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Antique Clocks/Sessions Mantle Clock


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inside of clock
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I recently acquired a Sessions Mantle Clock that had been in my grandparents house, vintage 1938-1943 (?). It was not running and did not have a wind key so I bought one. Looking at the face, the right wind I could wind all the way up. The left was very hard to turn and looks like it strips out the key. I could wind it a few clicks at a time but gave up because I didn't want to damage the clock. Is there anything I can do or should I send to a repair service. I know the clock is only worth about $50 but it has sentimental value.

I see one spring is completely wound and the other about half wound. The one that is half wound is for the chime and I assume this is the one you cannot turn. I would try removing the movement from the case and lubricating it. For the upper pivots, you should use an oil such as a sewing machine oil. I have used engine oil on the lower pivots and the springs. When you have the movement removed, you can see if the click is free to operate and if there is something binding between the winding arbor staff and the mainspring gear, note there is a counting wheel between this gear and the spring. Since there are teeth on the counting wheel, it turns at a higher speed than the other gear, so any binding between these two would make it very difficult to wind.

In general, it will probably be obvious what is wrong once you remove the movement from the case. Sometimes it is necessary to disassemble the movement to make a repair, but it is a lot easier if you can avoid this. If you do disassemble the movement be sure to mark the positions of the gears and pins in the chime gear train. Photographs might also be useful in being certain the clock chimes properly when you are done. Also, be certain to retain the springs so they do not fly out and cause damage when you disassemble it.

Certain parts are available from organizations such as Merritts ( and Timesavers ( They also have lubricants specificallly formulated for clocks. They also have a book on Sessions 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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