Antique Tall Case Clock ID req'd

matthiasi

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Just got this one in for repair the other week. As you can tell from the pics, it hasn't run for a number of years, given the dust bunny build up.
I believe it is German, as the owners emigrated from there in the early 1950's. I can't find any markings anywhere in the movement or case. Any ideas?

Work scope is to get it running, but do not restore. So, no cleaning the rust off the visible 'plates' and vertical supports. Only in areas that require it to make it run.
It does not have a warning lever. Chimes on the hour only. Interestingly, both hands are mounted on a fixed pivot. There is tremendous wear in some of the pinions, but again, I have been specifically asked not to redo them. Therefore, I have moved the escapement wheel a bit so that it runs against an un-worn portion of the pivot. Ditto for the anchor.

So, after thoroughly going over it, it is now tick-tacking away. Due to the large amount of wear, the minute hand is a bit loose, therefore the release for the chimes can vary somewhat. Not ideal, but again, as per the requested workscope.
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More pics
 

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matthiasi

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Forgot to add: it's a seconds pendulum, the weights are NOT original (have 3.5 and 4kg Cuckoo clock weights on it!) and it looks like it will run one day.
 

Dick Feldman

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Matthiasi,

I feel the air is a bit heavy with your post.

The clock you have is an exceptional one and it deserves proper care. It is a sad note that it seems the only attention it will receive is to make it run. (The owner?)

I have always lived by the tenet that doing less than a complete job was short sighted and would cause more trouble for everyone in the long run.

If you are not able to perform the repairs you think are necessary, please do not do anything to the movement that is not reversible.

You and the rest of us do not want to see the same clock show up later on the “Clockmakers Hall of Shame.”

Best regards,

D
 

Tinker Dwight

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Hi
The rust should be removed. Rust is not just a
stationary thing. It grows over time. When it does,
bits flake off and fly in various directions.
One tiny speck of rust in a bushing creates an
abrasive mixture with the oil.
Not something I'd want in my clock.
If the owner wants the rust left intact, tell them
that you won't work on it if you don't at least
spray some spray laquer on it to passivate the rust.
Not a good solution but better than leaving the
exposed rust.
Tinker Dwight
 

shutterbug

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I'm in no way criticizing. The clock stays out of the landfill for now. However, I don't accept those kinds of limitations from customers. There are plenty of other places they can go to 'just get it to run'. I'll do a complete repair on the movement or pass it. Less headaches in the long run.
 

matthiasi

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To clarify- I'm not doing anything to it that will affect the future value. No hack-job here. And these kinds of limitations ARE NOT just from customers. When dealing with antiques, I prefer to go the least intrusive method to make things work correctly.

Heck- should the Mona Lisa be totally repainted to remove the effects of age, wear & tear and pollution?

Clock has been properly cleaned, pinions looked at & cleaned up where req'd. The old brass/bronze bushings have been left intact (these are generally much, much harder than anything we come across today). The brass bushings were let into the metal flat strips by melting them into place, filing them flush and then doing the depthing later. The one for the escapement wheel is drilled through near the very bottom, giving me the indication that the maker was not 100% sure of its' eventual location.
The problem I see here is that if I were to do the same by heating the metal strips, they would in all likelyhood crack and/or deform. Don't want to run that risk. Anyone have any "bright ideas" on this?

One new style brass bushing has been placed over one side of the escapement wheel pivot (which was turned down by a predecessor), so as to move the escapement wheel over to a unworn portion of the anchor by around 2mm. Anchor is wide enough and gives enough room to do this. This replaced a piece of circularily bent wire that someone a long time ago used to do this, so one could say I'm undoing a hack job here. In any case, this is much less intrusive than redoing a bunch of pinions and shafts.

Plates cleaned and brushed with steel/brass brushes as req'd to remove surface rust. Rust remnants will not be removed by solutions and/or sandpaper/3m pads. No loose rust to do damage in future. The key here is: we do not want to remove the patina of age and make it look new.

Making new pinions would require making all new shafts / pivots etc, as these are all one-piece. Old. Very old and the pinions are very worn-in. One can see the casting marks, air pockets etc. in places, the old filing marks (shafts are not fully "round"). Replacing all of this would, in my opinion, devalue the clock and ruin its' authenticity. YEs, we could make new ones and replace them all, but why do it if it runs?

Heck, it's running, though I still have a few things to fine tune. Beat is remarkably even, as per my trusty Microset3. Knowing this, it's easy enough to track down the slight loss of power on the one wheel (chainwheel pinion) in question and place a new bushing there.

Anyone any ideas of the manufacturer / style / age?
All wheels were either cast and or pounded out of flat metal. Appear to have been carefully laid-out (scribed) and filed/polished.

I'll attach some pics later, after my camera battery has charged.

Thanks
 

Jay Fortner

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If you have to rebush you'll more than likely have to custom make them with a smaller OD and press them into the existing bushings then file flush and create the sinks. This will make an invisible repair. Tell your customer that he has a clock that DESERVES a proper restoration.
 

matthiasi

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So, anyone have any ideas as to the maker / type / age etc., which was my original question before this thread took a detour?
 

shutterbug

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So, anyone have any ideas as to the maker / type / age etc., which was my original question before this thread took a detour?
Up in the clocks forum there's a bunch of guys who are pretty sharp on IDing movements and clocks. Might be worth a try up there.
 

