• Important Executive Director Announcement from the NAWCC

    The NAWCC Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Mr. Rory McEvoy has been named Executive Director of the NAWCC. Rory is an internationally renowned horological scholar and comes to the NAWCC with strong credentials that solidly align with our education, fundraising, and membership growth objectives. He has a postgraduate degree in the conservation and restoration of antique clocks from West Dean College, and throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to handle some of the world’s most important horological artifacts, including longitude timekeepers by Harrison, Kendall, and Mudge.

    Rory formerly worked as Curator of Horology at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, where his role included day-to-day management of research and digitization projects, writing, public speaking, conservation, convening conferences, exhibition work, and development of acquisition/disposal and collection care policies. In addition, he has worked as a horological specialist at Bonhams in London, where he cataloged and handled many rare timepieces and built important relationships with collectors, buyers, and sellers. Most recently, Rory has used his talents to share his love of horology at the university level by teaching horological theory, history, and the practical repair and making of clocks and watches at Birmingham City University.

    Rory is a British citizen and currently resides in the UK. Pre-COVID-19, Rory and his wife, Kaai, visited HQ in Columbia, Pennsylvania, where they met with staff, spent time in the Museum and Library & Research Center, and toured the area. Rory and Kaai will be relocating to the area as soon as the immigration challenges and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 permit.

    Some of you may already be familiar with Rory as he is also a well-known author and lecturer. His recent publications include the book Harrison Decoded: Towards a Perfect Pendulum Clock, which he edited with Jonathan Betts, and the article “George Graham and the Orrery” in the journal Nuncius.

    Until Rory’s relocation to the United States is complete, he will be working closely with an on-boarding team assembled by the NAWCC Board of Directors to introduce him to the opportunities and challenges before us and to ensure a smooth transition. Rory will be participating in strategic and financial planning immediately, which will allow him to hit the ground running when he arrives in Columbia

    You can read more about Rory McEvoy and this exciting announcement in the upcoming March/April issue of the Watch & Clock Bulletin.

    Please join the entire Board and staff in welcoming Rory to the NAWCC community.

Noob Here Looking for Help

NCHappyDaddy

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Feb 19, 2021
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Howdy!! I’m completely new to clock collecting with my first ever purchase being a week ago tomorrow and my fourth purchase today. I currently live in South Carolina. I know very little about clocks and the proper terminology do please forgive me if I use highly technical terms like “doohickey,” “doodling rod,” or “whatchamathinger.”

First, I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone here for having this resource available to noobies like me, free of charge. This is amazing to have access to so many experts and experienced clock makers to provide info to a nobody like myself!!! So again, THANK Y

So today I bought my first non-working clock to attempt a repair. I was told the main spring was bad and maybe more. I knew full well that the clock has some issues. The case is in really good condition. The problem I’m having is that I can’t find any identifying markings anywhere on the clock. Nothing on the brass, nothing on the case, nothing on the face, nothing anywhere. That said, I was hoping some of you may be able to point me in the right direction.

The only history the previous owner had on it is that he bought it when he was in the military and stationed in Germany while in a trip through the Black Forest over fifty years ago. He said a clock maker told him it was around 100 years old about twenty years ago when he went to get a price for repairing it and to buy a new key. Could be total BS and I knew that going into this but I just wanted to experience of trying to repair the thing.

That said, I tore the clock down today to investigate what the problem is. The springs seem to be okay. Maybe weak but definitely not broken. I found a warped/bent gear and straightened it. The only obvious thing I could find is that the lever (I believe the lever to sync the chime to the correct hour) has a black “spring” or arm that had broken off. I found the other piece still in the works. It may have had everything bound up and prevented it from working. Anyhow, since I cannot find any identifying markings on the clock, I’m having trouble finding the right part. I’m posting some photos to provide an idea as to what I’m into in hopes that someone may be familiar with this particular clock brand and maybe can help provide some information.

In the photo, you will see the lever on the right side. If you follow it to the left side you’ll see a black component attached to it by what appears to be a rivet. This black piece is the broken part.It has a longer narrow section that extends downward to the clock dial. You can see the part that broke off at the bottom of the picture in the paper plate. I’ve also posted a pic of the case just in case that helps with identifying the clock.

Thanks for any information you may be able to provide!!!

BBA70186-19BE-4E48-AA50-C4CC351AF909.jpeg CEB40C2D-7795-491A-8B9A-2105FE7E094B.jpeg 70FC1F8F-4DD2-418C-A67F-15BA32C701CF.jpeg 071A07A0-F7DA-4194-B5E5-E694594F23D4.jpeg D9B28648-E6BB-46B9-B813-CCD82247A766.jpeg
 

kinsler33

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Clock repair is not like automobile repair. Make, model, and serial number are irrelevant, and nobody sells specific parts. Thus anything that's broken or worn out must be made or adapted from something else. Lots of movements come through without any markings.

I'm afraid I don't know what that black part with the disk-shaped counterweight is for, but I doubt that it's preventing the clock from running.

