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And now for something a bit different........


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Well up till now the most that I had spent on one of these was £14 for the first clock, but when I saw this pewter cased version I had to have it, despite the terrible condition of the dial...... :scared:,

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I won it with a £26 bid, hoping that firstly there was nothing 'unfixable' with the movement and secondly, that I could do something to improve the dial.......I did have a 'Plan B' where that was concerned though as I also bought, this Ferranti Model No2 mantel clock as a potential dial donor.....

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When the pewter clock arrived I determined straight away that there was nothing wrong, mechanically or electrically, with the movement and that it was 'a runner':thumbsup: So 'in for a penny, in for a pound' I stripped it and donning my art restorer's cap I set about attempting to very carefully clean up the dial with cotton buds, initially using saliva to dissolve the worst of the staining..:whistle:, followed by very mild soap and water.....I obviously missed my vocation in life and perhaps should have not gone into engineering at at an early age but taken the art restoration route as this is the final result, dial 'restored', case cleaned and polished, movement oiled and rewired......

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It appears that this pewter clock was only made between 1934 and 1936 and was Ferranti's dearest 3 1/2" dial mantel clock at 63/- (three guineas, the equivalent price in 2020 being about £220!) and as such is probably fairly rare today).

The Model No2 clock mentioned above as 'Plan B' now becomes a restoration project in it's own right, more about that later.....

The Model No8 square Bakelite alarm clock, mentioned earlier, with terribly stained/ruined (someone would already appeared to have tried cleaning it andsmeared the 'printed 'Ferranti' logo...:angry:) dial....

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was re-visitedNot too much wrong with this ine, electrically no problems but some work was required on the alarm 'on/off' mechanism to get that working correctly. The case cleaned up OK and the clock was rewired and runs nicely........shame about the face.

As if by fate this incomplete example, with a much better face, turned up on eBay, so it had to be bought.....

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It arrived yesterday, at the same time as the Model No2 mantel clock, mentioned above......

On opening it up it was seen that some bits (most of the alarm setting mech and wiring to the coil) had been removed from the movement but with the mech removed from the case I was able to remove the hands and dial and with my new found art restoration skills it was fairly straight forward to remove virtually all of the 'age spots' and discolouration from the dial. I re-stripped the original 'restored'  square alarm and swapped over the dials....... now we have a very presentable example of this clock.....

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One of the common factors with these early (1932 to 1936) Ferranti synchronous clocks is the fact that the hand adjusting knob is almost always missing, due to the fact that, unlike the other knobs, it does not screw into place but the spindle on the movement is a square section and the knob just pushes on with a friction fit...

I found that a pocket watch key with the correct A/F size would operate the hand set but wanted some thing a little more OEM looking so I bought a key to play with, chopped the handle part off, set it into a piece of black bakelite tube, that I 'had in stock' and with the addition of a suitable plastic cap araldited on the end I ended up with what seems to be an acceptable alternative to the unobtainable original article....

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With the prototype finished I now have a few more keys on order and will replace the misssing keys on other clocks....

The 'Mk2' version may well have a black plastic knurled knob on it as I have some of these incoming from China.....

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Edited by John_D
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While browsing eBay for some Art Deco china I stumbled on a rather stylish Ferranti synchronous electric clock......... Sellers original pictures:-.... Well it got me interest

I need certifying, I've bloody done it again, got these two also winging there way to me now (both bought from the same seller, which at least reduced the carriage cost) At le

I knew it was a mistake, buying and restoring that Ferranti clock , it has 'forced' me to buy this definitive book about them ..... and I now have this Bakelite alarm one in the post, for me

40 minutes ago, spinynorman said:

Fascinating. Great work on the dials, they look like new.

Cheers Norman, I'm a glutton for punishment as I just put a derisory offer on this horror story, which was accepted:blush:.

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It would appear that somebody probably broke the original Bakelite case then, perhaps 50 or 60 years ago, they utilised the movement in a homemade wooden case.... I do not whant to know what the 'Heath Robinson' mains switching addition was meant to power up, but it looks beyond dangerous!!:scared:

Looking again at the 'internals' it might just be that the original clock was one of these......as it appears to have the window in the dial surround at the bottom.......

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The dial looks to be salvagable and the movement will furnish the missing alarm setting bits, and as a bonus the ultra rare hand setting knob is still with it!:clap: I will probably be able to 'restore' the second square Model No8 alarm to working order now..........

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Posted (edited)

Well the 'Shed Art' Ferranti alarm arrived and my assumptions about its origins proved correct..... It did Indeed start life, in about 1936, as one of these 'Floodlit dial' alarms.

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On stripping it down I found that the enormous fuse holder on the left of the movement was apparently a 'safety feature:scared:'  added by whoever transplanted the movement into the wooden case some 50 or 60 years ago, looking at the state of the wiring up to it would suggest that it was probably an astute measure......

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The 'floodlit' element was fairly clever, in that there is a cam directly behind the alarm dial on the front of the movement that triggered  a sprung metal contact that earthed, to the movement, one side of the secondary winding of the motor coil.......That's right, the induction coil of the movement has an independent secondary winding, turning it into a low voltage transformer to supply about 3v A/C to the 3.5v torch bulb doing the 'Floodlighting' of the dial, between the hours of midnight and 8AM......not adjustable, take it or leave it, though there was an option to interrupt the 'earth' feed to the bulb holder, with a fibre insulator 'switch lever'.  I got all of this mechanical mech re-aligned and working correctly only to find that the secondary winding of the coil was open circuit, it has no discernable resistance, when measured with a multi meter,  but does appear to have an 'off load' voltage of about 24v, that disappears when the load of the torch bulb is connected..... Anyway, I replaced the primary coil connecting wires with something a little more modern that I would trust 240v A/C with and the movement ran OK,, and I have a working movement  (even the alarm function) though without the light working

 I did intend to use the dial and movement in my 'spare' non-floodlit case

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but on closer inspection the movement is sufficiently mechanically different, in size to make this unfeasible, so resorted, for the time being, to Plan B......

The wooden case was surprisingly very well constructed, and I suspect semi-professionally made but the fitting of the movement and construction of the alarm on/off knob on top and the general finishing, appears to have been done by someone with a much lower skill level. With this in mind I have 'sympathetically' refinished the case, (I could have totally sanded it down, re-stained and polyurethane lacquered it but that would be like polishing a turd :wink:), refitted the movement inside, rewiring it,  leaving me with a working, fairly tidy, example of 1950's 'Shed Art'....

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I have since squared up the movement a 'bit' better in the case, but the two 'after market' mounting brackets, care of 'Meccano', used by the original convertor, do not make it easy.........

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Anyone on here a fan of 'Shed Art'? No reasonable offer refused...:whistle:

 

 

Edited by John_D
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On 07/02/2021 at 12:58, Jericlin said:

Curiosity aroused. Whilst sourcing Mr Lines book I wondered if this clock was 100% Ferranti ? 
eBay item no 154311419928

Somehow I missed this post. The clock in question would appear to be another example of 'shed art', based either on the movement from a broken Bakelite cased mantel clock or a 'creation' based on a new replacement movement that Ferranti sold for 30/- in the 1930's.... It does not appear as a factory made wall clock in the Ferranti 'bible'.....

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