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New Haven Clock will not strike hour

WellNana

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Jul 25, 2019
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Hello. I am in Alabama USA. My grandfather's New Haven mantel clock has Westminster chimes and three winding positions on the front. Last week, it quit striking the hour notes. The winding mechanism on the left of the face is wound tight. The clock still chimes every fifteen minutes and the other 2 winding mechanisms do wind down. I am searching for a clock repair person in my area. Would anyone be able to give me a hint as to what could be wrong with the striking mechanism? I don't know anything about clocks but I'm a handy person. I may have to learn about clocks. I love this one. I include photo
mpPTorRBTbG6kJPyl7hbDg.jpg
 

R. Croswell

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This is a rather complicated movement and taking it to a competent repair person is a good choice. That said, generally, the quarter chiming system triggers the strike on the hour and any number of faults can cause this not to happen. Make sure the strike spring is wound. On this one the springs do not all wind in the same direction.

RC
 
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tracerjack

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After reading about this movement, (complete with diagrams) in Chime Clock Repair by Steven Conover, it did not take me long to realize it is quite a complicated movement. You do not mention when the clock was last serviced. A worn pivot hole is most likely the cause of the strike not working. If a lever has a worn pivot hole, it may no longer be able to lift high enough to release the strike train. After looking at the diagrams and reading the about the strike train, A has a pin on the backside that lifts B which in turn lifts C. If the pin has sheared off, that would stop the strike. You could try lifting C and see if the strike begins. Since I have not worked on this movement before, I understand if you feel hesitant to do that. Be patient and an expert is sure to post soon.
photo newhaven.jpg
 
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JTD

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I am searching for a clock repair person in my area.
You could contact the local NAWCC chapter in your area and ask them to recommend someone who could help you.

You can find your local chapter if you go to the section 'Chapters News & Views' and click on the heading 'Finding a chapter near you'.

JTD
 
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WellNana

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This is a rather complicated movement and taking it to a competent repair person is a good choice. That said, generally, the quarter chiming system triggers the strike on the hour and any number of faults can cause this not to happen. Make sure the strike spring is wound. On this one the springs do not all wind in the same direction.

RC
Thank you for replying. Yes, the strike spring is wound. It winds right, while the other two wind left.
 

WellNana

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Jul 25, 2019
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After reading about this movement, (complete with diagrams) in Chime Clock Repair by Steven Conover, it did not take me long to realize it is quite a complicated movement. You do not mention when the clock was last serviced. A worn pivot hole is most likely the cause of the strike not working. If a lever has a worn pivot hole, it may no longer be able to lift high enough to release the strike train. After looking at the diagrams and reading the about the strike train, A has a pin on the backside that lifts B which in turn lifts C. If the pin has sheared off, that would stop the strike. You could try lifting C and see if the strike begins. Since I have not worked on this movement before, I understand if you feel hesitant to do that. Be patient and an expert is sure to post soon.
View attachment 541922
Thank you for replying. I found the book you mentioned --oh, my goodness on the price! But I would like to have the book just to see the workings of my dear clock. It was last serviced by an Oklahoma City clock craftsman in 1989. It has not run for many years. When it would not keep running, I quit winding it. Then I moved to a new house and put it on the mantel, wound it, and it started running! It struck the hour for two weeks and keeps fairly good time.
 

WellNana

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You could contact the local NAWCC chapter in your area and ask them to recommend someone who could help you.

You can find your local chapter if you go to the section 'Chapters News & Views' and click on the heading 'Finding a chapter near you'.

JTD
Thank you for this info! Finding a competent clock repairman is quite the trick.
 

R. Croswell

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Thank you for this info! Finding a competent clock repairman is quite the trick.
Sometimes the best way to find a competent clock repair person is to become one. You can get all of Steven Conover's books here: Your source for clock repair books The price is very reasonable considering the amount of information. The clock you have is one that even many otherwise competent repair persons refuse to service. The chiming system is unlike anything else ever made and the clock needs to be in overall near perfect condition to be reliable. If your clock stopped running years ago, at the very minimum it will need cleaning and almost certainly will have some worn pivot holes that will need repair. I suspect that your clock will not run very long without attention and that there is more wrong than just not striking. The good thing is that when these are right they do work quite well.

RC
 

shutterbug

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I'm not familiar with that movement, but suspect that although the chime mechanism seems to be back plate oriented, The strike sequence is probably on the front side. Would you be up to either removing the front dial (if it's removable) or removing the movement from the case so we can see a pic of the front of the movement?
 

shutterbug

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Thanks, RC. So yes, the strike issue is probably on the front of the clock movement, and yes, this is not something an inexperienced person should try to take apart. Hopefully the issue can be solved easily :)
 
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WellNana

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Thanks, RC. So yes, the strike issue is probably on the front of the clock movement, and yes, this is not something an inexperienced person should try to take apart. Hopefully the issue can be solved easily :)
It appears to be the infamous New Haven 3-plate chime movement. The front should look something like this.

