Recommendations for good and useful clock books

Sammyt97

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Aug 18, 2006
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Hi Everyone,

I was wondering if anyone could recommend a couple of really good books on clocks. I'm looking particularly for ones on repairs and ones on identifying clocks. I have so many questions and I'm trying not to post them all in a week. The people on these boards are really helpful and informative though and it;s much appreciated. I'm sure everyone has to start one way or another and learning from the pros is the best way. Anyway, any suggestions you folks have would be much appreciated.

Thanks ahead of time.
Chris
 

Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

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The way you phrase your initial question, of course, is impossible to answer. Ther are at least 25'000 books on clocks and watches, and probably over half I would classify as useful, or "good" in some way or for some purpose.

Some of the best books however, for instance have not (or not yet) been published in English. For instance by far the best book listing the various clock manufacturers of Germany during the industrial era (Schmid , Lexikon, Uhrenindustrie) is only available in German. There is no comparable title in English, the best English one is Kochman, but Kochman is only a "good and usefull" book for those who are unabel or unwilling to study a text in German.

Furthermore the vast majority of books ever published on horology were published long ago and they are out of print, so you can not buy them at a regular bookstore, but have to hunt for them among horological booksellers. Would you include or exclude those hard to find horological books in your list of "good and usefull" books?


The answer also depends on your learning style (and your learning goals). Some people learn best by doing and trial and error, so for them a Clock repair book, has to offer practical step-by-step instructions. Others, like me, can not learn anything unless they first understand the underlying reason for doing anything a particular way, so for me a book requires lots of theoretical background information, but I know that for many people this wood not be a good book to study clock repair.


Another consideration is "price". The best book on a subject may be expensive. If you want to learn about "precision pendulum clocks" the best book is possibly Erbrich, but it is rare and costs about 350 Dollars if you can find it, the best englsih book is probably the trilogy by Derek Roberts, but that cost also about $240. So for somebody on a limited budget the most "usefull" book (in the sense of "the most bang for your buck") may be some much more modest publications.

There are plently of experts on this list, who are willing to share their idea of best and most usefull, but to really profit from all that advice, you really should ask a more specific question, or describe your situation in more detail.

Welcome to the horological book message board.

Fortunat
 

Sammyt97

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Aug 18, 2006
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Hi Fortunat,

Thanks so much for your reply. I had no idea there were that many books on clocks nor did I realize how much some of them would cost. That just goes to show you how new I am to all of this. To be more specific, I am new to clock collecting and repairing. Most of the repairs I've done are on my own clocks or family members and friends clocks. I have been successful in the minor endevours, but I want to learn more about basic repairs and more importantly learn the parts of a clock (preferably antique clocks of all kinds)I am definitely a hands on trial and error type of person, however I can't order parts without knowing what the specific parts are. I'm looking for a book that's reasonable in price and basically for beginners. The other thing I want to educate myself on is the types of clocks, makers etc. I wonder if there are a few good reference books that would be thorough enough to cover that topic. I may be talking in circles just trying to explain in enough detail.
Thnaks for taking the time to respond to my question.
Chris
 

Tom McIntyre

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The first book I ever bought on clocks was purchased when I was at about your level of knowledge. It was Ward Goodrich, "The Modern Clock." Over the years I have felt it was an unusually good buy for a random guess.

It has been reprinted many times and is widely available.
 

Ralph

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A couple of popular books easily found, on the subject of repair, are Donald de Carles book, Practical Clock Repair and W.J. Gazeley's book, Watch & Clok Making and Repairing.

W.J. Gazeley also has a book on watch and clock escapements.

Another book I find indispensible is Britten's Watch & Clock Maker's Handbook , Dictionary and Guide.

Eric Smith has some books on repair, that seem to include some newer movements.

You should be able to find these books used, but most of them are available in new printings.

There are many other books, but these will get you out of the chute.

Good luck in your endeavors.

Ralph
 

Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

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In my personal opinion both recommendations above have much merit.

For the beginner Goodrich is probably more appropriate, and Tom is right, it represents excellent value for the money. Its reprinted facsimile edition (detail info see below) is widely available, including the NAWCC online giftstore.

GAzeleys escapement book in my opinion is essential reading and a must have for anybody seriously getting into horological repairs, but I would recomend to wait for a year or so to read it untill you have encountered a few different escapements.

Here are the details of the two books mentioned from my book database:

---------------------------

# Title: Modern Clock [The..] - A Study of Timekeeping Mechanism, Its Construction, Regulation and Repair
SubTitle: Unabridged reproduction (1984) 0f 1905 original publication
# Author: Ward L. Goodrich
# Publisher: Arlington Book Company
Keywords: textbook historic adjust
ISBN: 0 930163 23 0 -- Library of Congress: TS545.G63 1984 84-24277 -- Dewey: 681.1'13'0288
Language: ENG
Notes: Classic Text on Clock Repair, comprehensive, Used as Textbook by NAWCC school clock courses
Edition: 1984 -- Copyright: 1905
Kind: Book
Type: Clock (general)
Geographic area: USA
Topic: Repair
Organization: NA/other
Pages: 502 -- Height in cm: 19
Print Status: 1 (1 means in print - 2 means out of print)
BHM ID: 1167
------------------------------------------

# Title: Clock and Watch Escapments
# Author: W.J. Gazeley
# Publisher: Robert Hale
Keywords: escapement advanced
Language: ENG
Notes: Classic textbook on escapemt theory and geometry
Edition: 1992, reprint -- Copyright: 1956
Kind: Book
Type: Timekeeper (general)
Geographic area: Not Geographic
Topic: EscapmentScie
Organization: NA/other
Pages: 294 -- Height in cm: 21
Print Status: 1 (1 means in print - 2 means out of print)
BHM ID: 1466
________________________________

Remember: The important thing is to read and study, and continue to do so even after you have your urgent questions answered. The wolrd of horological knowlege is huge, you will never run out of material to study.

Fortunat Mueller-MAerki
 

Vernon

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Hi Sammy97
I started repairing clocks just a year ago and prior to that struggled like you in finding good books on the topic of repair. Practical Clock Repair by Donald de Carle, The Modern Clock by Goodrich and The Clock Repairer's Handbook by Laurie Penman have all been very helpful as far as repairing is concerned. I purchased at marts and used book stores. Join the NAWCC and your local chapter to gain knowledge. Best of luck.
Vernon
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bchaps

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As I was learning clock repair, my needs were most often in the "how to" category and that need was met by Steven Conover's "Striking Clock Repair" and "Chime Clock Repair" and Huckabee's "Top 300 Trade Secrets". Conover and Huck were my most frequently used resources to begin working on movements but, these books then helped me develop adequate knowledge to read and appreciate Goodrich and Gazeley.

Bill
 

jmclaugh

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You have got lots of good advice as always from the above posts. If you are looking for out of print books then AbeBooks is a very good site. There is also a very good intro to clock repair on the site below you may want to check out.

click here
 

John Webb

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I tend to learn more from classroom type textbooks. Anyone know which books are used in the first 5 clock repair courses at the NAWCC School of Horology?

John
 

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