These two “Plymouth” tambour mantel clocks made by Seth Thomas came into my shop just a couple of days apart. They are similar but have different movements. Both have lively hour and half hour strike on two chime rods.
Plymouth was a name that Seth Thomas put on some clocks ca. 1930 – 1950. If anyone has details of this, please let me know.
Our first example is labeled 89IM on the movement. This is a variation on the popular No. 89 movement having hour and half-hour strike, with two hammers that simultaneously strike on two chime rods. The date code is 37-11 which represents November, 1937. The label on the back door has the date 5/21/38 (May 21, 1938) hand written on it. This is probably the date the clock was sold.
Our second example has the later Seth Thomas time and strike movement that was introduced to save on cost. It is labeled 10-40 (the date code for October 1940) and 4503 (the model number). Similar movements have been seen with model number A-200 on them. The label says:
Guarantee and Directions
Covering Clocks Equipped With
4300, 4500 and 4600 Series 8-Day Pendulum
Strike Movements in Tambour Cases
Both cases are 20 inches wide and 9 1/4 inches tall, with bezels measuring approximately 6 1/4 inches outside diameter. Both have “fake inlay” printed on the case front. Both have aluminum dials. The older dial has embossed numerals, but the numerals on the newer dial are printed only. Both clocks have instruction labels inside the back doors and are illustrated below.
- The No. 89 movement was introduced about 1900, and was made in many variations.
- It was replaced ca. 1939 with the second movement shown above. This has smaller plates and gears and was probably a cost reduction. It is not as good, as it seems to need quite strong mainsprings to run well. (Note 12-22-2012: The 1938 Seth Thomas catalog lists the No. 89 movement, and I’ve seen an example from 1939 with this newer movement. This newer movement can operate with thinner springs, see my post Plymouth (by Seth Thomas) 1940 Mantel Clock.)
- In 1955, a flood badly damaged the Seth Thomas factory. They phased out movement manufacturing and began importing movements from Germany. They used many Hermle movements.
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