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Antique Clocks/Found a makers mark


Ebony wood clock
Ebony wood clock  
QUESTION: I don't see makers mark. It  has been in family from 1890

ANSWER: I can not say I have seen a clock exactly like yours or that I haven't. I have been to quite a few museums and clock shops and there were many beautiful clocks built.

There were many manufacturers of clock cases and relatively few builders of movements. That was undoubtedly a very expensive clock as I see three winding arbors. This indicates it is a chime and strike clock, probably Westminster and hour strike.

Clocks built before approximately 1830 would have had a cast brass movement. Both the side plates and the gears would have had a pretty complex shape to them and show a bit of sand casting roughness in areas which were not machined. Later clocks were made of sheet brass which was very smooth but of a simpler shape.

It certainly is a beautiful clock and if kept oiled it should give many more years of service.

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makers mark
makers mark  
QUESTION: Found makers mark what do you think. The chimes don't work. Nothing worked until I oiled and moved some gears. The chimes will work once if I wind up there gears from inside the case I think just like the gong  and hands it needs cleaned and oiled but that means taking the giant movement out of the case.I wish this was easier.Randall


What you have there is probably a Winterharder & Hoffmeier clock. The above link is a history of the clock company.

You probably have no choice but to remove the movement to clean and lubricate it. Sometimes the hands and face can be removed and lubrication done from the front and back, however, this is not always the case. Some say the only way to clean a clock is to completely disassemble it, however, I do not recommend you do this unless you are experienced in doing this kind of thing.

Spring driven clocks are easily removed as there are no weight chains and cables to worry about. Cable driven clocks will sometimes go slack and foul on the drums. To prevent this from happening, put a small weight when you remove the large weight to maintain a little bit of tension on the cable. Chain driven clocks usually give very few problems as long as the movement can be kept upright while it is being handled.

There are specialty cleaning solutions for clocks, however I have excellent success using carburetor and choke cleaner available at big box stores. Carb clean is extremely flammable so spray this in only a well ventilated area away from ignition sources. Get the gears to move, the pendulum rod to swing, etc. while the cleaner is still on the movement. The movement will stop in a few minutes as the cleaner evaporates, then lubricate the entire movement using a oil which you would use on a sewing machine. For lubricating springs, I have found engine oil to be more suitable. However, keep that away from the upper pivots as it is too thin and will bind up the movement. Be certain you get every pivot point where the staffs come through the plates, also be certain every pinion (small gear) as well as the escape wheel get a little bit of lubrication. Let the movement sit for a while and use a lint free cloth to absorb any excess oil. Lately, I have been spraying movements with WD-40 before lubrication to be certain every brass item gets a protective coating. Again, be certain to let the WD-40 dry before applying the final lubricants. Sorry to say this, but removal from the case is just about always something that always has to be done.  

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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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