Skip to content

Rittenhouse Prelude

Rittenhouse Prelude Model Model 550

Rittenhouse Prelude Resonator Door Chime

Rittenhouse Prelude Door Chime 1956

This combined door chime and dinner call was released simultaneous to the Rittenhouse Precedent. Both were designed by Jean O. Reinecke. This chime was made possible by the then newly-developed Rittenhouse Master Model Controller which could be located discreetly and remotely from the chime.

Reinecke chose to proudly display the polished chime bars instead of hiding them beneath the cover as with most Resonator door chimes. The instructions most likely included a melody book for inspiration as to how to use the mallet for household signaling.

The chime was described in a 1956 merchandise catalog:

Prelude—New, combination electric door chime and dinner chime. Original, different and doubly useful. Makes an ideal gift. Automatically plays choice of 4 or 8-note richly toned melodies for the front door single note for the rear door. Felt mallet is used to play a variety of tunes for announcing dinner and for other household signalling. Makes an attractive accessory for the dining room but can be installed in any location. Sound bars are finished in polished brass with individually tuned sound chambers mounted on hand rubbed walnut base

Today, there are more surviving examples of the Prelude so it’s safe to conclude it sold better than the Precedent. The Prelude was included in the Sears Roebuck Catalog for a few years beginning in 1964. This additional visibility and lower price point no doubt contributed to the Prelude’s relative success.

      Rittenhouse Prelude MP4

13 thoughts on “Rittenhouse Prelude”

    1. Hello Janet, the Prelude has long been discontinued. Your best bet is to find one on eBay or another secondary marketplace. Make sure you get one with the Master Controller. Sadly, most are missing the controller.

      Some of the later models had an integrated sequencer on the back of the unit.

      Most all are missing the original mallet however a suitable replacement can be had at any music store.

      Expect to pay $400 to $600 for a working Prelude in good operating condition.

  1. I have this door chime in my house an am trying to pair it with a Nest doorbell camera. Do you have any idea what voltage the doorbell has? I haven’t yet found the Mater Controller.

  2. The Prelude chime uses a motorized remote sequencer. I do not believe Nest video doorbells do not support these sorts of chimes.

  3. Does this need to pair with a specified doorbell? I bought a house with this model but the doorbell on the front of the house is missing

  4. I am also wondering if this 550 supports Ring doorbells. Also, where to find the time bars. We just purchased a home with one that works, however is missing the bottom tone bar. Super neat!

  5. Hello, I hope someone can help me. We are selling my parents home. I have removed the Rittenhouse Master Model 550 and 551 prelude mondel door chime. Where, in the house, do i find the master control box so i can remove it and take it with me?
    Thank you

    1. Hello, internet connected doorbell buttons like Nest and your Prelude are not to my knowledge, compatible with motorized chimes. Unless the manufacturer of the video button has a workaround, you’ll have to choose one of the other.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *