Grandmother clock

Last Edited By Krjb Donovan
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2014 07:38 PM GMT

Question

QUESTION: have recently purchased a grandmother clock have balanced it up at side and front, but the pendulum stops swinging after about 30 seconds.all the chimes work etc what can i do to keep it working?

ANSWER: Vanessa, I don't know if this is a new clock, or if it isn't, what the history might be as far as it running or not before you bought it. If it is new, you might want to ask the store from which you bought it. This is only for warranty issues, as I don't mind helping you at all. I will just give you a series of steps to check it out. Go through these steps and see if it works. If not, get back with me and we will see what else we can do. It would help if I had a photo of the back of the movement showing the pendulum hanging arrangement or at least the model of the movement and information, which on modern production clocks is usually found on the back plate of the movement.



THE FIRST LEVEL IS THE SETUP.

For Floor Clocks If the clock is in operating condition but not working, I would check the stability of the clock in that it doesn't rock or wobble on the floor. It should be relatively level. The level is not critical, as setting the beat (below) will correct for this.

Next, verify that the weights are hung correctly. On most clocks the weights vary in weight. The general rule is that if two weights are equal, the third weight, if it is heavier, goes on the right side (as you face the clock). If the third weight is lighter, it goes on the left.

Is the pendulum hanging configuration correct? This means that the suspension spring, hanger, verge and pendulum are all connected properly with nothing broken, especially the suspension spring. When the pendulum swings, it should be "in beat", meaning that when the pendulum swings you hear an even tick....tock....tick....tock. If it is uneven, like tick..tock......tick..tock, the clock will probably stop. Most later model movements have an "auto-beat" mechanism. The beat can be set by holding the pendulum over to one side next to the case and releasing it. It will automatically correct itself. If it does not have this feature, the escapement crutch will have to be slipped manually. If required, I would need a good description of the verge and hanger mechanism or a photo of the back of the movement to give you instructions for that. Also check to see if the hands are catching on each other or the dial. Look at the chime and strike hammers to see if they are all in alignment at the rest position. Sometimes jammed hammers or the drive mechanisms will stall the clock.

For Mantle or Wall Clocks The clock should be stable and not wobble or rock. There should be an even beat. If not, wall clocks can be set in beat by moving the bottom of the clock to one side or the other. Some wall clocks have the auto-beat adjustment. Mantle clocks can be shimmed up on one side or the other to obtain an even beat. These methods work if the beat is not off too much. If the out-of-beat condition of these clocks are excessive, other adjustments have to be made.


THE SECOND LEVEL INCLUDES MAINTENANCE

Usually, the first symptom of a clock failing is that the chime and/or strike mechanisms slow down and then fail altogether. At this point the clock needs to be serviced. This includes cleaning, inspecting, oiling and adjusting. In the inspection, the movement is checked for adjustments, broken or worn parts. If there are any broken or worn parts, we go to the third level. If all parts are okay, a good clock oil and grease is used. In most cases the movement should be removed from the case to have access to all the lubrication points. Clock lubricants can be bought from clock suppliers. Using lubricants for other applications can cause problems, as some lubricants are not compatible with others. This even applies to different clock oils. After lubricating, the operation is checked for final adjustments. I recommend maintenance be performed every 7 to 10 years.


THE THIRD LEVEL IS REPAIR.

This requires that the movement be broken down and all parts inspected and repaired or replaced, and then reassembled lubricated, adjusted and tested. I do not recommend this except by an experienced clockmaker.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: when i swing the pendulum it goes tick.tock.....tick.tock for 30 odd seconds and then stops. i have only just purchased it, in the warehouse where i bought it, it was working.

Answer

Did you go through the steps outlined in the first level above? I need to know what you have done in addition to swinging the pendulum?. If you have done all of this, would it be possible for you to send me a clear digital photo of the back of the clock movement with the pendulum assembly shown. My shop email address is below.



Question

after setting the time, how do you set the weights to keep it going & tell the exact time. when I do it the time is always off about 15 min. or so then it eventially stops. can you give me any suggestions how to set it up from the beginning.

                thank you-----Paul

Answer

Paul, there are many different types of grandmother clocks, and since I don't know the model of the movement, my answer will be rather general. The weights are wound by pulling the chains (or if it is a cable type, the crank is wound) until the weights are at the top. A general rule is that if one weight is heavier than the other two equal ones, it is hung on the right (as you face the clock). If one weight is lighter than the other two equal ones, it is hung on the left. There are occasionally some variations to this. I don't know exactly what you mean by it being off 15 minutes. Do you mean it chines and strikes 15 minutes off? If so, it is probable that the minute hand at some time has fallen off and been reinstalled at the incorrect position. It fits on a square shaft and only one position is correct. To correct this, stop the pendulum, turn the minute hand through the chimes and hour until it chimes and strikes the hour. Count the number of strikes. Without turning anything on the clock, remove the minute hand nut and the minute hand. Reinstall the minute hand so it points to the hour and install and tighten the nut. If the hour hand is not pointing to the hour that just struck, slip it around to that number. Then use the minute hand to set the clock to the correct time. Start the pendulum and listen for the tick tock. It should be even and sound like tick....tock....tick....tock. If it goes tick..tock......tick..tock, it is out of beat and will stop In this case the escapement mechanism will need to be adjusted. As I do not know the model of the movement, I cannot tell you exactly how to do this. If you reply to my shop email address below with the information you find on the back plate of the clock movement, I can identify it and send you some adjustment instructions along with a troubleshooting list. If you can include a clear photo of the back of the movement showing the pendulum hanging arrangement, that would be a big help.