RC

View attachment 541957
Thank you for the photo! Infamous maybe, but it has survived the years, and moving many times-- New Haven, Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Alabama. I think it deserves the best care I can give it.
 

WellNana

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Thanks, RC. So yes, the strike issue is probably on the front of the clock movement, and yes, this is not something an inexperienced person should try to take apart. Hopefully the issue can be solved easily :)
I am still searching and praying over my clock. I am not the person to even try, but on the other hand, if I cannot find a competent clock repair person, and death is certain for the clock, what do we have to lose? I am now beginning to read all I can on this site to educate myself. Thank you!
 

R. Croswell

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............. if I cannot find a competent clock repair person, and death is certain for the clock, what do we have to lose?
If you have never worked on a chiming clock then you may have an advantage in not knowing how everyone else builds chime clocks. I would suggest that you not try this one without Steve Conover's Chime Clock Repair book. The setup adjustments on this model are somewhat unusual and very critical to get right. If the clock was working and now doesn't and it wasn't dropped and hasn't been messed with, and the springs still wind, I doubt that you will find any single problem that can be quickly fixed. The movement will need to be disassembled, cleaned and inspected, and very like some bushings installed. Removing the springs usually requires a special spring winder, at least to do the job safely. You need to understand how to "let down" the springs before you begin or could be injured and destroy the clock as well. I strongly recommend that you also get Steve's "Clock Repair Basics" book. The Chime Clock Repair book assumes that you already know some of the basic steps.

RC
 
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tracerjack

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I am still searching and praying over my clock. I am not the person to even try, but on the other hand, if I cannot find a competent clock repair person, and death is certain for the clock, what do we have to lose? I am now beginning to read all I can on this site to educate myself. Thank you!
I think I had only one chime movement under my belt before I acquired a Waterbury triple plate, “spawn of Satan” some have called it. It was truly a challenge, but I managed in the end to get it running, in spite of my inexperience. So, no you do not have anything to lose if all other avenues are closed. And you might even find yourself bitten by the clock repair bug. You have made a wise decision to educate yourself on what it takes to clean and repair a movement of this type. The knowledge will help whether you send it to a professional, (you’ll understand why the fee for repair is what it is) a hobbyist (you’ll understand why they may not be able to repair it perfectly) or attempt to repair it yourself (you’ll also need to spend some money for basic tools). The suggestion to seek help from a local chapter is your best bet, because NAWCC members will do their best to help, as evidenced by this forum. So, don’t give up hope on your treasured clock just yet. You just have to connect with the right person.
 
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claussclocks

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By no means attempt to work on a New Haven 3 plate movement as your first clock. You will give up and never try again. It is one of the most troublesome movements to assemble correctly. There are still some clock repair people in rubber walled rooms attempting to feed the birds on the calendar from working on this movement without experience and good notes. :eek::D
 

R. Croswell

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This New Haven chimer is no where near as bad as the '"Waterbury triple plate, “spawn of Satan”'. That one is just bad by design from the ground up. The one single thing that often inspires me the most is when someone tells me that something can't be done or that I can't or shouldn't do it. I had always avoided these New Haven chimers, then I decided I really needed to see for my self just what is so horrible about them, so I went on eBay and found one with a somewhat beat up case and a complete movement for cheap. I found the reputation is somewhat undeserved. The third plate is no problem at all. It has the upper time train parts and is simply assembled first and out of the way. Like any chime clock there are a lot of parts to keep track of, and the chime train functions somewhat differently and can be challenging at first to understand.

With any clock movement with which one is unfamiliar it helps to have a second intact movement to use as a guide. These bare movements come up on eBay all the time and are fairly inexpensive. There were some variations but if one can be found it would be a good reference and a source of spare parts.

So yes, I guess one could say nothing to loose.

RC
 
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shutterbug

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You might look at this site. The instruction videos are very good and won't break the bank.
 
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WellNana

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If you have never worked on a chiming clock then you may have an advantage in not knowing how everyone else builds chime clocks. I would suggest that you not try this one without Steve Conover's Chime Clock Repair book. The setup adjustments on this model are somewhat unusual and very critical to get right. If the clock was working and now doesn't and it wasn't dropped and hasn't been messed with, and the springs still wind, I doubt that you will find any single problem that can be quickly fixed. The movement will need to be disassembled, cleaned and inspected, and very like some bushings installed. Removing the springs usually requires a special spring winder, at least to do the job safely. You need to understand how to "let down" the springs before you begin or could be injured and destroy the clock as well. I strongly recommend that you also get Steve's "Clock Repair Basics" book. The Chime Clock Repair book assumes that you already know some of the basic steps.

