Let's Talk Turkey about a Unique Doorbell

Posted on September 11, 2014 by Robert Dobrin | 0 Comments

Right Around the time Sophie Cubbison invented packaged poultry stuffing in the early 1930's, Joseph Klein patented a long chime doorbell with a concealed mechanism that he marketed under the Velvatone name.

With success from popularizing her stuffing, Mrs. Cubbison built a spectacular Spanish Revival home in Los Angeles' Mt. Washington neighborhood. 

Mrs. Cubbison helped design the two-story house, dubbed "Casa de Mi Sueño," or "My Dream House." It is considered "much more convincing than most of the 19th-century adobes," according to David Gebhard and Robert Winter's "An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles."

The home features oak doors, custom iron work and stone floors. And it has a unique chime niche that measures an unusually narrow five inches wide and 50 inches tall.

Even after a meticulous restoration, the doorbell niche remained empty until the current owner contacted ElectraChime. With some internet sleuthing, the owner had determined the original chime was likely one of Mr. Klein's Velvatone doorbells as the missing mechanism appeared to have been recessed at the top of the niche. Another clue being that Velvatone had a sales office in Los Angeles. 

Alas, Velvatone was an also ran in doorbells. Today, as Mrs Cubbison might have quipped, Velvatone doorbells are about as common as hen's teeth.

With a surviving Velvatone catalog from the ElectraChime collection for reference, we determined the original chime was almost certainly a single bell model. Armed with this information and an original patent drawing, ElectraChime built a highly credible reproduction to do the niche proud. 

Once more, the Cubbison house has all the trimmings.

If you are looking for a special custom doorbell for your own home contact us. 

 


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Posted in Custom, customer photo, history, Velvatone

Best to Check with the Boss First

Posted on August 07, 2014 by Robert Dobrin | 0 Comments

Photo courtesy of R. Ogden

When Rusty Ogden first contacted ElectraChime with a few questions, he wasn't quite sure which ElectraChime would work best in their Texas home. Rusty wisely deferred to "The Boss" who selected a Coronet with three brass bells.

She made the right choice, don't you think?


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Posted in Brass bells, Coronet, customer photo

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