Question

I overwound my grandmother clock and now it keeps stopping about every 10 minutes or so. It is still chiming correctly every 15 min. and on the hour it strikes the right time. Can you offer any advice

Answer

Paul, I doubt you overwound your clock. Being a grandmother clock it could be a spring driven or weight driven. And is it a floor clock? You did not say. I receive a lot of questions from Internet and shop customers that say that the clock was just overwound. The only way I consider a clock being overwound is that if a spring wound clock is wound so tightly that the key bends or breaks or something snaps inside the movement. On weight driven floor clocks (and some wall clocks) I have only found a couple that were actually pulled and jammed so tight that the weight hook had wedged in the board that the movement mounts on. The problem you have is probably that the pendulum/escapement was knocked out of beat. A clock in beat sounds like tick....tock....tick....tock. If it is out of beat it will go tick..tock......tick..tock and eventually stop. The more modern pendulum floor clocks have an auto beat feature. The pendulum is held over to one side and released. As is overswings, the beat is set as the pendulum swing narrows down until it is running at its normal swing. If it is not an auto beat, you have to slip the escapement mechanism by slipping it over to one side or the other until you hear an even beat. If you do not hear the beat at all, there could be another problem (If it is not working at all the pendulum will swing for a few minutes. If you will get the information off the back plate of the clock movement and send it to my shop email address below, I can probably identify it and give you more information, along with a photo showing the adjustment.


Note: Because of my commitment to answering Allexperts questions within a prescribed time limit and the large backlog of clock work at my shop, I regret that I cannot answer personal email questions on a timely basis.

Question

I have a Grand Mother clock on the back movement plate the numbers 27514 Made by the colonial MFG Missing the Pendulum long story about that but any information I can send you Pictures of the back Plate initals HWN any help would be great thanks

Answer

Joe, the numbers or initials are not familiar to me. If you could send a clear photo to my email address below of the movement, I could probably find you a pendulum. Would it be a wood stick pendulum with a brass bob or a decorative metal rod lyre pendulum?




Question

I have a 40-year-old Colonial Mfg. Co. grandmother clock (movement 1752, dial DC) which is not working. During a move, all the "innards" were removed, and we've tried to put them back correctly. The chains had slipped from the gears; we put them back on and actually had it running for a minute...but alas, no more. We're considering selling it, as it's in good shape but no longer fits in our home. We're debating about getting it fixed (or continuing to try to fix it ourselves) or trying to sell it as is. Obviously a working clock is worth more; any sense of how much more or how much it might cost to repair it? Or perhaps there's something more we can do here. Thanks so much for the benefit of your expertise.

Answer

Hi Lori, here are the magic ifs: If it was running before the move and if I were in the area, I would put the clock back together and get it running for about $75.00. I say "if" because I don't know what clock repair people charge in your area. Prices could range from $50 to $150 (and beyond) for this job. The range of selling price also varies by geographic location and the probability of finding the right buyer. However I'll throw some prices out there. I have seen non working grandmother clocks sell for $40 to $150. Working ones generally bring $250 to $400.


Question

QUESTION: Hello, we have a grandmother clock, with three weights, we got this from an auction, the clock is working well, but I cannot move the chain for the weight to go up again once it reaches the bottom, have you any suggestions as to why, and when do I pull the chain?. Hope you can help. Regards Patricia.

ANSWER: My first thought is that the chain has jumped off its cogs. If so the chain would need to be restrung. Another thought is that the chain has become twisted. To correct you would have to jockey the shain around untill it hangs properly. Without further information I hesitate to make other suggestions. You mention three weights are present, is the problem associated to one, two or three of the chains. At what position do they hang up? Are the weights hung to their proper chains? Tell me more about this, so that I might help you. ---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your speedy reply re our grandmother clock. We had a clock repairer in the put the chains on correctly, but he said that the clock would not work, because it was dry and needed a service, which would cost ?170 pounds, apart from the ?30 we paid for the chains being put on, being pensioners we could not afford this on top of the ?110 we paid for it at auction, so we carefully sprayed a little WD40 on all the inner workings, and off it went, the only problems we have now is that it is loosing time, we have tried to ajust the pendulum (but it has the little screw at the base missing), but that does not seem to work, also the quarter chimes sound sick, the hour chime is fine. Do you have any suggestions for this problem. Thanks

ANSWER: WD-40 is indeed a superior product, unfortunately it is about the worst thing that can be used to lubricate a clock. Clock lubricants are designed to be used in very small quantities and to cling to the surfaces to which they are applied. WD-40 is compounded to do the exact opposite. You need to flush the WD-40 out and apply a proper clock lubricant. Lubricating kits are available on the inter-net at fairly reasonable cost. One such kit can be found at, http://howtorepairclocks.com/clock-oil.html This kit not only provided the proper lubricant, it also provides instructions. Cost is about 10GBS + shipping and handling. Such kits last for many years. However no lubricant will work as long as WD-40 is present. IT MUST BE FLUSHED OUT!!! I am sorry find you in such a predicament. I do hope it works out well. ---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Oh dear we seem to have done a very wrong thing, please can you tell us how to flush out the WD 40?.We will get that kit. Regards Patricia.

