Doorbell Affection

July 03, 2013   //  Posted in: Dainty Details   //  By: Emily   //  11 responses

I posted a photo of our doorbell a few weeks ago on Instagram. I also commented that its chime rang beautifully like the bells at St. Bonaventure. If I only  if I could reprogram it to play Michelle. Every hour. On the hour. Maybe I’m asking a lot out of this simple doorbell.

It’s the kind of mid-century authentic piece that I initially thought we’d modernize, but after hearing it, I changed my mind, and for now, we’ll leave it in all its long-chimed glory. Plus, it has a cool, mod face, and I can’t say no to it.

Our pretty mid-century doorbell chimes.

A few of you asked to hear it, and I finally took a moment to record it.

I’ve heard that I might actually be able to switch out the bell for another setting in the same unit, so I’ll be looking into that at some point too. Thanks for all of the tips, all of you knowledgeable people!

  • Katharine
    5 years ago - Reply

    Cool! You just can’t find this stuff anymore, so I’m glad you guys are keeping it. I think it’s missing a tone or two, though — the second and last notes aren’t playing — and the last note sounds slightly out of tune.

    • Emily
      5 years ago -

      Oh yeah? With a few extra notes it would sound a lot better.

  • craftyb
    5 years ago - Reply

    My grandmother had door chimes like those! I can’t stand the new tinny digital chimes- thankfully when we bought our house it came with “real chimes” (though without the hanging section). It would have been one of the first things I changed.

  • Karry
    5 years ago - Reply

    Go Bonnies!

  • Denise@BeBetsy
    5 years ago - Reply

    Love these old chimes – reminds me of our grandparents! So happy to see that you have kept it in the original condition. It’s a treasure.
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  • Sumshee
    4 years ago - Reply

    It is NOT missing the second and last notes, actually. There are four bells (notes) and the mechanism goes through them in two different orders. The solenoid…the electromagnetic striker… is not reacting. That might be from a bad wire connection or a bad spot on the cam which rotates one full turn each time the button is pushed outside. It then resets for another rotation when triggered again.
    It’s a very simple mechanism and if you carefully get a ladder and get up there, you should be able to remove the cover, usually by just lifting it off, and study it. I betcha you’ll see how it operates and beable to figure out what’s wrong on your own. Almost assuredly it runs off of low voltage, with the transformer in the basement or a closet…so this should all be safe to futz with.
    I believe the “tune” is the series of notes associated with Big Ben, in London.

  • Sumshee
    4 years ago - Reply

    …or the electromagnetic striker for that one bell (note), which is #2 and #4 in the two different squences, is just not freely “traveling” when asked to do so; it may be just sticky, or something might be otherwise preventing it from striking the bell.

  • Sumshee
    4 years ago - Reply

    …all that is based on what your bell system APPEARS to be and from what my experience tells me.
    I hope I am right…heehee.
    Don’t ever go and get rid of the unit. It is beautiful, simple, easy to fix once you understand how it works and it is a classic device.
    There is nothing better in an electronic replacement.

  • sarah
    4 years ago - Reply

    I was browsing through one of my favorite blogs and saw a surprisingly familiar doorbell in this time capsule house!

    • Emily
      4 years ago -

      That’s it!!

  • Tim
    4 years ago - Reply

    That’s model K48 Century, part of Nutone’s new post-war line and made for a number of years. I work on lots of these. Chime repair isn’t rocket science for a handy mechanic, but there are lots of ways for it to go very wrong. Let me know if you’d like my help.

    Tim /

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