Skip to content

Rittenhouse King Edward Model 420

Rittenhouse King Edward Model 420

Rittenhouse King Edward 1949

This deluxe Rittenhouse chime is a 1943 Norman Bel Geddes design. Production began post-war. It’s described in a 1949 Rittenhouse Catalog:

Superb Westminster chime for discriminating home owners. Graceful brushed brass tubes are suspended below a lovey, soft-blue plate-glass mirror. Exactly the same chime mechanism that is used on the Queen Anne Model. This provides a choice of three, different, 4 and 8 note melodies for the front door signal, and also a 2 note and a single-note signal for rear door and other purposes. One of the front door melodies available is is a 4-note novelty tune that provides something different for use on party nights. Rittenhouse Volume Control permits adjusting the tone to any desired level. Comes complete with special 24-volt transformer.

The 420 mechanism is sophisticated. The bells are hung so the first and third bell may be rung for a two note signal for a rear or second door by means of a horizontally sprung solenoid. Three multi-note melodies may be selected with a lever control and the volume adjusted with a potentiometer. The primary melody is an eight note Westminster peal and the second melody are the first four notes. The “Party” melody is from the Irving Berlin song: “The Near Future” colloquially known as “How Dry I am,” also featured in the TeleChime Aristocrat.

The melodies are accomplished by arranging contacts around separate tracks energized by a commutator. Only one set of contacts is powered depending on the position of the melody selector lever.

      King Edward Party Melody

A silver plate-glass mirror version superseded the original blue version as no mention is made of the “soft-blue plate-glass mirror” in catalog entries after 1949. Rittenhouse may have wanted a more neutral color and/or changed vendors as the silver museum specimen is marked on the back, Semon Bache, New York City EVALAST and dated 11/25/1950. The Blue version does not have Semon Bache marks. Semon Bache was a leading manufacturer of fine glass products often used in Mid Century Furnishings. Rittenhouse apparently contracted with the firm for the distinctive mirror component of the King Edward.