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Antique Clocks/Winding Instructions


I have a Seth Thomas Moon phase Mantel wind up clock (a friends) and need to know correct procedure for winding such clock. Clock mechanism works fine (slightly fast and lasts for appx a week) but the chime mechanism sill not wind fully. It goes so far and resists winding and I did not want to force it. Any help would be appreciated. Sincerely, Kevin Flanders

The correct procedure for winding any clock is to turn the winding key or crank until resistance to winding suddenly increases. The clock should then run for the correct number of days without further attention.

I assume this neighbors clock will not chime the entire week once being fully wound. Two possibilities exist for why this is occuring. One is the chime mechanism has some high friction and once the spring is partially unwound it cannot overcome this friction. This could be due to need for re-lubrication. I would first try oiling the clock being certain all pivot points receive a small amount of oil. It will probably be necessary to remove the movement from the case as some of the pivots are inassessible when the movement is in the case. There is also a possibility the pivots are worn and the staves (shafts) are binding in the pivots. To correct this will require partial rebushing of the clock.

Another possibility is that this clock has an overwind protector. The overwind protector is a pair of specially shaped gears that bind up when the spring is almost completely wound. Sometimes someone will wind it past the stop point of the overwind protector, then the chime mechanism will have only a turn or so of the main spring bull gear until it stops. What has to be done here is the overwind protector gear on the winding staff removed and the clocks chime mechanism tripped three or four times and the overwind protector gear be re-installed in exactly the same position on the staff as before it was removed. It would be a good idea to mark the relative position of this gear with a magic marker. It would insure correct installation. Also, be certain the two gears mesh exactly the same way, otherwise you will continue to have the same problem, just a lesser degree. Since this is a mantle clock, which I assume winds through the face, the overwind protector will be found on the front of the movement and will not be visible until the movement is removed. You can check for the presence of this device if you remove the movement for re-lubrication.  

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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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