See and Hear: Doorbell Demonstrators.

Posted on July 31, 2014 by Robert Dobrin | 0 Comments

Remember visiting the hardware department with your father and then wondering off to play with the doorbell display? Oh how we must have drove those store clerks to distraction by pushing all the buttons! 

Door Chimes are meant to be heard and seen, so naturally customers needed to know what they sounded like and working displays were common. 

Door chime displays  range from simple counter-top mechanical demonstrators to wall dominating extravaganzas like these 1930s Rittenhouse demonstrators. 

Today, through the magic of the internet, you can hear just how delightful ElectraChime long tubular bells sound. Of course, the online experience is only as good as the speakers on your phone, tablet or computer. We believe ElectraChimes sound best in person.

So go ahead, press play to hear our doorbells. Better still, click on any of photos in our catalog and see for yourself how great ElectraChimes look, and sound. 


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Posted in Demonstrator, Display, ElectraChime, history

Doorbells and Glamour. Avon Calling.

Posted on July 08, 2014 by Robert Dobrin | 0 Comments

 

One of the most successful advertising campaigns ever involved doorbells. Anybody that watched TV or picked up a magazine during the 1950's and 1960's will remember images of the cheerful Avon Lady and her signature ringing of the doorbell.

Avon even furnished representatives with novelty mechanical doorbells they could use during sales calls. These sales aides were cleverly adapted door mounted doorbells.

The ubiquitous television commercials featured a melodious "ding-dong" with a long resonance that could only have been produced by long tubular bells. 


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Doorbell Ingenuity in St. Louis

Posted on June 19, 2014 by Robert Dobrin | 0 Comments

Photos courtesy of Dave B

Here's an inside and outside view of Dave and Lisa's doorbell system at their charming St. Louis cottage. The doorbell button is just beneath the electrically illuminated house numbers. And the whole number panel is hinged to serve as a letter slot for the mail. A three in one. 

Of course, we're equally partial to the ElectraChime Empire door chime with Seashell inlay with brass bells in the niche. It's a perfect choice for a traditional decor. 


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Posted in customer photo, doorbell niche, ElectraChime, Empire, history

Arched Doorbell Niche sports a customized ElectraChime

Posted on June 13, 2014 by Robert Dobrin | 0 Comments

Photos courtesy of K. Beck

Here's one of my favorite doorbell niche treatments. Painting a light background contrasted with a tasty wall color really frames the doorbell. K. Beck of Portland, Oregon, wanted a doorbell that complimented her taste for her mid-century renovation: 

I’m a big fan of restoring older homes. I like updates that incorporate modern functionality, but retain the charm of the past. Electrachime was a perfect solution for that. We have Mahogany woodwork throughout our house and Robert was kind enough to match the stain of our woodwork so it fit perfectly.

We have a lot of artwork in our home, so it was important to select neutral wall colors to allow the artwork and decor, like the chimes, to become the feature points. The wall color in our entryway is a Benjamin Moore color called Alexander Beige (HC-77) and the color for the ceiling and chime niche are an older Behr color called Clear Moon (PWN-30).

We are thrilled and delighted with out new chimes. Renovations can be really challenging. Lots of things go wrong, take longer then you expect, or cost a lot more than estimate. ElectraChime was willing to customize the wood and the product arrived quicker than expected and on budget, it was easy to install, and it is a great finishing touch to our entryway. Color me a big fan!

This chime is a customized Ribbon doorbell in Mahogany. If you are interested in your own custom doorbell, please let us know. We're here to help.

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Posted in Custom, customer photo, doorbell niche, ElectraChime, Mid Century, Ribbon

Zen and the Art of Ringing Doorbells

Posted on May 29, 2014 by Robert Dobrin | 0 Comments

There's an entire feedback loop involved in ringing a doorbell.

You may not have thought much about the simple act of ringing a doorbell. However, when you break it down into the experience for the caller outside the home, and the residents inside, there's quite a bit to it.

When you ring somebody's doorbell, you are asking to be invited into their home. You want to make a good impression, and so does the host. From the callers perspective, you want the doorbell to be heard outside of the house so you are certain the occupants have actually been summoned. Think back on how many times you have rung a doorbell only to knock because you didn't know whether the doorbell was working?

  As the occupant behind the front door, you obviously need to hear the doorbell. But you don't want the sound to assault your ears. And you want your guests to have a good impression and a pleasant wait.

A long chime doorbell provides the best possible experience for all concerned. The luxurious long notes are loud enough to be heard outside so it makes your house sound welcoming. Inside the house, you and your family are alerted of guests by the harmonious sound of real bells.

  And when you greet your guests and they finally see your elegant doorbell, the Zen is complete.  An anonymous 1930s long chime doorbell copywriter summed it this way:

 
"A thrill for the visitor, satisfaction and pride for the owner... rich, melodious tones that vibrate throughout the house. Callers do not soon forget so distinctive a greeting." 


There is a certain Zen to it, don't you think?

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Posted in door bells vs door chimes, feedback loop, history, zen

Noise Enemy Number 1—Door Chimes vs Doorbells

Posted on May 22, 2014 by Robert Dobrin | 0 Comments

In the 1930s, doorbells that rang like an alarm were considered at best, annoying, and at worst, as dangerous to ones health. After electric lights, doorbells were often the second residential electrical appliance in a home.  Early doorbells were exactly that:  bells which sounded like a fire alarm. Thus door chimes were marketed to combat  "Public Noise Enemy #1" and calm "Doorbell Nerves".

Sure, early doorbells alerted you that somebody was at the door but it was like hitting you over the head with a hammer!. In the 1930s door chimes saved the day by treating the world to a much more pleasant sound by striking one or more tubular bells or metal xylophone-like tone bars.

Today, door chimes produce the ubiquitous "ding-dong" sound we know today.  For more on the subject of door chimes vs doorbells,  please see the article on my sister site, the Doorbell Museum.


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Posted in Door bell nerves, door bells vs door chimes, DoorbellMuseum.org, history

Long Chime Doorbells in Movies and Television

Posted on May 08, 2014 by Robert Dobrin | 0 Comments

Doorbells frequently turn up in TV shows, movies and the theater. If you spot one, let me know.

More often than not and unsurprisingly, their sound is used to announce a visitor. Sometimes, set decorators use doorbells to speak silently to the circumstances and set a mood. In the Wonder Years (ABC 1988-1993) a long chime doorbell is featured in a scene where Kevin and Paul get home from school and converse with Paul's family from the Pfeiffer hallway.

The characters lived in ranch style homes typical of the millions built in post war America. We all related to Kevin, his friends and family because so many of us grew up in just such houses.

In a stroke of brilliance the producers kept the show's setting ambiguous while taking extraordinary care to  precisely reproduce homes of the period. This enabled us to relate the characters to our own experiences as we picked out furnishings we remember from growing up in  Mid Century Modest surroundings.

In Edward Albee's absurdist play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, a long chime doorbell has a stronger supporting role. The chimes are used to illustrate the fractious relationship of the characters with faith and each other.

The doorbell is at various times rung and violently bumped to advance the plot. At left, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton perform in front of the doorbell in the 1966 Warner Brothers film adaptation. 

ElectraChime doorbells have been used as stage props in a number of Virginia Woolf productions including a notable 2007 revival at the Sydney Theatre Company.

If you are producing "Woolf", ask us about prop rentals.


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Posted in Mid Century, Movies, Television, Theater