Tick-Talk Tuesday – #1 -question about Stromberg Carlson master clock

Tick-Talk Tuesday is about the letters and comments I have received from you, the reader, concerning your clocks, issues you might have had and challenges you face and my responses to your questions with advice on your  particular clock concern(s). For those comments and questions that stump even me, I consult within my clock circles for the best possible answer.

Stromberg Carlson master clock
Stromberg Carlson master clock

DP writes to me and asks what the lever does on the anchor (left arrow) and what happens if you move it one way or the other. He also asked about the purpose of the slot as indicated by the right arrow. The right part of the photo refers to a lower part of the clock.

Well, first of all what is DP referring to. This is a Stromberg Carlson master clock manufactured in 1947. Stromberg Carlson was a telecommunications equipment and electronics manufacturing company in the United States, formed in 1894. It was one of five companies that controlled the national supply of telephone equipment until after World War II.

A master clock is a precision clock that provides timing signals to synchronize slave clocks as part of a network of clocks. Networks of electric clocks connected by wires to a precision master pendulum clock began to be used in institutions like factories, offices, and schools around 1900. Many of you might recall the Simplex clock in your classroom which was but one slave clock among dozens in your school all physically connected to one clock, the master clock.

I do not have a particular expertise in Electric horology and asked him if I could consult within my clock circles.

Later on that day I responded. “Regarding your question (s), I gather you know that you have a master clock from which any number of slaves are run. The arrow on the left appears to be a contact activator similar to what one one might find on an IBM master clock, for 2 second contacts to advance slave clocks at a fast rate of impulse every two seconds. The slot on the right looks like it would be for an anchoring screw.”

Stromberg Carlsen movement
Stromberg Carlson movement

DPs response. “As you can see in this other clock mechanism that it doesn’t have that lever so yours is a good explanation. There is 6351-M stamped on my clock mechanism. However, the clock itself is not in its original configuration. I was told that originally it was used as a master clock in a school to control all the other clocks.  I was told that an electrical engineer reworked it so that it would run off of house current.  Too bad that he didn’t leave it the way it was originally. You can tell from the holes in the back wooden panel and now an occupied ceramic insulator that the was much more to it.”

As DP states, his clock was converted. In fact many were converted from 20VDC to 110 volts AC. Presumably a safer way to run the clock but unfortunate because it takes away some authenticity.

In answering DPs question I have now expanded my knowledge of electro-mechanical clocks.

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