Your opinions on Gilbert clocks?

Isaac

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Aug 5, 2013
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Just a fun question I wanted to ask. What are your general opinions on Wm. Gilbert clocks? Of course, they have the reputation of cracked cannon pinions (and of course their 3 plate mini-movement housed in their crystal regulators), but I think they made some cool contributions to the mass produced clock industry (Look at the nice Owen patented gongs for their kitchen clocks, so on and so forth). Their jeweler regulator clocks are very nice IMHO in terms of case construction.

Do you think Gilbert's an underrated manufacturer?
 

Walt Wallgren

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I believe they are very underrated. I have 2 that come to mind. My first clock is a Gilbert Observatory that I inherited from my Grandfather. The other is an Ithica tall case with a Gilbert movement. Both are excellent timekeepers and isn't that the bottom line?
 

Salsagev

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Look at the nice Owen patented gongs for their kitchen clocks, so on and so forth
These sounded nicer than the basic cuckoo or a flexible gong - The Gilbert gongs were firm I think.

I think part of the reason that they don't do well in auctions is because these were "cheaper" clocks back in the day. They are considered basic and cheap but I disagree. I honestly think any of their cases were made "superior" to many British contemporary cases and even some ST cases. I've rarely seen any damaged Gilbert cases. I think their dials are nice too because they didn’t flake or tarnish as much as some makers. Their cases were firmly put together with decent quality wood and the door has a nice "push-to-release" feature.

They had a very nice assortment of movements as well.
 

Dave T

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I've got a very plain tambour Gilbert with the best sounding bim bam of all of my clocks.
 
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Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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I like Gilbert clocks.

You didn't mention the replaceable mainspring feature on some of there movements (good) and the funkey "spiral & saw gizmo" rating assembly on many of their movements (bad). Willie X
 

Dick C

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Oct 14, 2009
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Oh, Oh, the price to purchase will now go up.

Yet, the value of my Gilbert Regulator 6 and Regulator 9 will now increase as well!
 

Isaac

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I like Gilbert clocks.

You didn't mention the replaceable mainspring feature on some of there movements (good) and the funkey "spiral & saw gizmo" rating assembly on many of their movements (bad). Willie X
Good point on the easy removal mainsprings. Their adjustable beat setting feature on some of their clocks is pretty cool.
 

claussclocks

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I am quite pleased with the Gilbert clocks I have. Some of their mantel clocks use a very pleasant sounding "cathedral gong". The cracking cannon pinion is a known issue but also occurs with Ingraham clocks. However, when you stop to think about it when this pinion fails most of these clocks are close to 100 years old. Show me a part on your $30,000 plus or minus car that will last that long before breaking. Gilbert has made some beautiful cases and as stated they are usually good quality.
One interesting side point I have observed is. Most Gilbert clocks cannon pinion cracks usually occur between two teeth of the pinion. Ingraham usually crack through a tooth. Not a hard and fast rule but is a general observation on my part.

DPC
 

shutterbug

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I think they are quality movements with the exception of the cannon pinion issue. I believe they just drilled them too small and forced them on with too much pressure.
 

Kevin W.

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I like Gilbert clocks. I find ok to work on. As mentioned the cannon pinion problem. They made some nice regulators.
 

Salsagev

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What exactly does the cannon pinion issue do? If the pinion hasn’t broke, would it be wise to file a bigger hole?
 

Isaac

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What exactly does the cannon pinion issue do? If the pinion hasn’t broke, would it be wise to file a bigger hole?
The hands won't advance properly and will slip since the friction fit no longer has any friction for the cannon pinion.
 

shutterbug

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The cannon pinion often is cracked when received in the shop for repair. It's such a common issue that you can buy the pinion from most suppliers. The replacement though is also drilled too small, so I enlarge them a bit before putting them on the arbor. They need to be snug, but you shouldn't have to use a sledge hammer to put them in place :D
No lathe required for this fix.
 

chimeclockfan

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I had a Gilbert gingerbread for a while. Nicely pressed case details and glass with reverse patterning. Pendulum was more ornate compared to similar clocks from other makers. The movement was worn after years of use and saw little action when I had it. The clock was eventually sold to another hobbyist who really wanted it.

There was also a Gilbert tambour - also sold - with 'Normandy Chimes' bim-bam strike. The bim-bam on rods was nicer sounding than the pots 'n pans gongs old American clocks tended to have.
 

Salsagev

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There was also a Gilbert tambour - also sold - with 'Normandy Chimes' bim-bam strike. The bim-bam on rods was nicer sounding than the pots 'n pans gongs old American clocks tended to have.
Don't forget the three rod strike as well!
 

Salsagev

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Think this is the true “Normandy” chime.
 

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