My First Ansonia!

MuseChaser

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Finally found one in my price range... :) Very excited. Here's the movement as found...

Ansonia Movement as found.jpg

... then removed from the clock and the front plate lifted off....

Movement Open.jpg

TOTALLY coated in thick black/green goo. Sooo... disassemble, mineral spirits and toothbrush, the ultrasonic with laundry detergent. Came out fairly clean, but still pretty funky looking, so I put the parts back in for another 10 minutes in a light solution of hot water and a little ammonia to see if they'd brighten up a bit. Not really. This is what it looks like after that three step cleaning, reassembled just to check the wheels, pinions, and pivots; no levers or springs yet.

Ansonia Clean.jpg

There's a soldered-on piece for the pivot hole of the 3S wheel. Should I remove it and bush it properly, or just let it go? Right now, it seems OK.

Stop there? Something else you would suggest? I don't mind the movement looking its age... but maybe not QUITE this much...umm.... character? What say ye?

I'm kind of on the fence re/ the ultrasonic cleaner. So far, it doesn't save me a step or any time... I still have a lot of hand cleaning to do. If anything, it's an additional step and more time, although it probably is getting some stuff cleaner than I could by hand. Always happy for more hints as to its use.

The case cleaned up VERY well, using Joel Warren's formula (which I'm convinced is some kind of voodoo black magic... I can't believe how easily and beautifully it works. Wish I had found it years ago).

Ansonia Case.jpg

The filigree design on the glass is just a metallic sticker. Was that original? Also, some @#$#$ has painted over the original label inside with black paint... much sadness. Oh well. The rest of the clock is pretty solid.
 
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shutterbug

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Nice! They made some beautiful clocks, and the quality is very good as well.
 

SuffolkM

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Congratulations on this clock - I share your excitement! If you really want the movement to shine, you could use a soft toothbrush and Maas metal cleaner which will remove the tarnishing (but it will take a considerable amount of elbow grease). You'll then need to wash again in a solution that removes any residue as the polish will want to stay in the pivot holes (with predictable consequences if it stays there). I don't think it's important to do this given that the cleaning you really care about is in the pivots etc. and those springs, but it would be a nice indulgence if you love the clock. The solder repair is a blight. If you are going all-out to make this clock special then I'd get it gone if possible (heat + solder mopping etc. and then rubbing down with carbide paper will do it, but you're committed to polishing everything to match the bare brass then).

Enjoy :)
Michael
 

R. Croswell

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The soldered on piece - (a Rathbun bushing) should go if you are capable of properly installing a bushing. An ultrasonic cleaner is helpful for removing crap in tiny places the brush misses. Just incase you are thinking about it, do NOT use mineral spirits or any other flamable liquid in that ultrasonic cleaner. You can take a bath and be clean but I doubt that you would go out in public if you put ypur dirty cloths back on. This clock looks dirty and there really isn't any reason why it should stay that way. There are a lot of homebrew cleaners described here but I find that Deox 007 - a commercial clock cleaner - does a good job. Really bad cases will benefit from a light buff with 0000 steel wool after about 10 to 15 min. in the ultrasonic. I dip the steel wool in the solution I have in the US and lightly "scrub" the plates. This movement should clean up nicely. There is a difference between shinny and polished. Unless you are looking for polished (see your reflection in it) I would avoid abrasives for the reason already mentioned concerning residual abrasive.

\RC
 

Willie X

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Did you peg and round broach all the pivot holes and polish all the pivots? Inspect and service main springs? Polish the faces of the pallets? I agree with RC about the soldered on patch. Also, the replacement suspension rod needs to be replaced and the new one bent differently (find photos of an original).

This is among the best production movements ever made. Put it in good shape and you may never have to repair it again.

Willie X
 

MuseChaser

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Thanks, everyone. I'm pretty excited about this clock. I haven't done any of the necessary work Willie detailed yet... Just a basic cleaning and reassembly to take better stock of the situation before proceeding. There was so much thickened oil everywhere that it was hard to tell what the degree of wear anywhere was.

