Anyone else continually impressed by mechanical clocks?

Isaac

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A lot of clock examples from 100+ years ago still are working today. Sure, a bit of maintenance and care is needed for these movements, but it's quite extraordinary that something made so long ago still provides accurate and reliable service even today if they're cared for. Even regular mass-production T&S movements such as the ST 89 are proven workhorses. Movements from the likes of Lenzkirch and W&H and the high-end grouping will likely last beyond my lifetime if cared for as well.

Just something that impresses me every time the time of the week comes around to wind all of my clocks :)
 

Joe Gargery

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Feb 2, 2022
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Certainly a caliber of craftsmanship way back then that's hard to find today, Isaac.
I was thinking along the very same lines a few days ago when I was winding my Mauthe box clock. I purchased a long case clock from a fellow and he threw in the Mauthe, thought it was just old junk. It was pretty dusty and dirty and the wood looked very dry. But I brought it home, cleaned it well and soaked the case it a good wood restorer/moisturizer, then cleaned and oiled the movement and, against the odds, it works, strikes and chimes perfectly! Been almost a year now and it keeps great time. So even after a period of neglect, a little love brought this one right back to its former glory. Says a lot for the people who built it a hundred years ago.
Joe
 

Bernhard J.

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Even more amazing how well clocks work, which were made 200, or even 300 xears ago. I really love them and like to work on the movements. In most cases a clean of the movements was sufficient, showing how well these movements were made (in some instances adjustments were additionally needed, but no real effort). Only a few needed more work, but this was also rather straight forward.

I actually love all of them, irrespective of what they had cost and current "market values".

Cheers, Bernhard
 

Chris.K

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One aspect of mechanical clocks that intrigues me the most is what we take for granted today. In the late 1870's a man by the name of Estell developed a clock that you could "program" to strike almost anytime you wanted it to in 5 minute increments which was great for schools or anywhere that needed certain time intervals. A while back I inadvertently bought one fairly cheap not knowing what it was and it was quite the learning experience. That timepiece was just more fuel for the fire-quest of intrigue. Chris..
 

Steve Neul

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A lot of clock examples from 100+ years ago still are working today. Sure, a bit of maintenance and care is needed for these movements, but it's quite extraordinary that something made so long ago still provides accurate and reliable service even today if they're cared for. Even regular mass-production T&S movements such as the ST 89 are proven workhorses. Movements from the likes of Lenzkirch and W&H and the high-end grouping will likely last beyond my lifetime if cared for as well.

Just something that impresses me every time the time of the week comes around to wind all of my clocks :)
It's modern engineering. Take something that works and redesign it to where it doesn't.
 

J. A. Olson

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It's impressive how many quality clocks have survived up to the current era. Winterhalder, Elliott, Herschede, Chelsea, E. Howard, and so many more. No modern Kieninger or Hermle has the same fortitude.

Sadly it's also disappointing to realize how many quality clocks have been scrapped out, especially in recent times. The simple truth is there are more broken clocks nowadays than people who can repair them. I was paging through a 1929 Herschede catalog touting their then-new line of electrically wound clocks. It was a great innovation since they never had to be wound, but I always have to wonder: 'How many of those clocks actually survive?'.
 

J. A. Olson

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Another problem is lack of resources and required parts to repair movements. One may be able to polish pivots and replace bushings, but amending things like a mangled spring barrel or badly worn escape wheel are a much bigger challenge. It may seem 'optimistic' but I hope that with advances in CAD technology, that it may be feasible to pattern up and make good replacement parts without having to mass produce by the thousands.
 

TQ60

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It's impressive how many quality clocks have survived up to the current era. Winterhalder, Elliott, Herschede, Chelsea, E. Howard, and so many more. No modern Kieninger or Hermle has the same fortitude.

Sadly it's also disappointing to realize how many quality clocks have been scrapped out, especially in recent times. The simple truth is there are more broken clocks nowadays than people who can repair them. I was paging through a 1929 Herschede catalog touting their then-new line of electrically wound clocks. It was a great innovation since they never had to be wound, but I always have to wonder: 'How many of those clocks actually survive?'.
We have a 1934 Revere, great unit
 

DeanT

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Even more amazing how well clocks work, which were made 200, or even 300 xears ago. I really love them and like to work on the movements. In most cases a clean of the movements was sufficient, showing how well these movements were made (in some instances adjustments were additionally needed, but no real effort). Only a few needed more work, but this was also rather straight forward.

I actually love all of them, irrespective of what they had cost and current "market values".

Cheers, Bernhard
I've seen clocks nearly 500 years old which run well.
 

roughbarked

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Of course the problem appears to have started with what is otherwise known of as planned obsolescence.
The one good part is that someone can afford to keep watchmaking going, even though it has been cheapened so much.
Clockmaking has gone out of favour due to the fact that the quartz clock saved so much time winding the thing up.
 

Bernhard J.

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I've seen clocks nearly 500 years old which run well.
Without photos it can not be real
clown.gif
 

wow

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I have seven grandsons and none of them have a desire to learn the clock repair trade yet. Still , I bought a trailer load of mechanical clocks yesterday. I guess I am impressed with them but probably should use the word “obsessed”. Maybe one of them will at least become impressed with them someday. They better hurry up because I just made 78 last week.
 

Chris.K

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In lack of complete (dead) sheep and a sufficiently large fireplace, I did not yet have the chance for checking this (presumably around 1600) for proper functionality ;)

View attachment 764613
Years ago when I traveled in the nuclear power field I visited an historic house in New Jersey USA and in it was a huge fireplace that had the "spit-jig/jack" still mounted and in working order. Also the fireplace had all the swing-arms for pots and kettles along with a cast iron flat plate for warming. You could put a small car in that fireplace, but any way the house dated back to about 1680's if I remember correctly.. Chris..
 

