Boardman and Wells clock

Charles Morrill

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Apr 11, 2014
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Hello, I've a Boardman and Wells looking glass clock from the late 1830s that's been in my family since that time. My problem is that I cannot get it to run consistently after cleaning and revamping some of the wheels with the epoxy tooth replacement method. The trouble is that this clock has brass bearings, which are actually small disks counterbored into the wooden "plates." Over time, as the wooden plates have shrunk and expanded, the brass bearings have shifted, come out sideways, etc., all of which is creating a ridiculous amount of friction. The earlier plain wooden bearings are I suspect far better, but I think the clock historically interesting and wish to keep it at least somewhat historically correct. So, what to do? Counterbore a bit deeper for the existing brass disk bearings? machine new ones a bit thicker and counterbore for those? Throw up one's hands and place it on the wall? Sigh. Any input would be appreciated!

Many thanks, Charles Morrill, Charlottesville, Virginia
 

Jim_Miller

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Mar 6, 2001
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Welcome to the board Charles. You say you " revamped some of the wheels with the epoxy tooth replacement method". If you did replace teeth, are they now meshing properly with their mates? I'm sure if you post some pictures, there"ll be more info.
 

R. Croswell

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Apr 4, 2006
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The first question is whether your movement originally had brass bushings or if this is something someone added later. If the label in the clock survives it may say "brass bushed" which would be helpful to know. If the bushings are known to be original to the clock and you want to keep them then obviously you will need to glue or otherwise keep them in place, or as suggested, make and fit new ones (probably the better option). There is a good possibility that the pivots running in brass all these years are also in need of attention.


If you have reason to believe the bushings are not original then I would get rid of them and replace them with something else. Most would use wood. I've also used Delrin-AF with good results. It is not uncommon to find replaced teeth that don't have the correct shape and size. Generally finding friction is a matter of evaluating each pair of wheels and just going step by step. Please don't just throw up hands. This old girl deserves to run again. some pictures would sure help.

RC
 

Charles Morrill

Registered User
Apr 11, 2014
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Yes! It did originally have brass bushings and this was a selling point. Hmmm, have to figure out how to post pictures on the board here. I guess I'll go back to the FAQ.

Don't worry, I won't give up on her!

I grew up hearing that wonderful bell and so did generations of us. The main problem I suspect was that we moved often back in the 1960s and the clock was handled quite roughly. As I remember a number of folks back then tried to convince my mom to replace the old wooden movement but she wouldn't have any of it.
 

Charles Morrill

Registered User
Apr 11, 2014
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O.K., so here's the clock:

IMG_1144.jpg

I think this is from 1837-8, right before the panic hit in 1839. I've read that Boardman and Wells made very few - if any - wood movements after the panic when the industry shifted to those of brass.

IMG_1146.jpg

Hopefully if I understand posting photos correctly you can read the words in the photo above.

The movement itself looks like this:

IMG_1147.jpg

And what concerns me is this:

IMG_1150.jpg

It's hard to get a sense of it from this photo but a number of the bearing disks like this are tilted. Now to be fair, I also just remembered in taking this out that I've got another larger problem. The bearing that holds the winding pulley is a mess. I can't tell if it's original, but it is elongated by 1/16 or so. Interesting, it's just a scrap of brass plate:

IMG_1153.jpg

Well, see if you can view these images o.k. They didn't upload from iPhoto so I exported them to my desktop at medium size. If you cannot see them, let me know and I'll upload a larger version. I am somewhat chary about upload a huge file unto a bulletin board at the first go. In older days you'd jam everyone's internet connection....

Regards, Charles Morrill
 
Last edited:

Steven Thornberry

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Pix are great, Charles. The thumbnails enlarge nicely and are clear. Nice clock with a dynamite label.
 

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