• We are aware of the performance issues with the forum. These are due to problems with Comcast's shared lines in the Columbia, PA area. On December 15, we signed a contract to bring a dedicated fiber line to the forum servers. It should take somewhere between 30 and 90 days to install. Thank you for your patience.

Barnes and Bartholomew just stopped working

abe

Registered User
Jan 8, 2009
179
14
18
Central PA, USA
Country
Region
I have a Barnes and Bartholomew wooden works 30 hour clock. Last fall it was repaired by a member of NAWCC that lives near me. It ran well and kept good time. Then it stopped. About a month later I had to move the clock and as it sat on my dining room table it started ticking! I put it back in place and it ran great for about 2 months. Last night I noticed it wasn't running.

I know I have not given you much to go on but what could be causing this? Temperature or humidity changes? Anything simple I should try?


IMG_20181025_092352582.jpg
 

abe

Registered User
Jan 8, 2009
179
14
18
Central PA, USA
Country
Region
The first and one of the easiest things to check is whether the clock is in beat, especially if it has been moved. The tick-tock should sound evenly spaced. See Beat Setting 101

Let us know if that helps.

Tom
Two months ago it started running after I moved it. It hadn't been moved since then and stopped running this week.

I should add that that when I push the pendulum it does not tick at all. This is the same scenario as before.
 

Jim_Miller

NAWCC Member
Mar 6, 2001
906
16
18
73
Jackson, Michigan
Country
Region
Perhaps you could provide some pictures of the movement. This might help the folks who know these clocks
Jim
 

gleber

Registered User
Jun 15, 2015
1,965
263
83
Downingtown, Pennsylvania USA
www.myclocks.site
Country
Region
I should add that that when I push the pendulum it does not tick at all.
That is an indication of several possibilities.
1. No power to the escape wheel.
2. A broken or misaligned part.
3. Something deeper.

If you can remove the hands and dial and take some photos, we can probably narrow it down.

Tom
 

abe

Registered User
Jan 8, 2009
179
14
18
Central PA, USA
Country
Region
That is an indication of several possibilities.
1. No power to the escape wheel.
2. A broken or misaligned part.
3. Something deeper.

If you can remove the hands and dial and take some photos, we can probably narrow it down.
Tom
Will do! I don't know if I can do it son as we got Memorial Day and next week I'm very busy.

The funny thing is, this stoppage with no ticking when I move the pendulum is the same thing that happened this fall but then started working later as I stated above.

Thank you.
 

abe

Registered User
Jan 8, 2009
179
14
18
Central PA, USA
Country
Region
Update: I have been too busy to take the hands off and the dial off . I had a few minutes Sunday morning as I was waiting for my wife to get ready to travel to my sister's house. I picked up the clock and set it on the dining room table hoping that it would begin running as it had before. I moved the pendulum. But nothing. No tick, no tock.

So I put the clock back on the dry sink where it belongs. I did not move the pendulum. About 15 minutes later I'm in the kitchen and I here a clock chime. I look to see if it is my Thomas Lister tall case clock. It's not. I look in the dining room and lo and behold! The wooden works clock is running! I set the time and we leave to visit my sister and brother 3 hours away. We get home at 10:45 and the old Barnes and Bartholomew is running and keeping accurate time! This morning I wind it and tonight at 11:00 it is still keeping time!

I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth but what is causing this?
 

abe

Registered User
Jan 8, 2009
179
14
18
Central PA, USA
Country
Region
It must be a gremlin! My wife moved the clock to put a new runner on the dry sink and set up a Thanksgiving display. I'm in the dining room and I hear the old clock striking. I run out to the dining room and it's clicking. That was last night and it's keeping good time.

So was it gremlins? Humidity? I tried moving it this summer to no avail. My wife must be a clock whisperer.

IMG_20191124_082515217.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: PatH

abe

Registered User
Jan 8, 2009
179
14
18
Central PA, USA
Country
Region
I just read the entire thread again. I should add that sometime this summer it stopped running.

