In the late 1930’s through the 1940’s, Telechron developed a movement for a line of clocks called “Strike” clocks. This was their “6” series of clocks, and pretty much ran off the B-rotor. In my opinion, I am convinced that this was one of the worst movements every produced by Telechron, just a total error from the beginning. And, I think the strike problems started when a customer bought the clock new or shortly thereafter.
How do you know for sure if you own one of these clocks? The first would be on a small, black metal dog tag that was usually nailed to the back of the clock. Because it was the '6' series, and they ran off the B-rotor, the first two characters of the model numbers would be '6B' followed by two more numbers which was the actual model. For example, the 1937 'Jubilee' was the first clock of this series, so its model number is '6B01'.
(When viewed through the rear door, this is the basic configuration of the Strike Clock. The large, coiled gong is a dead give-away. Ships Bell clocks are quite similar, but strike on a round bell rather than the coiled going. Notice the metal dog tag right underneath that identifies the clock. This photo is from a 6B05 'Picardy' model made between 1937 and 1940.)
The second way of identifying these clocks is the dial. Most of these clocks would have the word "Strike" or "Ships Bell" printed on the front.
As not to confuse these clocks with the Westminster, let’s properly define what a Strike Clock is. Pretty much, these clocks had a single coiled gong inside them with one strike hammer. The clocks would strike the gong once every half-hour, then were supposed to do a full count of the hours at the top of hour. Again, that is what they were supposed to do. However, if you own one of these clocks you may find out that the actual strike is always one less than the actual time. Meaning, at 4:00 for example, the clock only strikes 3-times.
Now, this ailment is not only limited to the Strike Clocks, but also affected Ships Bell Clocks made during the same time. You may have a clock that sounds the bell correctly most of the time, but sometimes during the 4-hour stretch, the bell count is off, maybe even more than once. Meaning, that at 4:00 (or 8:00 or 12:00) instead of getting 8 bells like your supposed to, you only get 7 or quite possibly even 6 bells.
The following list is not conclusive, but represents some of the more common clocks you might have or run across for sale (or own):
1939 6B06 GE 'Gloucester' Ships Bell Clock
1939 Telechron 6B07 'Minstrel' Strike Clock
1940 Telechron 6B09 'Yachtsman' Ships Bell Clock
1940 GE 6B10 'Hearth' Strike Clock
1940’s Telechron 6B15 'Wickford' Strike Clock
1940’s Telechron 6B17 'Resolute' Ships Bell Clock
1940’s GE 6B18 'Nantucket' Ships Bell Clock
1950 GE 6B20 'Ridgefield' Strike Clock
(Shown above are the 'Wickford', 'Hearth' and 'Yachtsman' Models)
The Mechanics behind the Strike Clock Movements and why they fail:Pretty much, the half-hour strike on these clocks is strictly controlled by gravity. During the first half-hour, a large wheel slowly turns lifting the hammer. At a certain point, there is a large notch on the wheel that allows the hammer to fall on its own by gravity only. Thus, you get one strike at the half-hour. What happens during the last half-hour is different.
Two things control the actual strike count on these clocks. 1.) A notched count-ratchet that determines how many times the clock will strike. 2.) A large tension spring that slowly cocks the ratchet back to a pre-determined position as the time progresses. At the top of the hour, the ratchet is snapped loose, spins another gear that is attached to the strike hammer, and thus, count out the correct number of
strikes. The problem on these clocks is the spring.
(The photo above shows the location of the large, coiled metal spring responsible for the operation of the Count-Wheel)
(This photo shows the coiled spring, and you can see how it attaches to the notched ratchet)
(The spring at the top and an entire view of the ratchet)
The spring has so much tension on it, that it violently propels the ratchet too fast at the start of the strike. This can be signified by the loud noise you hear as the ratchet is actually snapped forward at high speed AS A RESULT, TWO NOTCHES ON THE RATCHET PASS THE HAMMER BEFORE IT IS EVEN DONE STRIKING THE FIRST TIME! As the bulk of the pressure is released at the very start, the pressure returns to normal and the ratchet moves at the speed it’s supposed to, counting correctly.Unfortunately, that miss at the very beginning causes the strike to be "one short" of the actual time. You will find out that this error only happens when the clock is running on its own, and not when manually advancing the hands using the set knob. When you are turning the knob, the clock will strike correctly at each hour. I don’t have an exact answer to this, but I do have a theory. When setting the time, there are extra gears used that are not used during the normal operation. The extra resistance from both these extra gears and your fingers holding onto the knob help to control the spring pressure and actually causes the clock to strike properly.
Over the years, I have experimented with correcting this problem. Recently, I took a strike movement down to the tiny washers and attempted to rebuild it from the ground up hoping to find an answer to repair this. I did not. The tension spring on these movements is so thick that it is impossible to adjust it.I was able to make some tiny adjustments, but then found the clock would strike worse than before. Even a slight attempt at releasing the pressure would cause the strike wheel to not spin at all during its final
stages causing a total miss-strike. To get the strike back, I would have to increase the spring tension, but then the original problem just started up again. In other words, this spring is not meant to be fiddled with, and there is no adjusting it.
If you own one of these clocks where the strike is making you crazy, there are two possible solutions, but neither a fix. The first and easiest is to just shut the chime off and run it as a time-only. The second is take the clock apart, remove the glass and gently use your finger to move the hour hand back one-hour. This will cause the clock to strike properly 11 out of the 12 hours, but you’ll only get one strike at 12:00.