1920s German Tall Case Questions

MuensterMann

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Mar 23, 2008
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I have a tall-case clock was made by Lorenz Furtwängler Söhne, in Furtwangen, Germany in the Late 1920s. The front of the movement is shown below.

There are two pins on the center shaft that lift the series of levers to start the strike. One for half hour and one for hour. They were not lifting the levers enough to start the strike. So, the only point of adjustment was the pins - to bend them slightly to get more lift. Now, I am getting the hour strike, but not the half hour. I am not sure if I can bend it any more, but I will try. The issue is that the pin should be horizontal normally, the slight bend is slanting it and hitting the first lever differently each time. Is there another point where I can adjust? I know, hard to add material to those metal levers! I was thinking to perhaps put a sleeve over the half hour pin to make its diameter thicker. What tricks do you know of? Thanks!

front movement.jpg
 

MuensterMann

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Will, thanks for mentioning this - as it makes sense and I didn't think about it. The main arbor is relatively stable in the front bushing. However, there is slight play that could be enough to cause this issue.
 

shutterbug

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I think that's what the problem is too. It no doubt worked coming from the factory, so something else changed. Probably wear at the center arbor. Lifting those levers year after year causes downward wear, which can no longer be overcome by the lifts.
 

MuensterMann

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Dealing with the same movement, I have more questions that concern the strike hammer. I have photos below with some numbered arrows.

strike hammer.png

Is #1 used as a stop for the hammer lever? If the screw is let out (screwed out), the plate pushes again the strike hammer pivot, thus hindering it. Just different if that is the design. Is #2 the location on the lever that the count-wheel pins push up the lever (and thus hammer)? Is 3# the portion that hits #6 (a steel shaped ramp) to dampen it? #5 is the hammer lever spring. Where it is located in the photo is where I have the best luck to have it actually act downward on the hammer lever. It doesn't seem right. There is a groove in the mechanism, #4, that looks like it would take the spring - but that would act on pushing the hammer upwards. Can someone enlighten me - so that I can get this mechanism right? Much appreciated - and always curious!!!
 

MuensterMann

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What I am calling a damper is providing resistance to lift the strike hammer as the lever part wedges in there.
 

Willie X

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#6 is the damper. I'm not to sure what #1 is. Maybe a photo from the back would help. Usually a plate like that is to minimize end play but the force exerted by the camper #6 would be away from that end piate?? It could be there to minimize slapping noises, which is common with this set-up but it should never bíind. Willie X
 
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MuensterMann

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Willie, here is a photo from the back.

Another question, the other photo - what is the purpose of that lever on the far right - on the time side? It sets in another set of teeth on the main arbor. It is either following the teeth or you can pull it away and not touch anything.

back mini plate.jpg far right.jpg
 

Willie X

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That plate looks like something that may have been added on??

The "lever on the right" is for the maintaining power.

Willie X
 

MuensterMann

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That lever on the right is not under pressure and seems to follow the teeth like a click (but it is not the click).
 

Willie X

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Look up 'maintaing power'.

This feature is found on many medium, and just about all high grade, weight driven clocks. It's there to keep power on the escapement when winding to avoid escapement damage.

Willie X
 

wow

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It maintains power when winding the clock by keeping the wheel from turning backwards. You can wind the clock and while winding the power will remain constant on the train. It’s for people who are persnickety about their clock keeping perfect time.

You beat me to it,Willie.
 

MuensterMann

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Continue with my questions on this clock. I cannot keep the time train going. A few of the bushings are slightly worn, but not so much to warrant new bushings - especially with the over 7 pound weight. The time stops at random - so no hands hitting each other or the classic 3 minutes to the hour. It seems to have the power.

Question: When putting the clock in beat, at what pendulum swing arc do you do it at?

I start the pendulum with a big arc and as it settles after a few minutes I check the beat. It is around 5%. However, as it slows down more, the beat is over 20%. Should it be set for a shorter arc?

PS. It starts off with a nice healthy tick tock, just cannot keep going.
 

Willie X

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The beat should be set at minimum pendulum swing. This will give you the minimum error.

These clocks typically have a 5 inch pendulum swing, so you have trouble there somewhere. Willie X
 

MuensterMann

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Thanks Willie for that bit of information. Nevertheless, I cannot keep this pendulum going. The pendulum is very heavy - which is interesting, but makes for the hanging of it a little more tricky. The strike weight is about 12 pounds and the time weight is about 7 pounds. They seem like the original weights, but always wondering about the mismatch - and I am assuming strike gets the heavier one. The only other issue I am having is the strike is wimpy. I need a little more snap there!

I also had to add a new suspension spring. The block was thinner than the original, so I added filler in the top block so that it doesn't slaaash around. Thus, no loss of energy there. I may have to inspect the escapement action.
 

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