So I'll see how long it runs and will report back .
 

abe

Registered User
Jan 8, 2009
179
14
18
Central PA, USA
Country
Region
Bump to the top....

Anyone have any ideas? I'm curious why it suddenly stopped and then started working again. Or shouldn't I look a gift horse in the mouth?
 

gleber

Registered User
Jun 15, 2015
1,965
263
83
Downingtown, Pennsylvania USA
www.myclocks.site
Country
Region
That sounds like something was hung up. Probably not much to check now that it is running, but if it stops again I would suspect a hang up somewhere, not just robbing, but killing power. Something like a stuck pulley.

Tom
 

R. Croswell

Registered User
Apr 4, 2006
11,218
1,292
113
Trappe, Md.
www.greenfieldclockshop.com
Country
Region
Bump to the top....

Anyone have any ideas? I'm curious why it suddenly stopped and then started working again. Or shouldn't I look a gift horse in the mouth?
One thing that you can be sure of is that this problem will continue until you identify the cause and fix it. You haven't given us much to work with except that when it does stop there is zero power to the escapement - no tic-tock when the pendulum is moved.

What time is indicated by the minute hand when the clock stops? If you turn the minute hand ahead from "9" toward "12" can you feel any tight spot before the striking begins? The going train (the time section of the clock) has to provide power to unlock the strike train before the striking can begin. The "hang-up" that's stopping the clock can be in the strike train or the going train so don't limit your search to just the going train.

When the clock does run, what is the total swing distance of the pendulum from one extreme to the other? That can be one indicator of the clocks general health.

The symptom you describe can result from something as simple as a bent minute hand hanging up on the hour hand.

There is generally very little space between the back side of the dial and the "crutch" (the part of the movement that moves back and forth and drives the pendulum). These movements are usually just held in place by 3 or 4 pins of small nails and can be a little "shifty" at best. Dials are also often less than securely fastened. You try removing the hands and the dial and see if the problem goes away.

Unless there is something obvious, I would begin the task of fixing this problem by first removing the movement from the case and giving it a careful visual inspection. I would first look for any broken teeth, but I would not expect to find any if the clock sometimes runs OK. Next I would look for any previously replaced teeth and signs that a broken tooth has been replaced or re-glued. I frequently find poorly shaped replacement teeth or even nails used in place of teeth any of which can cause intermittent problems. Any previous repairs are suspect until verified accurate. Next I would look for badly worn pivot holes, especially the at the pinion end of the arbor that has the escape wheel, and the next wheel that drives it. This wheel has the smallest teeth of any and if it is not held in good alignment with the escape wheel pinion it can "lock up". Look carefully at the pinion on the escape wheel arbor for any signs of replaced leaf in the pinion. Wooden wheels tend over the years to shrink somewhat unevenly as they dry out thus becoming somewhat oval instead of round which will exacerbate any alignment / depthing issues. There is not much torque in the upper part of the going train so it doesn't take much to cause a hang-up. Wood of course is also affected somewhat by humidity. Your clock is almost 200 years old and if the pivot holes have not been bushed they probably need to be, and if they have been bushed there is a very high probability that the work was done less than accurately.

We really need a bit more information and some pictures of the movement and its insides, especially any previous repairs.

RC
 

abe

Registered User
Jan 8, 2009
179
14
18
Central PA, USA
Country
Region
RC, thanks for your informative reply. It is running now so I will not take the hands and the dial off, although that is something that is definitely in my skill set. If it stops running I'll look into that.

Thanks!
 

abe

Registered User
Jan 8, 2009
179
14
18
Central PA, USA
Country
Region
My Barnes and Bartholomew clock has been keeping great time since my last post. I love to hear the softer ticking of my wooden works clock compared to my Thomas Lister tall case and my 1929 Sessions Revere banjo. Here a video I took on Christmas. Decorating cudos go to my wife.

