I have recently purchased a National, Electric Watch Cleaning Machine. Attached is a photo for reference and identification of the model type. As can be seen, it has a fairly typical design, reminiscent of many other types, particularly Elma Super Elite. In fact, I do wonder which came first - the National or the Elma. My musings on this point later.
This is a very old machine, circa late 1940’s, 1950’s, but they seem to turn up sometimes on eBay, in various conditions ranging from the “beyond hope” and only really suitable as a donor for parts, and the “old but serviceable” and might-be-worth-a-punt-on machines.
This one fell into the middle somewhere, as it was a bit tatty and the heating element did not work. On the plus side, it had all its original cleaning fluid jars and lids, and the motor and speed control gave smooth, controllable spinning and no play in the bearings. I went to visit the seller to inspect it and we did a deal on the spot. This is not always possible on eBay, but as the seller had listed it as for collection only (due to its weight), it was a possibility on this occasion.
Once I had it home and gave it the once over, I decided that I would have to either do without heating for the drying stage, or find a replacement element. At the same time, it was very obvious that all of the original cabling was not safe to leave in place and it would all have to be removed and replaced. Any other electrical parts deemed unsafe would also be replaced as I inspected them. So - the idea of a restoration (of sorts) was born.
Now - it is not my intention to restore it to the point where it could pass current electrical safety standards, but I will be making it as safe as possible, without losing any of the essential character of the original machine. This is not going to be for resale, so being safe to use is an acceptable compromise, in my opinion. I will however, perform testing on it once the electrical work is done, to make sure that the essential aspects of earth leakage, earth bonds and polarity etc. are passed. (PAT Testing included.)
Whilst this is not likely to turn into another example of a superb restoration of an Elma Super Elite (as seen elsewhere on these forums), I hope at least to have at the end of it, a perfectly serviceable watch cleaning machine, and a restoration story - of sorts - of a vintage piece of English watch making and servicing machinery.
So first off - the before pictures. This one is a good view of the machine and its cosmetic condition, as purchased. The base is a heavy, cast alloy jobbie, with its original crackle paint job beginning to flake away in places, where the years of cleaning chemicals have attacked it, but generally sound. The jars still had residues of cleaning and rinse chemicals present. The first wash jar (front left), was particularly grotty and can’t have been cleaned for years. Fairly ironic not to clean the thing, that cleans the things! Maybe it was just left unused and unloved for many years.
The mains cable was a cloth-bound type I have not seen in years and could well have been original as it still had the old UK wiring standard colours of red/black/green. Also adding to the vintage-ness, was a very old, Bakelite three pin plug. This must have been one of the first of its type as I have not seen one in brown Bakelite before! (And I am 62...)
Anyway, that’s enough for now, as I’m not even sure anyone wants to read much about such an old machine. If anyone is interested though, please add comments and I’ll add to the story as I make progress.
At the very least, I hope I have found a potential solution to finding/ making your own heating elements for these old machines, which could also include providing replacements for Elma Super Elite, RM80/90 HCS511 etc. Machines. More details later...
Hi all, long time lurker, first time poster
I've recently picked up an old Brenray cleaning machine that I want to get back in action. It's actually working perfectly - the motor spins and the heater heats up. However, it's very dirty and the paint is peeling off. I'm going to do a full clean, paint strip and repaint. I've had a look at a few of the older posts on this, so have an idea where I'm heading (I didn't want to hijack one of them!).
My main question regards the heating plate. There is a wired heating disc sandwiched between two heating square metal plates (iron I presume) with a bolt and nuts holding the three pieces together and securing it to the floor of the machine. As I said, the plate works and heats up, but the two plates, bolt and nuts are rusted solid. I sheared the end of the bolt off while trying to get the nut holding it to the floor off. A soak in deruster/wd40, replace the bolt, clean the plates and replace is one plan (please correct me if you think this might cause problems or damage the heating plate). The other is to get a replacement Elma heating pad which, at 80mm is about the same size. My question is this - will I need to get new metal (iron?) plates to reform the sandwich, or can that new plate go in on its own?
Also, the motor is running well, but it is filthy. What is the best way to approach this - I'm utterly ignorant here, so any tips or advice will be very much appreciated! I'll post some pics as I go along if people want to follow the process!
Thanks for reading!
Another question from a newbie: I have a rotating cleaning machine with three jars. In the first jar I have Sambol Platina 1:20, in the second jar Elma reinigungskonzentrat 1:9 for rinsing and in the third jar sterilized water. Thereafter the basket goes in the heater chamber.
My issue for now is that the first jar completely foams up. The jar is 3/5 full with the solvent but becomes completely foamed up. Is this a problem with the solvent or is it not actually a problem? I got this solvent from watch-tool.de
I know Mark has one of these machines, I recently purchased one myself, and its in dire need of restoring. I have stripped it down, and wish to rewire it and replace the ageing motor speed switch with a modern alternative, so could really do with a wiring diagram if anyone has one?
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No I don't have a cleaner, but I do have a tooth bush. I'll give it a try, thanks. I would like to say that I will do everything possible, even snip the band and spring bar in half before I would pry it off, because it can ruin a watch case if it gets stuck in there.
Do you have an ultrasonic cleaner? It will usually vibrate off. If you dont have one try holding something that vibrates with a high frequency (any electric motor eg elec toothbrush) next to the case and see if it comes loose. Good luck. Anilv
Sometimes a vintage watch will have no room to access the spring bar with a knife edge. And you have no choice but to pry the band off the watch. 99% of the time this is done without bad things happening. But you run the risk off the pin breaking off flush in the case lug hole and it is almost impossible to get out. Does anyone have a neat trick to remove it from the case lug hole?