About KNOCK Doorbells


Welcome to KNOCK Doorbells! Center of the doorbell universe? A fair claim, at least as far as interesting doorbells go. Where else can you find new handcrafted longbell chimes, restored vintage chimes, service on classic chimes, free info on how to repair and install vintage chimes and an historical perspective on the doorbell industry?

The idea here at KNOCK is that there is only one legitimate way for a doorbell to work- by one way or another to knock on real metal. Sure there are all kinds of white plastic boxes full of electronics that will play wav files of anything from the Brandenburg Concerto to Bart Simpson making a rude suggestion. All cool for those who want that, but that’s not what you’ll find here.

The company that makes NuTone and Broan products, the largest producer of doorbells today is officially on record as having the opinion that their customers prefer doorbells to be heard and not seen (Wall Street Journal 12/2/05) . Well you know what-- if my products looked like theirs I might agree. Looking at the progression of the door bell industry from its early days in the 1930s, it's clear that the doorbell producing companies were on a constant quest for cost reduction finding ever more clever ways to make chimes simpler- which in itself is a good thing. But at the same time the cosmetic features were also being cheapened and rendered in ever-devolving horrible taste, to the point that ambiguous white boxes became a welcome visual relief.
  Tim Wetzel, chimemaster, designer, mechanic, shipping engineering, technical advisor, purchasing agent, photographer, historian, writer and webmaster.

Now, for the most part, door bells are regarded as cheap utilitarian necessities that no one wants to see. The fact is that the large doorbell producers have turned what was once a high-visibility luxury item to an off-shore produced low-end commodity. That seems to work for the companies making doorbells today and in fact probably suits most of their customers. But for those rare people committed to style and quality, there is an alternative.

KNOCK started with a 1959 vintage NuTone Supreme that was original equipment here at KNOCK Headquarters, aka my home in Eureka California. It didn’t really fit with the décor scheme for our renovation plan, so I did some repair to it and sold it on eBay. Pleased with the way that went, I kept a lookout for more that I might restore and sell. After renovating many chimes in my own inventory as well as for my service customers, I have developed extensive knowledge of how they work, what goes wrong with them, and how to repair them.

After observing that demand for grand vintage longbell chimes exceeds the supply, it occurred to me that there is a market for top quality longbell chimes that provide the same presence and sound quantity as the old ones. So in addition to selling rare restored classics, I now produce new longbell chimes that meet or exceed the quality of vintage chimes.

If you have come to this site looking for repair advice, read on! Most of what I know about vintage chimes is covered in the Tech Info pages. If my experience is helpful to you for your renovation project, glad I could help. Or, if it all sounds like more than you care to take on, maybe you need my help. See the Restoration topic.

I am glad to share info, and happy to answer questions. All I ask in return is that you share any knowledge you have that will add to the collective know-how...that, and any leads on vintage chimes that are available, greatly appreciated.

I am a recovering collector. I love to buy things, but for me it’s all about catch and release now. I have many chimes currently in process and all are for sale. In a way, I have the largest collection of doorbells in the world... I keep it on the walls of homes across America.

If you seek a magnificently restored chime in perfect working order for your wall, check out my vintage chimes for sale page. If you are looking for the very best in stylish new chimes, see the new chimes for sale page.


  KNOCK Doorbells | Portland Oregon