The NBC Chimes Museum A Celebration Of Old–Time Radio’s Most Famous Signature
the deagan 20 dinner chime
The deagan no 20 dinner chime was near the top of the Deagan line. The Deagan 20 boasted four chime plates, tuned to Middle C, F, A, and C an octave above Middle C. These plates were mounted above a segmented wooden resonator that was, depending on production period, anywhere from 23/4 to three inches tall. Because of its low pitch and spacious resonator, the tones emanating from this set of dinner chimes are extremely full–bodied and mellow, with excellent resonance and a long decay time.
Deagan promotional materials boasted that the No 20 was to be found on high class steamships, on luxury trains, and on radio stations. The last one was certainly true, for it was the Deagan No 20 that is heard playing the NBC chimes on nearly all recordings from 1931 through 1933. The Deagan No 20 sold for $12.50.
A five–tone version was also manufactured, and this was the Deagan No 21 Dinner Chime. This was the exact same construction and sound quality, only it had an additional F chime plate an octave above the second plate. The No 21 was Deagan's best and most expensive model, selling for $15.00—and even then, the 21 was also available in a fancy carved cabinet, for $18.00; this was sold as the Deagan 22. The sound was exactly the same as that of the 20 or 21.