RC
Thank you for your caution. I have Conover's book on Chime clock repair coming. I likely will get the repair basics simply because I love books, but my courage sinks at the very thought of disassembling. I have an image of cartoons, with workings springing all over. I may have found someone who can work on my clock. That will be my best bet. I hope to find someone who will allow me to observe, at least in part, the repair operation. In 1989, the repairman at that time told me that he had to make bushings for it.
 

bangster

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I hope you'll dive into it yourself. But if you simply want a top expert to handle it, try David LaBounty at About Time Clockmaking. Google it.
 
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WellNana

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This New Haven chimer is no where near as bad as the '"Waterbury triple plate, “spawn of Satan”'. That one is just bad by design from the ground up. The one single thing that often inspires me the most is when someone tells me that something can't be done or that I can't or shouldn't do it. I had always avoided these New Haven chimers, then I decided I really needed to see for my self just what is so horrible about them, so I went on eBay and found one with a somewhat beat up case and a complete movement for cheap. I found the reputation is somewhat undeserved. The third plate is no problem at all. It has the upper time train parts and is simply assembled first and out of the way. Like any chime clock there are a lot of parts to keep track of, and the chime train functions somewhat differently and can be challenging at first to understand.

With any clock movement with which one is unfamiliar it helps to have a second intact movement to use as a guide. These bare movements come up on eBay all the time and are fairly inexpensive. There were some variations but if one can be found it would be a good reference and a source of spare parts.

So yes, I guess one could say nothing to loose.

RC
I was looking on ebay and saw the bare movements. What a wonderful place to start! I have to begin somewhere. It has been recommended that I begin with a more simple time and strike. Perhaps I should begin with a number of hours of reading and watching videos. :)
 

R. Croswell

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I was looking on ebay and saw the bare movements. What a wonderful place to start! I have to begin somewhere. It has been recommended that I begin with a more simple time and strike. Perhaps I should begin with a number of hours of reading and watching videos. :)
Beware of the dozens of videos on You Tube, there are many that show improper methods and methods that are not the best method. You can prepare yourself for removing main springs, polishing pivots, installing bushings, and other basic operations, but you can only learn a New Haven chime movement by work on one. It helps if you have an expendable one.

RC
 
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Bruce Alexander

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Hello WellNana.

A belated "Welcome" to the NAWCC's Message Board. All the basic cautions and encouragements have already been delivered so I won't repeat them here.

Here's a good reference for "Learning to Repair" resources: http://www.nawcc-index.net/Repair-Learning.php

I hope that you and your family enjoy your heirloom clock for many generations to come. May I suggest that you leave a little note in the case detailing what you did to care for the clock when you pass it down?

Best wishes,

Bruce
 
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WellNana

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Beware of the dozens of videos on You Tube, there are many that show improper methods and methods that are not the best method. You can prepare yourself for removing main springs, polishing pivots, installing bushings, and other basic operations, but you can only learn a New Haven chime movement by work on one. It helps if you have an expendable one.

RC
I found a partial video of repairing a New Haven Westminster movement just like mine. Oh, I cannot imagine doing that! However the video helps me to begin to learn terminology and part names. Watching my own clock movement work only from the back, I see the correct levers do move to strike the hour, but they fall flat and do not activate the part that makes it chime.
 

WellNana

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Hello WellNana.

A belated "Welcome" to the NAWCC's Message Board. All the basic cautions and encouragements have already been delivered so I won't repeat them here.

Here's a good reference for "Learning to Repair" resources: http://www.nawcc-index.net/Repair-Learning.php

I hope that you and your family enjoy your heirloom clock for many generations to come. May I suggest that you leave a little note in the case detailing what you did to care for the clock when you pass it down?

Best wishes,

Bruce
Thank you, Bruce! Leaving a note is just what the last clock repairman did when he overhauled the clock in 1989. Mr. Larsen in Oklahoma City. He put a sticker and also scribed a plate. As far as it appears, that is the only time this clock has been touched since being made, by the patent dates, 1923. I am excited to be finding many people who have repaired this movement.
 

R. Croswell

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I found a partial video of repairing a New Haven Westminster movement just like mine. Oh, I cannot imagine doing that! However the video helps me to begin to learn terminology and part names. Watching my own clock movement work only from the back, I see the correct levers do move to strike the hour, but they fall flat and do not activate the part that makes it chime.
Terminology can become confusing on a clock like this. The strike is the hour count on the hour - it strikes the hour. The musical sequence at each quarter is chiming - it chimes on the quarter-hour. Regarding the problem with your clock not striking, you should be looking at two general possibilities; one being that chime train has moved the correct levers to "unlock" the strike train and give the message that now is the time to strike, and two, that the strike train actually has power and is capable of running after being unlocked. For test purposes you can lift all the chime/strike hammers by hand to remove the loading from both trains. You can also spin the little fan on the strike side to help get it moving. If the strike runs while the hammer is held up and/or the fan is given a little nudge then you can be pretty sure there is a power problem in the strike train. If you get to the front of the movement you can better see what's going on with the strike and release the rack and cause it to strike manually......if it is able to run.

Good luck and have fun,

RC
 
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