The movement should be cleaned--preferably by disassembling it first. You can use charcoal lighter fluid (outdoors, with caution) as a cleaning agent. Soak the springs as well. Then see if that frees up the wheels.

The movement is presumably German, but those brass retainer clips are odd.

Mark Kinsler
 

shutterbug

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First, for the proper nomenclature, you have a striking clock, not a chiming clock. The broken part appears to be the lift mechanism that sets up the strike. You might be able to hard solder it back in place. Otherwise you'll have to find a donor movement to take the part from, or attempt to make one. Either of those last two options will be difficult. As Mark said, there are no parts any more. If you have a machine shop near you, you could ask them to do the soldering. Don't try it with regular soft solder. It needs to be pretty strong to do its job. It appears to be badly twisted too, and that will probably need to be fixed. It depends on how the lift is performed, which I can't see in the pics.
 
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NCHappyDaddy

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Thanks for the feedback. So I have the starter fluid and am currently cleaning the parts. I did pull the part in question for a better look. I'm posting photos of it in addition to a photo of some hand engraving I found on the clock. I've also seen this number on a piece of masking tape on the back of the case.

I have ordered clock oil from Amazon but in the meantime, would RemOil gun oil suffice?

As far as tools are concerned, I have done instrumentation and electronics work for over 24 years so I have a ton of instrument tools for precision and delicate type work. So far, those have gotten me along okay. I also have tools for my firearms which have come in handy.

IMG_1813.jpg IMG_1814.jpg IMG_1815.jpg IMG_1817.jpg IMG_1818.jpg
 
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Thomas Sanguigni

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Mark, I have seen those brass clips before, but I cannot remember the movement. They are soft, and they do take flight on removal. Careful, they need reshaped before putting them back on.
 

kinsler33

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The Remington oil is at least as good as the clock oil. I use Mobil1 0W-20 full synthetic from Walmart, which lasts forever.

You can likely solder a new extension onto that broken part. Use steel that's thin but hard and stiff--like a piece of mainspring that's been annealed.
 

NCHappyDaddy

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So, I’ve taken it all apart, cleaned in lighter fluid, wiped it all down, reassembled, and oiled. Neither of the springs are broken. One thing seems a bit odd to me though but it probably just lack of experience. The pendulum doesn’t make a full swing motion back and forth. It makes a full swing to the right but only returns halfway and hits a stopping point which makes it seem as if it’s stopping prematurely. But, it’s on the right swing when it doesn’t move far enough to make the gear click on tooth. But it seems to be made this way, not like there’s some foreign object obstructing it. I’m at a loss, any ideas?
 

NCHappyDaddy

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Hello NCH

It’s probably out of beat. It needs to be in beat to run at all. If it’s way out of beat you may get a tick, but no tock. Read this thread:

Beat Setting 101

Michael
You, good sir, are an absolute genius. So, I’m thinking there was an obstruction or it’s an odd clock when in reality, I was being too gentle with the crutch. I didn’t have to bend the crutch at all though. The “shaft” that connects the pendulum to the escapement (:???:) will actually pivot (with a little friction) and allow for adjustment of the pendulum. This has finally allowed the clock to swing fully, back and forth. Now, if I can just get the strike working.

thanks!!!
 

NCHappyDaddy

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WOOHOO!!! Just finished up and she’s running on all engines!!!

Basically, what I found was that on of the gears was a little bent up and the entire striking train (?) was a little jacked up. Nothing was actually broken. Well, not until I broke the suspension spring. At any rate, it’s all working now and hanging in its new home on the wall. I plan to give it another cleaning once I get the US cleaner and spruce up the case a bit. I think I’ll send a quick clip to the previous owners too just to let them know it’s in good hands. Well, hopefully anyhow.

Thank you all for your help. This was DEFINITELY a great learning experience. I have a much better understanding now and appreciation about how these things work.
 
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kinsler33

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You, good sir, are an absolute genius. So, I’m thinking there was an obstruction or it’s an odd clock when in reality, I was being too gentle with the crutch. I didn’t have to bend the crutch at all though. The “shaft” that connects the pendulum to the escapement :):???::) will actually pivot (with a little friction) and allow for adjustment of the pendulum. This has finally allowed the clock to swing fully, back and forth. Now, if I can just get the strike working.

thanks!!!
Good. Note that these moveable joints between crutch and the anchor arbor can sometimes (not often) loosen. If that happens the clock might run, but it'll run poorly--sometimes it'll start going very quickly if the joint (clutch?) is loose enough, and it can drive you nuts. Some of these joints can be repaired, but some cannot unless you un-rivet them.

Mark Kinsler
 

shutterbug

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What did you do with the broken piece?
 

NCHappyDaddy

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What did you do with the broken piece?
Good question!

Upon actually observing the full sequence of the striking train in action, I saw that everything was working without missing a beat. I attempted to epoxy the broken piece to the end of where I suspected that it came from but when I lined everything up, there’s no way I would work if it was there originally. The extension Simply made that component TOO long. The biggest problem I found is that the wire “fingers” on the striking mechanism was all jacked up and wouldn’t allow the striking sequence to complete. Once I was able to figure out where everything there was supposed to go, I reinstalled the linkage from the snail to the striking “star” gear and off she went. Once it was working, I stopped looking for the source of the mystery piece. Still have no idea where it came from.

