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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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,
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
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.