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Antique Clocks/ships bell clock


My seth thomas clock strikes on the quarter hours, how do I fix this???? 1:15 2 bells 1:45 3 bells and so on.... please help

A ships bell clock strikes in a four hour sequence. Repeating this sequence 3 times in a 12 hour day. This is because the typical length of a watch was 4 hours long and this told the sailor how much longer he had to work before his watch was over. The relationship between the hands and the bells was established by the ships captain. Ships my father in law was on would sound 8 bells at 12, 4 and 8 o'clock. A friend of mine who is a navy veteran, told me theirs struck 8 bells at 6, 10 and 2 o'clock. I have one ships bell clock in my clock collection and have it set up the same way my father in laws ship operated.

What you should do is turn the hands until the clock strikes 8 times. Remove the hands and reinstall them at the 12 o'clock position. The minute hand is probably held on with a nut and has a square hole so it can be placed appropriately. The hour hand is a press fit onto a sleeve and can generally be turned but may have to be removed either partially or completely to reposition it.

I have encountered very few ships bell clocks. They were probably most popular with sailors and ex-navy veterans as they understood this striking sequence and it might bring back some pleasant memories.

To make this clock strike in the normal sequence would require replacement of both the minute hand staff trip cam and the snail which is on the hour hand sleeve. I personally would not do this as this is at least, in my opinion, a very nice piece to possess once you understand how it works.  

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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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