LaSalle Dura alarm clock movement cleaned and running

The Westclox Clock Company is best known for various versions of Big Ben and Baby Ben windup alarm clocks produced from 1909 to the mid 1980s though the later Chinese clocks did not compare with the better made American versions.

A pair of Baby Ben Dura 61C clocks

In the Art Deco style is the LaSalle series. Both of these clocks (above) are the model 61-C (401) otherwise known as a Dura clock so-called because of the nickel-plated, die-cast zinc cases made by The Dura Casting Corporation in the United States. There are 6 models in the LaSalle series and all use the Westclox type 61 Baby Ben, one day movement.

The second clock, sent to me by a reader, has a broken crystal, a rough case and a broken time key but the movement works. Since all parts are interchangeable my plan was to combine the best parts into one working clock.

A working clock, the product of taking the best of parts of two Dura clocks

So, I was left with a non working movement. I was intrigued by the design of the movement and the fact that many parts in this, which I believe to be the 61 number 2 movement, are interchangeable with other Baby Bens both before and after this movement was made. The date stamp on this movement is June 1930.

Broken time key

I wanted to know why this movement was not running. There were no obvious signs. I oiled the pivots to free the movement but had no success. The movement would run for a few seconds and stop. The alarm and time mainsprings were fine and had plenty of power but evidently not enough to keep the movement running.

My dilemma; two working movements and one good case

I let down both mainsprings. I removed the time and the alarm bridges to investigate further (3 small screws hold each bridge) and to eliminate the possibility of worn gears, broken pivots and worn bushing holes. Finding nothing I decided that a good cleaning was the next step.

Front plate

I disassembled the movement, pre-cleaned and placed the parts, including the mainsprings into my ultrasonic cleaner for 20 minutes. My wife had been baking and it was an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the heat of the oven to dry the parts thoroughly.

Free of dirt and grime

Hairspring escapements can be tricky though I got lucky and set it up correctly the first time. After installing the balance wheel and threading the hairspring through the regulator and attaching the post the movement was in beat from the start.

Hairspring and balance wheel escapement

Now I have two working movements and one good case, though one could call the second working movement a spare.

Baby Bens are well engineered and some parts are interchangeable. I enjoy working on these Baby Bens and will be on the lookout for more to add to my collection.


4 thoughts on “LaSalle Dura alarm clock movement cleaned and running

  1. The Dura cases are beautiful designs! I have had a few come and go. I have a collection of every model of Big Ben paired with its Baby Ben produced from 1909 to 2003, many of them from Peterborough, Ontario. Even a Blindmanโ€™s Baby Ben! And the Anniversary Rhinestone edition!

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      1. The Dura Company is featured here http://www.plasticliving.com/dura/4.jpg Apparently their head designer was a woman named Helen Dryden.
        A number of the Big / Baby Ben cases, not the Dura cases, were designed by Henry Dreyfuss. He also designed the ubiquitous Honeywell thermostat, that rather hemi-spherical thermostat with the rotating inner ring to set the temperature. Its lines are reflected in the 1938 Big /Baby Ben which I think is one of their most beautiful. If you google Hudson streamlined locomotive, you will see another Dreyfuss product that is similar.

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