If this is a particularly valuable clock, please let me know before I do something stupid and amateurish to it, although typically my approach to the tambour and wall clocks I've done so far has been to, first, do no harm, and then do the minimum necessary to allow it run well and and make the case look clean and cared for. Restoration to "as new," especially cosmetically, hasn't been a goal for two reasons.. I enjoy the fact that my clocks wear their age proudly, and I worry about harming their value by unnecessarily messing around with them.

I'll remove the Rathbun bushing (thanks for letting me know what it was called). I am skilled in fine electronic work, but haven't done any "structural" soldering. Tools on hand include a good variable temperature soldering station fine-tipped iron, a small butane torch (typically used for creme brulee and charring hot peppers), lots of solder wicking, and a solder vacuum pump. Would the wick and iron approach be appropriate here?

I've done six bushings by hand so far, four KWM #3 sized and two #2. All went well, but I am by no means an expert. Both of those clocks are currently running very well.

Getting back to the question of how far to go cleaning the movement.... shiny and polished wouldn't be my first choice, but if that's an appropriate course of action, I know how to do that from working on a lot of 400-day clocks (and center draft brass and copper lamps). Is there a happy medium between that and the current state where there's still black marks and stains visible?​
Willie.. you mentioned that the suspension rod needs to be replaced. I have others on hand so that's no problem, but I'm curious as to why. I'd love to see some pics of this clock as it originally was, as you suggested, and will try and find some. Links are, of course, appreciated!​
Any ideas as to manufacture date? Other than the patent date, I couldn't find anything else other than "Ansonia Clock Co.," "U.S.A," and an "8" on the bottom right leg of the plate.​
I'll proceed slowly and carefully, even more than usual, with this one. All input and suggestions gratefully accepted! Also more than happy to snap and post any specific pictures that would be interesting or helpful to others.​
 

MuseChaser

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In trying to chase down the identity and manufacture date of this clock, I've looked at ALL 1001 pictures on this site..

Antique Ansonia Clocks - Clock Model Names

and my clock doesn't match any of them. That was a lot of pictures. Also looked for pictures of the movement showing an original suspension rod as mentioned by Willie, and found one that shows the rod bent in a semi-circle around the cannon pinion rather than the square bends found in mine. Is that what you were referring to?

Edit: Found another thread and a pic of the same model... turns out I have an "Alaska," c.1886. VERY psyched. Also answers my stupid question re/ the sticker on the glass... hehehehehe.

 
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MuseChaser

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After some good fun quality hours in the shop, here's an update...

Two "before" shots of the soldered-on Rathbun bushing, front and back...

Before1.jpg Before2.jpg

My soldering iron station, as good as it is for electronic work, wasn't anywhere near up to the task of melting whatever solder is typically used in this application, so out came the kitchen butane torch, which worked fine. Here's two after pics after cleaning up the site and installing the bushing...

Bushing1.jpg Bushing2.jpg

As SuffolkM above said, once that site was addressed, there really wasn't any way to leave the rest of the movement in "patina'd" condition, sooo.....

AfterExploded.jpg

And then another test assembly.....

AfterFront.jpg AfterTop.jpg

...and now it's happy hour and I'm calling it quits for today. Springs have been cleaned and oiled, ready for reinstallation tomorrow and hopefully a test run. Wish me luck!
 

JimmyOz

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That looks a lot better, just take those nuts off and clean them :thumb::nutjob:
 

Willie X

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Muse,
It's from the "pacemaker" series. Searching "Ansonia Pacemaker movement" should get you some hits.
Willie X
 

John P

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Thats some good work there, just a note though, the final assembly should be done with the front plate down or you will never get the strike set up properly.

johnp
 

R. Croswell

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It now looks "cared for" and quite presentable. I believe these movements were made from the late eighteen hundreds. As for your approach to "do the minimum necessary to allow it run well", there has been much discussion (and disagreement) about how much to do. Do no harm is a good policy, A clock this age undoubtedly has some amount of wear at every pivot hole so why not bring everything into spec. while it is apart? If all four tires on your car are badly worn and one blows out would you just replace the one blown tire to keep going?. If you have the skills to properly install bushings, bushing worn pivot holes will not destroy the value of your clock,

RC
 

MuseChaser

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Thats some good work there, just a note though, the final assembly should be done with the front plate down or you will never get the strike set up properly.

johnp
Thanks, John! Don't know how good I am yet, but I'm definitely getting better with everyone's help here. Much appreciate the encouragement. Hadn't thought about assembling the clock w/ the front plate down as a possibility as the posts are attached to the backplate, but I'll check that out. Thank you for the tip.