 

abe

Registered User
Jan 8, 2009
179
14
18
Central PA, USA
Country
Region
My clock stopped running again on Sunday. If you recall, there was no tick, no tock. Advice here says something was hung up.

I took the hands off and the dial. Everything looked in order. I put the pendulum back on to see if it would run with the hands off. It did not.

Someone above said something must be hung up, like the hands. I checked that. Nope. Then I thought each time it stopped was shortly after I wound the clock. I looked at the top of the clock to see the pulley. I didn't see anything unusual. I fingered the weight string.

I am not sure what I did but I sat the clock up right, put the pendulum on and it ticked! I then put the dial and hands on, sat it in its place of honor, put the pendulum on, pushed it and it started ticking.

So I will be careful not to wind it too tight so that the weight doesn't get hung up again.

Thank you for your patience, help, and advice.
 

R. Croswell

Registered User
Apr 4, 2006
11,218
1,292
113
Trappe, Md.
www.greenfieldclockshop.com
Country
Region
My clock stopped running again on Sunday. If you recall, there was no tick, no tock........... Then I thought each time it stopped was shortly after I wound the clock................ I am not sure what I did but I sat the clock up right, put the pendulum on and it ticked!
Winding the weights all the way to the top of the case is not a good practice but in most cases should not stop the clock from running. There are however a couple other possibilities related to full winding the clock that come to mind.

1) These movements are typically held in place by small nails of steel pins inserted through the side of the weight chute. I've seen cases where the nails or pins were not pushed all the way in flush with the side of the weight chute. The result being that when the weight is wound up above the pins holding the movement, the weight, during its decent, can catch and hang up on one of the pins and the clock will stop for no apparent reason. "Disturbing" the clock can sometimes cause the weight to free itself after which the clock will run just fine.

2) When the clock is being wound, the direction of rotation of all the gears and pinions in the going train is reversed while the winding crank is being turned. In some cases the escape wheel will even tick backward a few teeth. When the winding crank is released normal rotation is restored. So if anything in the going train is hung up, the reversing of power flow during winding will likely un-hang whatever was hung up. The prime suspects are previously replaced teeth on one of more wheel or pinion. It the replacement tooth (teeth) is too long or too short, or not equally spaced with the other teeth, or is incorrectly shaped, then it can cause increased friction or even lock up. The pivot holes in wooden movements are often pretty badly worn and some repairers are reluctant undertake bushing wooden movements. A sloppy pivot hole can sometimes allow the pivot to shift around to let a misshapen replacement tooth "hobble" over a tight spot. Even if there are no replaced teeth, very badly worn pivot holes combined with wheels that are out of round due to wood shrinkage may cause things to not fall in place when power is restored after winding.

Sometimes a clock will continue to run with a broken tooth but in that case there will soon be two broken teeth. Unless you can positively identify and correct the problem of this clock stopping after being wound, I would consider disassembling the movement for a good inspection. That would be a good time to address any worn pivot holes and rough or crooked pivots.

RC
 

abe

Registered User
Jan 8, 2009
179
14
18
Central PA, USA
Country
Region
Update 7/282020:

The Barnes and Bartholomew is still running and keeping good time since March 16, 2020!

I had some friends over for dinner this past weekend and they asked about the clock. They know very little about clocks. I told them it was built between 1834 and 1836 and that it had wooden gears. They were amazed by that and even more so when I showed them an extra gear I had.
 

abe

Registered User
Jan 8, 2009
179
14
18
Central PA, USA
Country
Region
Update Nov 21, 2021:

The Barnes and Bartholomew is still running and keeping good time. Winding it is part of my daily morning routine.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
170,879
Messages
1,491,821
Members
49,960
Latest member
DaChelle
Encyclopedia Pages
1,060
Total wiki contributions
2,967
Last edit
E. Howard & Co. by Clint Geller