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Old August 6, 2011, 04:46 PM   #1
CrustyFN
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Any idea?

I took the MIL's Grandmother clock to the jewelers today so it could be cleaned and given the once over. While I was there he pulled two lead bars out of the bottom and gave them to me. He said he didn't know what they were there for but he sure didn't need them. The two lead bars were taped together so you couldn't read anything. When I got home and cut the tape I opened them up and on the bottom it said "Bell System Wiring Solder". Anybody have any idea what this is. Each bar weighs around five pounds and I haven't had a chance to run them through the hardness tester yet.



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Old August 6, 2011, 06:34 PM   #2
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Ma Bell left some telephone wiring solder out for ya! No idea what the composition is, though.
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Old August 6, 2011, 07:27 PM   #3
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Thats neat you are not melting them to cast are you? That would in my oppinion be a waste of something.
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Old August 6, 2011, 11:34 PM   #4
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Bell used 63/37 for their wiring, It started out as 60/40 but it was non-eutectic and only lasted 3 to 4 years before separating from the material it was soldered to. The 63/37 was a lot more stable. It was probably put in your clock to stabilize it and to prevent normal room vibrations from affecting the timing of it. If it was your grandmothers your folks and aunts and uncles running around the house just being kids probably had the old clock jumping and twitching nervously. A herd of kids will do that to any delicate mechanism.
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Old August 7, 2011, 06:39 PM   #5
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I found out it's not wiring solder, it's wiping solder. From what I have been hearing it can be any where from 80/20 to 60/40. I don't think I am going to melt it, I will just hold on to it.
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Old August 7, 2011, 07:59 PM   #6
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Ok, you lost me - what's "wiping solder"? Seriously, never heard the term before. I agree, cool enough to hang on to.
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Old August 7, 2011, 08:18 PM   #7
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I did a Yahoo search, pretty interesting. I also have a hard time finding a good (cheap!) source of tin, I think I'd save one bar to add to my shooting bench curios. The rest would go a long ways in curing my ww's slight lead deficiency.
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Old August 7, 2011, 09:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Ok, you lost me - what's "wiping solder"? Seriously, never heard the term before. I agree, cool enough to hang on to.
I got this answer on another forum.

Quote:
Hi Rusty, that's wiping solder, good stuff. All phone cables used to have a lead outside sheath. Any where the cables need a splice, the copper wiring that was spliced which had paper or later pulp insulation was coated several different ways.

This was covered with cotton muslin and covered with a lead sleeve. Depending on the size of the splice it may or may not have had solid lead end plates that were made to fit the size of the cables. This lead sleeve was soldered to the end plates by a means called wiping. Molten solder was poured with agood size ladel out of a pot that probably held 35 to 50lbs of solder. As it was poured it was caught on the bottom side in a large wiping pad to be held against the bottom of the sleeve. When the whole joint was hot enough. The joint was smoothed over to a perfect water and air proof joint. Then you did the other end.

Solder was also used for dipping twisted copper wire spliced joints in and then the excess was shaken off and waxed cotten insulating sleeves were applied.

Probably more info than you wanted.

ETA Yes I think most was 60/40 solder although they did use smaller pieces of 50/50 to as a sealing solder and make the joints shiny.
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