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Antique Clocks/Waterbury Wall Clock

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QUESTION: Hi Tom,

Try as I may I am unable to resolve a problem that I can normally resolve, I have a small Vienna with the details made in Wurttemburg with the number 2822 on the case.

The works have crossed arrows with the numbers 129/33/230 on it, I have as you described to someone else when adjusting the chime how to adjust the hands etc which is something I normally do which resolves the problem however this time if I put the hand on the half hour it chimes once, when putting on the hour it will chime the hour but the next time it is on the half hour it will chime many times again and even as many as 13 times, also at chime time I have to spin the hammer wheel gently to get the hammer to move and when it does its speed varies from slow to normal, so is there another way to adjust? or is it a workshop task?

Any assistance you could give would be of great assistance, it is only the chime as it keeps time very well and does not stop.

Kind Regards

Dave

ANSWER: It sounds like the lubricating oil has thickened preventing the chime counting levers from moving correctly. Many times these levers depend only on gravity to turn them on their pivot pins. Hence, have to be very friction free to operate correctly. These levers are located behind the face of the clock and in most cases are accessible only after the movement has been removed.

To remove the movement, first remove the hands. The minute hand is held on be either a tapered pin or a nut. However, before removing the movement turn the minute hand to about 5 minutes after the hour and make a note of the time setting so you can get both hands back on so they coordinate with the chime, then remove the movement by unscrewing the wood screws that hold it in place. I have found carburetor cleaner does a good job of removing gummy oil from pivots. Be sure to do this in a well ventilated area. Be especially careful to get the pivot that supports the rack and the little racheting lever that keeps it from falling down as the chime is counted out. Work these up and down a little bit as you squirt the cleaner. Give everything a little spray of WD-40 afterwards and allow it to dry. It will then be necessary to lubricate all the pivot points using a household type oil such as sewing machine oil. Lubricate the main springs with an automotive engine oil and reassemble the clock. Be certain you have gotten all the pivots as a dry one will wear rapidly.

A professional clock maker might insist the clock be disassembled for cleaning, however I do not recommend this unless you have experience in this area.

The main springs must be retained to prevent damaging the small parts.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello again Tom,

I have another problem that I am unable to resolve, I have a double door Jerome eight day wall clock that prior to me obtaining it someone has tried to replace the Verge but not very well, I am aware there are suppliers who have replacement verge kits etc but not knowing the dimensions of an original Jerome verge I have no comparison to construct another.

Are you aware of any workshop manuals for Jerome clocks? or somewhere that would supply a ready made one? the wheel in the clock has 42 teeth which face to the right, any help on this would be greatly appreciated.

Kind Regards

Dave

ANSWER: Both Timesavers (www.timesavers.com) and Merritts (www.merritts.com) have books on clock repair. Some deal with escapements and how to adjust them, etc. Both offer replacement verges and a matched pair verge and escape wheel. The matched pair is a sure fire way of correcting any escapement problem provided center distances between pivots is not a problem. They both also offer an adjustable verge which can be heat treated after it has been bent to the correct shape. Heat treating it would consist of heating it red hot with a propane torch and quenching it in water. It should then be polished with sand paper and tempered by heating it until the polished surface just begins to darken.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello again Tom,

Just a quick question, are Waterbury clocks with the painted panel in the door supposed to strike on the half hour? if they are how can it be adjusted to chime the half hour?

Kind Regards

Dave

Answer
All of the older clocks in my collection strike both the hour and half hour. In some cases, the regular chime spiral is used with the same hammer. In other cases, a separate bell with its own hammer strikes the half hour to differentiate it from a one hour strike.

Since you do not mention any problems with the hour strike, I assume the counting wheel does not have the half hour strike function on it. What you will probably find is there is a separate rod running from the hammer staff to the strike cam which drops the hammer on the half hour. Sometimes this gets bent out of shape by turning the hands backwards through the half hour position. What you must do is rebend it so the strike cam lifts it and drops it at the appropriate time.  The strike cam, of course, is located on the minute hand staff in the very center of the movement.

If you have one of the newer clocks, it will use rack and snail counting. For the half hour strike, a seperate cam is employed which is smaller than the hour strike cam lobe. This raises the rack release only far enough to give one strike. If this is out of adjustment it will not raise the release far enough. Again this is adjusted by bending the rod.  

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Tom Williams

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

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

Education/Credentials
BEE from Cleveland State University

Awards and Honors
Four patents.

Past/Present Clients
Friends and family

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