Jeremy Woodoff

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It has some similarities to French Morbier movements, but it is not one. I also note the spandrels picture a crown held by two figures; this is typical of English spandrels in the early 18th century, on square-dial clocks. Perhaps the clock was made for the English market.
 

matthiasi

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OK, here are some of the promised pictures.
After the initial cleaning, the clock would run for a short while, then stop. I have traced the problem (I hope) to excessive wear in the going train chainwheel bushing, as well as an out-of-round chainwheel / minute hand-drive pivot.

The hour hand tube appears to have been made from a flat piece of steel (hand hammered), then made circular, into a tube. It is not perfectly round. The seam line is still somewhat visible. The fir on the minute hand gear/tube is quite loose (about 1mm play at the hand end, with about twice that at the gears). Thankfully, the large hour hand drive wheel/disc (the rusted one in the pics) is quite heavy, so it always rests on the driving gear.

It is the driving gear, mounted on the chainwheel that appears to be causing the problem. As you can see, it was cast, with some of the flash and a few airpockets plainly visible. The bearing surface is out of round by around .5 mm, hence it is wearing out the bushing much more quickly than would be expected, hence the "botch job" of a predessor of trying to close the bushing back up. As is visible on the pics, it appears as if the entire shaft was handfiled, with definite out-of-round areas where it isn't so critical.
 

matthiasi

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Sorry about that...had to run out before I finished the post.
So here is the rest and the pics:

The chain wheel is also not flat (plane), as it has a measurable wobble of 2.3 mm) font/back. This makes it difficult to "chuck" in the lathe. The combination of the out-of-round pivot (7.05-7.55mm dia)and the worn bushing (0.5 mm oval), allows the chainwheel to sag in its' metal support strip. Note also that the pivot area is also conical in shape (i.e.- gets smaller towards the end). When the tooth mesh is at a certain point, it appears that these wheels will slowly bind up and the clock looses power. The test for this was to support the chainwheel pivot from below by a thin piece of metal (i.e.- to take the "weight" & friction off the bushing), which allowed the clock to run until such time as I removed it.

Also, note the original "bushings". The brass appears to have been molten into the steel pieces, then filed smooth. There have been a couple of re-bush's in the past, as well as 2 that I have done using half-hard brass, drilled, broached etc. I did not want to put in the modern KWC style bushings that I normally do. On one of the steel plates, the hole for the pivot was drilled very close to the bottom edge, almost as if whoever initially placed it miscalculated slightly.

So, here are the questions:
1. Seeing that the pivot is out-of-round, would you advise chucking it in the lathe and turning it round, or should I try to hand file it round (close to)? I don't want to devalue the clock by introducing an obviously modern repair.
2. One can also see the large amount of pinion wear. I believe that the clock will still operate as-is, but time will tell. Suggestions for repair? don't forget, the shafts are not circular and/or wholly concentric.
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a few more:
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more:
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ditto:
 

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matthiasi

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The last set shows the hour hand wheel / shaft tube, showing the "hammered" finish, patina, corrosion. Note also the minute hand, which someone had closed up in an ingenious manner (!) to fit tightly on its' shaft. Still tight though, as there should be zero wear here.

The hour hand tube appears to have been made from a flat piece of steel (hand hammered), then made circular, into a tube. It is not perfectly round. The seam line is still somewhat visible. The fit on the minute hand gear/tube is quite loose (about 1mm play at the hand end, with about twice that at the gears). Thankfully, the large hour hand drive wheel/disc (the rusted one in the pics) is quite heavy, so it always rests on the driving gear.
 

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Mike Phelan

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I've probably not looked at every word in these posts, but a few penn'orth of comments.

I'm sure it's European, not British.
The brass at that time contained more copper that modern brass; bushes are unlikely to be bronze, but brass.
I would be very surprised if they were melted in place - why on earth would the maker want to do that?
I would never polish pivots under power on such a clock; the great wheel pivot I would file and burnish, then make a new bush.
Worn pinions are probably not a problem, especially on the striking train; it might be possible to move or dish the wheels ever so slightly to present unworn leaves.
It is a thirty-hour clock; you've only got to see what wheels there are.
It does not chime, it is a striking clock.
It's likely that the pallets need refacing
 

Tinker Dwight

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The pitting on the chain wheel arbor is real deep.
One might concider replacing the entire arbor.
Also, you might make a thin sleave of brass to
go between the arbor and the side of the
chain wheel where the pin holds it to the arbor
to keep it center. ( Or fix it all with the replaced
arbor. )
You need to bring the pinion surface down below
the pitting. This might require cutting below the
squared end. I don't see how you could do this
without replacing the arbor.
Tinker Dwight
 

Mike Phelan

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... but that's not too difficult, even with only hand tools.

Making the square might be the only part where you'd need a wee bit more skill, but there's a knack for doing that which I'll post if you're heading in that direction. :)
 

matthiasi

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Thanks for the info guys.

I have turned down the arbour in the bearing area. Pitting was quite deep and I had to durn down around 0.6mm of the diameter. Oh well. Smoothed and burnished.

Drilled out the old bushing sleeve and a portion of the damaged metal, then couintersunk the edges on both sides. Turned down a half hard rod to the appropriate diameter, faced and parted off. Inserted the bush into the metal strip plate and rivited in place. Filed the inside nice and smooth, flush with the existing metal. Outside face has a nice patina now due to the hammered (flat) finish and blends in nicely. Rescribed the center and drilled for the pivot. Broached and burnished.

Now to assemble and hopefully things will work.
 

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