Steve Neul

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I have seven grandsons and none of them have a desire to learn the clock repair trade yet. Still , I bought a trailer load of mechanical clocks yesterday. I guess I am impressed with them but probably should use the word “obsessed”. Maybe one of them will at least become impressed with them someday. They better hurry up because I just made 78 last week.
It may take a while but they may come around. My profession is woodworking and I tried to get my son involved in it. He didn't want anything to do with it. Maybe it was just me. Now that he's 38 he's starting a woodworking business. I have a full professional shop but he's working out of his garage and buying his own tools.
 

ridaco

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A lot of clock examples from 100+ years ago still are working today. Sure, a bit of maintenance and care is needed for these movements, but it's quite extraordinary that something made so long ago still provides accurate and reliable service even today if they're cared for. Even regular mass-production T&S movements such as the ST 89 are proven workhorses. Movements from the likes of Lenzkirch and W&H and the high-end grouping will likely last beyond my lifetime if cared for as well.

Just something that impresses me every time the time of the week comes around to wind all of my clocks :) especially those from renowned manufacturers, allowed them to withstand the test of time. These clocks were often built to be robust and reliable, providing accurate timekeeping for generations. The fact that they can still operate reliably today, with proper care and maintenance, is a testament to the skill of their creators. It's a wonderful experience to wind and care for these clocks, connecting us to a rich history and reminding us of the enduring beauty of mechanical timekeeping commercial flooring toronto. The rhythmic ticking and chiming of these antique timepieces can evoke a sense of nostalgia and appreciation for the craftsmanship of the past. By continuing to care for and maintain these clocks,
Indeed, the longevity and durability of antique clocks and mechanical movements are impressive. Clocks from the past were often crafted with high-quality materials and precision engineering, which contributed to their longevity. Additionally, many clock owners have taken great care of these timepieces over the years, performing regular maintenance, oiling, and cleaning to ensure their continued functionality. The craftsmanship and attention to detail in antique clocks, especially those from renowned manufacturers, allowed them to withstand the test of time. These clocks were often built to be robust and reliable, providing accurate timekeeping for generations. The fact that they can still operate reliably today, with proper care and maintenance, is a testament to the skill of their creators. It's a wonderful experience to wind and care for these clocks, connecting us to a rich history and reminding us of the enduring beauty of mechanical timekeeping. The rhythmic ticking and chiming of these antique timepieces can evoke a sense of nostalgia and appreciation for the craftsmanship of the past. By continuing to care for and maintain these clocks, you are preserving a piece of history and ensuring that future generations can also enjoy their beauty and functionality.
 

Schatznut

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My grandfather was a teacher and an inventor. He instilled in me from my very early years a thirst for learning and an appreciation for clever mechanical devices. When I was about 10, he built me a little gizmo made out of the end of a quart motor oil can, a rubber band, a piece of steel tubing, some bent wire, thread and a small metal ball. When wound up, it would fling the metal ball around a post, where the ball would wind and unwind from the post, and it would fling it around the next post, and so on. I ended getting good at replacing the rubber bands because I wore them out watching that magic gizmo going around and around. Just recently, I saw a practical device that uses exactly the same scheme as an escapement:

Jerome & Co. clock.jpg

It was a 400-day clock that he gave my grandmother in 1950 that got me going on my clock repair odyssey. I inherited it when he passed away. It didn't work so I futzed around with it and kinda sorta got it going again, but that wasn't good enough. So I bought some books and figured out how to fix it right. I probably have 60 to 70 running clocks in my house now, and a backlog of another 30 or so. Now I fix and restore them, and give them to family and friends that would appreciate them. Sooner or later I'll probably run out of family and friends, and have to start selling my clocks. But that would be like selling my own children.

The interesting thing is that my tastes have evolved so that when I buy a new clock, I generally choose it based on the novelty of its escapement. I'm in the throes of the restoration of several Kundo electronic clocks at the moment.

Thanks, Grandpa - the kid really was paying attention.
 

ToddT

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I was paging through a 1929 Herschede catalog touting their then-new line of electrically wound clocks. It was a great innovation since they never had to be wound, but I always have to wonder: 'How many of those clocks actually survive?'.
Many of us here are car buffs, and I often think of this with our vehicles, too. I have a 2004 Saab 9-3 convertible 5-speed that I still use as a daily driver. Several years ago it blew the ECM, clock computer, and a couple other modules. I often wonder how anyone will be able to restore these vehicles in another 20 years when you can't get the electronic parts or the computers to program them.

On the other hand, my 1972 Chevy pickup will likely be around long after the Saab has been recycled.

I love the mechanical clocks. I think, too, about all the history they've been through. Yes, they wear over time. But where that can be repaired / refurbished, the clocks can continue being useful.
 

Mike Phelan

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Our longcase clock was made in about 1720 and has worked fine for decades now.
We have a 1981 Citroen Dyane and that's used nearly every day.
 

Bernhard J.

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I have a 2004 Saab 9-3 convertible 5-speed that I still use as a daily driver. Several years ago it blew the ECM, clock computer, and a couple other modules. I often wonder how anyone will be able to restore these vehicles in another 20 years when you can't get the electronic parts or the computers to program them.
As a side note, a part of the classic car trade is rapidly developing, wherein the old electronic modules are repalced by new ones, with modern electronics, which emulates the original functions. And placed into the original cases for optical reasons. This is no rocket science, it just goes beyond the traditional "oily hands" jobs and requires some additional knowledge.

I repaired a Sommercamp FR100 receiver bought as defective at a flea market for 5,--. Took me a Saturday afternoon and a few electronic components (mainly capacitors). This is a magnificent "oldtimer" also.
 
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