Answer

To me there is only one way to remove WD-40 from a clock movement and that is to take the clock completely apart, clean, restore and polish each and every part. I would not suggest you try this yourselves, that is a job for a professional. As a probable effective alternative I would suggest you ask google or bing, "how to remove WD-40 from a clock" Peruse the resulting sites to find an alternative that you would feel comfortable with. I particularly recommend a site provided by The National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC). The site will not provide you with a solution, it will explain why WD-40 is a problem. In truth I feel the manufacturer should have a suitable warning on their label. Be that as it may, I wish you luck and I truly wish I could help you.

Question

QUESTION: I have a grandmother clock that i shipped from overseas and they took off the weights and unhooked the chains etc. for moving purposes. I don't remember how to get it put back together to get it working and I can't afford to have someone from clock repair to come and fix it. Can you help?

ANSWER: I can help you but need to know exactly what we are dealing with. Are the chains still on the clock?


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: yes the chains are still on.

ANSWER: Check the chains to be sure they are firmly on the chain gears. They must go all the way over the top and back down the other side. If they are hung over the edge of the gear the weight will fall down after the clock runs for a bit. Hang the heaviest weight on the right side as you face the clock. The lightest weight goes on the left and the third weight goes in the middle. The pendulum hangs from the leader (the leader is a thin piece about 4" long that hangs down from the top of the movement in the back. The pendulum top will match the bottom of the leader. It might be a split hook onto a pin or it could be a solid hook onto a hole at the bottom of the leader. Give the pendulum an easy push and hopefully it will start ticking. Advance the minute hand stopping at each quarter to let the chimes run. Let me know if you run into any troubles.

www.norkro.com clock parts and repair


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Here's my problem: I got the two chains hanging on the chain gears so i have 4 chains hanging down (4 halves altogether makes 2 chains#. I only have two weights and one pendulum. Is that possible or am i missing a weight? When you say to hang the third weight in the middle--well I have 2 chains hanging down in the middle-so if I had a 3rd weight(which I don't)which middle chain would it hang from?

Answer

Perhaps your clock is designed for two weights (time and strike). 2 chains and 2 weights are correct. One side of each chain should have a hook for the weight to hang from. Be sure that the hook is on the correct side before you put the weight on or it will zip right down to the bottom of the case. The side without the hook should pull down to lift the weight. If the hook is on the wrong side, open up the chain link take the hook off and switch it with the solid end on the other side. Let me know if you need more help.


Question

MY WIFE HAS INHERITED A GRANDMOTHER CLOCK AND THE SUSPENSION SPRING HAS BROKEN I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHERE I CAN PURCHASE ONE MODEL# 4871 ON THE BACK OF CLOCK IS BARWICK CLOCKS DIVISION OF HOWARD MILLER CLOCK COMPANY ZEELAND MICHIGAN

Answer

sus. spring

If you call Merritt's Antiques they should be able to help you out. 610-689-9541. They have their catalog online at www.merritts.com Look up part #P21.2 - #2 Suspension Spring This should be close. They sell for $2.25 plus shipping.

Porter

Ithaca Calendar Clock Co., Inc.

Question

QUESTION: The chimes on my clock are off, they chime about 5 minutes before the hands reach the quarter minutes. It is a Tempas Fugit, no pendelum, I wind it once a week. Can you advise me as how to get it to chime when it is suppose to?? Thank you

ANSWER: Tempus Fugit is a dial style, not the name of the clock. It is a Latin phrase meaning "time flys". Presuming your clock to be pretty standard here is how you would correct this problem. Looking at the clock you will find the minute hand is secured to its shaft by a hand nut. Stop the clock, remove the hand nut and the minute hand. Turn the minute hand over in your hand and you will note that the square hole that position the hand on its shaft is in the form of a pressed in bushing. Take a pair of pliers and turn that bushing so that when the hand is returned to its shaft it is in a position 5 minute later than when you removed it. This will likely take quite a few trial before you get it right. When the correction is achieved, secure the hand to its shaft with the hand nut. Start the clock and reset to correct time. That should do it. ---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Do I understand that the back of the second hand is the flat side with the front being raised? If so then do I turn the bushing on the flat side? Once it "sets" on the 5 minutes later position I can assume it is fixed? Thank you for your patience and your answer.

Answer

No! Just the opposite, the back has the raised bushing, and it makes no difference from which side you turn, it is just much easier from the projecting side. And, yes, that should do the job for you. Problems such as this are frequently caused by turning the hands backwards. Regards WJP.

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