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Antique Clocks/Plymouth Mantel Clock won't chime


QUESTION: i'm inquiring about my Plymouth No. 124 mantel clock.  The clock will no chime on any hour or quarter hour.  I've slowly moved the hand around to see if it would chime on any hand and it won't.  Any suggestions?  Thank you for your time and help.

ANSWER: The first thing to try on a clock that does not run properly is to relubricate it. There are special clock oils available from Timesavers ( and Merritts (, however I have found the household oils such as sewing machine oils work well. It is best to remove the movement in order to get to all of the pivot points and gears, however sometimes with the use of toothpicks you can avoid this step.

Your Plymouth clock is actually a Seth Thomas. It was probably manufactured in Thomaston, CT. The name Thomaston was in honor of Seth Thomas himself. The name of the town was originally Plymouth and their clocks were marketed under both names.

If relubrication does not solve the problem, inspect the gear train for excessive wear at the pivot points. This is done by moving the third wheel gears back and forth and looking for the staffs to have excessive movement in the pivots. If this is the case, get back to me and I will tell you how to partially close the holes and redrill them. If relubrication solves the problem just enjoy your clock.

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QUESTION: Good evening,
I tried to oil it and still no chimes.  You can here it clunk when it hits the 15, 30, 45, and hr, but no chime.
How do you get to the gear train?  I don't want to take apart something that is wrong.

Sorry for the delay but we were out of town. The gear train consists of the wheels sticking out of both sides of the movement. You should be able to reach those with your fingers. The chime train is on your left as you face the rear of the clock.

If you have not done so already, you may have to pull the movement from the case. This is done by removing the hands and some wood screws that hold the movement in. Do NOT remove the nuts that hold the back plate in place. This will send pieces flying all over the place. Before you remove the hands, set the minute hand about 3 minutes past one of the chime points. Make a note of the time it is set for.

I have found clocks can be cleaned effectively with a spray can of carburetor cleaner. Be certain to get all of the pivot points where the staffs come through the plates. There are a couple of levers, one of which supports a gear sector on the very front of the movement. This was inaccessible when the movement was in the case. Be sure these pivot points also get a little squirt of cleaner and they are worked up and down to get the gummy oil out. Be sure to do this in a well ventilated area. Lately I have been finishing off with a little squirt of WD-40 on the entire movement. Then lubricate the entire movement with the oil I mentioned before. I have not been entirely satisfied with these oils with spring movements and lately have been using automotive engine oils for this purpose. Be careful not to get automotive lubricants on the chime levers, fans and the escapement.

A professional clock maker would probably disassembly of the movement, however, I would not recommend this unless you have considerable experience over hauling clocks. Also, before disassembly and if the clock uses loop end mainsprings, they must be contained with c clips which prevent them from damaging the clock parts.  

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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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