the original had a low shine, black paint job, just like the pendulum bob. With gorgeous, contrasting, deep gold lacquer on all the polished brass and bronze components. Most of which you will have to admire at your leisure as you wait for the penetrating oil to soak in over weeks, or months, or years.

Removing the rusty components will be a very long and painstaking process! But at least you get the original pendulum bob. Though the badly dilapidated  electromagnet coil bobbins will need extremely careful restoration preferably without unwinding. Something the British museum might practice on their Egyptian mummies? More seriously, they will never look the same again if the coils are unwound. Originality of appearance is highly desirable with an unusual movement rapidly approaching 100 years of age! Using modern, enameled copper wire to rewire the coils would be a horological obscenity unworthy of further discussion!

No doubt an expert turret clock restorer could make a nice job of this early movement but it will not be remotely cheap nor quick. The worm is not the most difficult item to reproduce. Though the original may have been matt, hard chromed. There are clock [gear] wheel cutters who will, no doubt, happily make a replica gathering wheel to order, for a price. Just remember to tell them about the absolutely vital, high tooth and the timing of the essential D-pin. Multiple images of all these items can be found here, buried deep in my endlessly rambling blog.

Good luck with your bidding! And with your infinitely careful restoration, of course.

The eBay[UK] auction bidding ended on £889 British pounds. Somebody obviously wanted it badly. I just hope they can still afford some penetrating oil. 😉

The few WTs which turn up on eBay seem to be "highly collectible" as they say on the TV antiques programmes. They are certainly a unique decoration for the living room and even have their own built-in "electric winding." 24V DC from a "wall wart" will do. They can even be rather quiet in operation with a little care. As I discovered only recently after years of listening to the loud clonking. All quite unnecessary.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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