Thanks for asking!!
 

NCHappyDaddy

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I’ll post a quick clip later today of it in action. I’m just a little proud of myself, if you can’t tell.
 

shutterbug

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That piece must have got in the clock somehow, and might even be why it stopped. Glad to hear of your success, and would love to see a video of it working.
 

Dick Feldman

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If you plan to continue with clock repair, it might be a good idea to speak the language. A good way would be to find a mentor. Even a mentor with bad habits can teach good lessons. Another would be to go to your local library and check out a few books on clock repair. Those books are a trusted source of information.
You may get opinions on this board, so here is mine.
Your clock is working but all of the problems may not be solved. Approaching clock repair as clean, oil and adjust may only be a distraction.
As you know from your experience with instruments, a dirty clock in good shape will run, more oil many times is not necessary or helpful and adjustments to cure wear are ineffective.
You will find that your biggest enemy with clock repair is friction due to wear. After a machine has run for a number of years (like a hundred or so with your current clock), the friction from wear will overcome the power supplied to the movement. The proper cure for that is to solve the wear which is the root problem. Long term, reliable operation is a good goal with clock repair. Just making it go normally will be a short term and unreliable repair.
Clean, oil and adjust are not bad for clock movements but those are mostly preventative measures, not curative.

Best Regards and welcome to the board,

Dick
 

NCHappyDaddy

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If you plan to continue with clock repair, it might be a good idea to speak the language. A good way would be to find a mentor. Even a mentor with bad habits can teach good lessons. Another would be to go to your local library and check out a few books on clock repair. Those books are a trusted source of information.
You may get opinions on this board, so here is mine.
Your clock is working but all of the problems may not be solved. Approaching clock repair as clean, oil and adjust may only be a distraction.
As you know from your experience with instruments, a dirty clock in good shape will run, more oil many times is not necessary or helpful and adjustments to cure wear are ineffective.
You will find that your biggest enemy with clock repair is friction due to wear. After a machine has run for a number of years (like a hundred or so with your current clock), the friction from wear will overcome the power supplied to the movement. The proper cure for that is to solve the wear which is the root problem. Long term, reliable operation is a good goal with clock repair. Just making it go normally will be a short term and unreliable repair.
Clean, oil and adjust are not bad for clock movements but those are mostly preventative measures, not curative.

Best Regards and welcome to the board,

Dick
I totally agree on all of your points and thank you for your input.

I have actually purchased several clock repair books for that very reason but I’m still awaiting delivery from Amazon. I have receive a book about American made clocks but it’s more about styles, original values, and the makers. I also have the Clockmaker’s Beat Book 2021 scheduled for delivery today.

I imagine I do sound pretty silly with some of my references and not knowing the proper terminology but I hope to get there.

To your other point, you are 100% correct. In real life, I’m a manager over Engineering and Maintenance of an industrial facility. Last year we boasted a 97.8% uptime. I understand first hand that repair and maintenance aren’t necessarily one in the same. Sometime, a neglected piece of equipment can run with a little maintenance but until you determine root cause, you’re bound to be right back in the same place eventually.

I suspect, with this clock, looking at the condition and what seemed to be out of place, the previous owner possibly made an attempt to repair or replace the suspension spring and in doing so, made several unintentional “adjustments.” The only thing that makes me question myself on this is the “mystery” broken part that I can’t seem to find the source of. I’m definitely going to continue tinkering and troubleshooting until I’m satisfied the problem is actually 100% resolved.

Thanks again for your feedback and welcome!! It is really appreciated.
 

Dick Feldman

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An inexpensive book that is of help to both experienced and new clock people is: This Old Clock by David S. Goodman.
This the class notes from a clock repair class he once taught.
Dr. Goodman is no longer with us and the publication went out of print for some time.
Many thanks to Bangster Tapscott for helping Dr.. Goodman's family get it back into print.
The publication will help unlock the mysteries of the escapement like no other.
It is available through Amazon or on eBay.
Best of luck,
Dick
 
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NCHappyDaddy

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Feb 19, 2021
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An inexpensive book that is of help to both experienced and new clock people is: This Old Clock by David S. Goodman.
This the class notes from a clock repair class he once taught.
Dr. Goodman is no longer with us and the publication went out of print for some time.
Many thanks to Bangster Tapscott for helping Dr.. Goodman's family get it back into print.
The publication will help unlock the mysteries of the escapement like no other.
It is available through Amazon or on eBay.
Best of luck,
Dick
On the way!!! Thanks again!!

41F3FE2C-A274-4D58-9632-FE3F9BCB71B8.jpeg
 

Micam100

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Well done, now doesn't that feel good?
It seemed to labour a little between the fourth and fifth strikes so maybe have another look at the strike train next time you have it apart.
Michael
 
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