It now looks "cared for" and quite presentable. I believe these movements were made from the late eighteen hundreds. As for your approach to "do the minimum necessary to allow it run well", there has been much discussion (and disagreement) about how much to do. Do no harm is a good policy, A clock this age undoubtedly has some amount of wear at every pivot hole so why not bring everything into spec. while it is apart? If all four tires on your car are badly worn and one blows out would you just replace the one blown tire to keep going?. If you have the skills to properly install bushings, bushing worn pivot holes will not destroy the value of your clock,

RC
Interesting thoughts and conundrums, RC. Re/ the tire analogy - it's apt. I've done all kinds of things... replaced only the one blown out tire, replaced a pair of tires (front or rear), or replaced the entire set of four even if one or two were still good. It all depended upon the car; expensive performance car driven for sheer pleasure? Daily driver for wife who I love and care about her safety? Cheap disposable old rust-bucket for knocking around in for me? 4WD vehicle where even slightly different tire circumferences due to tread wear could hasten serious expensive mechanical problems? Current household budget? Is the issue safety, longevity, frugality, or performance? It all depends on present and future intentions, and no one choice seems to be valid 100% of the time. I'm still a "duffer" in terms of clock repair, but those analogies seem fairly apt to the clock repair world.

To be honest, I'm not sure if I have the skills to "properly" install bushings or not. I'm using KWM bushings with a Bergeon reamer by hand, a small round-nose file when the one I have will fit and the "nibbling" technique with the reamer when it won't to symmetrically "ovalize" the hole to retain the center, and doing my best to keep the tool perpendicular to the plate, followed by broaching the pivot hole to fit and allow the correct amount of slight "wobble." So far, I've done seven (including the one pictured above) and the other two clocks have run MUCH better afterwards; I'm amazed how much a little pivot play affects a clock. If that approach is "proper," then yes, there are a couple other ones in this clock that show some wear, but nowhere near 1/3 of the diameter of the pivot which I read, somewhere, is a good rule of thumb to decide if bushing is required.

All of these clocks are here in my home and enjoyed by my wife and I. Pulling a movement and working on it is enjoyable to me and I'm under no customer or time constraints, so doing everything perfectly in one shot is not the concern it would be for someone repairing a clock with the intention of returning it to a customer in absolutely top-notch running condition for the next 100 years. Since I'm still learning (and maybe this Ansonia isn't the best vehicle to "try" things on... maybe leave that for the many more common Sessions and Ingrahams I have going now?), I thought that maybe the best thing to do is to do what is truly necessary now, and defer the stuff that can wait until my skills have grown further... and maybe my tool collection.

Just some thoughts. I REALLY appreciate yours.. I've learned a lot from your posts, and I truly value your input. Thank you.

Best to all!
 

MuseChaser

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Quick update.. this clock has been running great, and we love it.

Just ONE bit of weirdness... for the first couple days, the striker kept moving out of adjustment, drifting either too close to the gong and creating a muffled thud, or too far away and missing the gong entirely. I'd adjust it.. .it'd be OK for a few hours or a day... then drift off again. I thought it had finally settled down, and it's been striking fine for about a week... and then this morning, it had drifted away from the gong again.

Are their gnomes in my house messing with my clock?!?!?
 

R. Croswell

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On this clock it is not uncommon to find that as the clock runs down and the strike side mainspring expands it comes into contact with the strike hammer wire. When that happens the hammer comes to rest against the spring instead of the normal stop. You keep adjusting the hammer and as the spring expands it keeps "going out". Then you think you have it but when the clock is wound again it is all wrong again. Usually one can carefully bend the strike hammer wire away from the mainspring. Some movements have a pin to stop the mainspring from expanding inward toward the works. Not sure if this movement has one or not, or perhaps it did at one time but no longer.

RC
 
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MuseChaser

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Incredible. Makes perfect sense. I would never have come up with that in a million years.
 

shutterbug

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Hamster in a spinning cage syndrome :)
 

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