V.&E. Friedland – General Electric Maestro Door Chime with Vibrato Resonance
The Friedland-General Electric Maestro door chime plays an eight-note Westminster sequence with a “Vibrato Resonance” feature unique to this chime.
The styling is a tasteful later mid-century treatment. The walnut finished case frames a matte black field with a gold disk. The overall effect is a higher end execution of the similarly styled Friedland Warbler (1969). The Maestro case is reminiscent of Gold Record Awards that decorate the walls of successful recording artists.
The mechanism is a typical motor-driven chime with contacts arranged radially on a circuit board. The contacts are closed in turn by a rotating commutator to energize various solenoids to play the eight note melody. The vibrato feature is achieved by means of an ingenious belt driven system that rotates butterfly valves in front of the resonator chambers thus altering the sound waves.
This example was branded in the United States by the General Electric Company. The box is dated 1985, although the Maestro was marketed under the Friedland name in the U.S. at least a decade earlier. Friedland most likely partnered with General Electric for access to GE’s U.S. distribution system. In Great Britain, this chime was marketed as the “Friedland 603 Westminster.”
Friedland was a skilled and successful exporter with chimes from their Stockport factory sold all over the world as evidenced by the wordless schematic wiring diagram with musical notations molded into the motor dust cover.
General Electric might have done a better job marketing the Maestro if it had played up the “Vibrato Resonance” as the earlier Friedland advertsing had. General Electric didn’t even bother to highlight the feature on the box which describes the calls as “Grand 8-note ‘overture’ signal plus two separate 1-note signals.” The British packaging similarly neglected the vibrato feature.
Let ‘Em In, a 1976 recording by Paul McCartney and Wings featured the sound of a Friedland Maestro during the intro.
Our 1953 home has a working doorbell “made in England by V & E Friesland Ltd. For General Electric Co. Warwick RI” Brass plate says “No 106. 8-10 v AC 6vDC Nicht Olen Ne Pas Huiler”
We were wondering WHEN this device was manufactured, where in England, and what the tune is, if any? Thanks!
I’ll need to see photos in order to identify your chime. Thanks.
I have this door chime and enjoyed reading about it on your site. Mine only went ding-dong. After I read this, I took the cover off, moved some connections around and I got it to play the tune, which sounded awesome, but it wouldn’t stop playing it over and over. It looks like you have a picture of the manual – does it have an explanation of the wiring? I seem to have a lot more wires coming from the wall than expected…
We have this fried land 603 chiming doorbell. It’s stopped working and I see that inside there are two pulley wheels missing the band. I found the band which has just perished due to age.
We’d like to get this working again as I suspect it was fitted when our house was built in 1969.
Do you know what I could use to replace the band and how tight it should be?
I can’t see either if the wheels turning when the bell is pressed but this was working well until very recently.
Thank you in anticipation.
I do have photographs but don’t seem to be able to post them on this page.
We need some parts replaced in our doorbell. Are there any available anywhere?
Sorry, I do not know of a source for parts. You probably have to scavenge from another chime.