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Antique Clocks/tavern clock


We inherited a late 1700's (we were told) from my wife's father's estate. It was working perfectly until we moved it to our home. We had to remove the weight, and somehow the winding cable (mloop? became snarled. I fixed that and reattached it to the hook. But now the cable goes into free-fall, spinning the winding drum in about 1 second rather than keeping time. I hope you can tell me what could be wrong. The face has apparently been replaced, for there is no mfr. name on it anywhere. I'm almost sure nothing is actually missing, but something is definitely out of place or broken. My father-in-law was an expert, and I'd be in trouble if he were still with us. I hope you can help.


If the clock is as old as you were told, it probably has either a cast brass or wood movement, in any case it probably has a defective click. The click allows the cable drum to turn the large bull gear on the cable drum staff. It is pushed down by a leaf spring which is either steel or wood. Sometimes this spring will break and sometimes it simply becomes dislodged from the click or the pin which is on the gear. You will probably have to remove the movement from the case to investigate and repair this.

In the future when you move this clock, apply tension to the weight cable with a rubber band. This rubber band can be secured to a screw eye at the bottom of the case. If you intend to store the clock for a long period of time, use a light spring instead as a rubber band may snap after a year or so.

I have one of these clocks myself, it is a Seth Thomas. This design uses rolled brass side plates. You might want to access Seth Thomas online and look up the history. They show some good pictures of movements you might compare with yours. However, mine and the ones pictured are for time and striking clocks with one day movements. These weight driven clocks were built as late as 1910, I believe. As I said before, if the clock is older than this early design it would probably have a cast brass movement.

The face on mine is in extremely bad condition, however, I am going to keep it as this is a part of the original clock. I may put something in front of it to improve the appearance depending on where I display it.  

Antique Clocks

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Tom Williams


I can not think of any questions I cannot answer in regard to repairing antique clocks or radios. However, I am sure there are a few I have not heard and may not be able to answer. If I cannot, I will say so. I have been repairing them since I was a young child.


My experience includes repairing CooKoo clocks, Westminsters, BimBam, almost all antique clocks. I do a bit of repair on battery clocks where the value is sufficient to warrant working on them. I also repair antique (tube type) radios - all makes.

Indiana Historical Radio Society, Illinois Valley Antique Car Club, Military Vehicle Preservation Association

BEE from Cleveland State University

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Four patents.

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