Clocks, Watches/Hermie 341 020
Hi John - I purchased a used Hermie model 341 020 mantel clock for my wife. It appears to be in good shape and nothing appears to be broken. I can't seem to keep it running. It runs for a couple seconds and then stops, but I did notice it will chime if I move a leaver on the upper left hand side of the movement.
I saw in an earlier reply of yours that you said they couldn't be over wound but the movements could be gummy. Do you have any suggestions? Would a couple shots of WD-40 work? Also is there a website that I can download a users manual?
Joe, it could be that the pendulum verge has slipped and it is out of beat. I will copy you on the diagnostic steps I have written below. This applies to mostly floor and wall clocks, but look at the section on the clock being out of beat and to correct that the pendulum can be slipped one way or the other past the normal stopping point. The part about holding the pendulum over to one side does not apply to mantel clock without an auto-beat function. DO NOT use WD-40, spray or non-approved lubricants on the clock. I use WD-40 for many uses, but not for a lubricant on clocks. When a clock stops due to gummy lubricants, there is usually ground up powdery brass and steel which will show up as black residue around the pivots and moving parts. WD-40 does soften the lubricants and the clock might work, but the parts will continue to wear. Also, if WD-40 has been used on a clock, it will contaminate the cleaning solutions we use, so we have to wash and rinse the parts multiple times to remove the WD-40, which increases the charge for servicing the clock. Here are the general instructions for a clock not running. I am on vacation for a week, but if you will contact me at my email address below, I will see what manuals I might have for your clock.
CLOCK NOT WORKING
THE FIRST LEVEL IS THE SETUP.
For Floor Clocks If the clock is in operating condition but not working, I would check the stability of the clock in that it doesn't rock or wobble on the floor. It should be relatively level. The level is not critical, as setting the beat (below) will correct for this.
Next, verify that the weights are hung correctly. On most clocks the weights vary in weight. The general rule is that if two weights are equal, the third weight, if it is heavier, goes on the right side (as you face the clock). If the third weight is lighter, it goes on the left. This most often applies to clocks with a stick pendulum. If a decorative metal lyre pendulum is used, the center weight usually has to weigh a little more, sometimes as much as the right chime weight.
Is the pendulum hanging configuration correct? This means that the suspension spring, hanger, verge and pendulum are all connected properly with nothing broken, especially the suspension spring. When the pendulum swings, it should be "in beat", meaning that when the pendulum swings you hear an even tick....tock....tick....tock. If it is uneven, like tick..tock......tick..tock, the clock will probably stop. Most later model movements have an "auto-beat" mechanism. The beat can be set by holding the pendulum over to one side next to the case and releasing it. It will automatically correct itself. If it does not have this feature, the escapement crutch will have to be slipped manually. If required, I would need a good description of the verge and hanger mechanism or a photo of the back of the movement to give you instructions for that. Also check to see if the hands are catching on each other or the dial. Look at the chime and strike hammers to see if they are all in alignment at the rest position. Sometimes jammed hammers or the drive mechanisms will stall the clock.
For Mantel or Wall Clocks The clock should be stable and not wobble or rock. There should be an even beat (explained above). If not, wall clocks can be set in beat by moving the bottom of the clock to one side or the other. Some wall clocks have the auto-beat adjustment. Mantle clocks can be shimmed up on one side or the other to obtain an even beat. These methods work if the beat is not off too much. If the out-of-beat condition of these clocks are excessive, other adjustments have to be made.
THE SECOND LEVEL INCLUDES MAINTENANCE
Usually, the first symptom of a clock failing is that the chime and/or strike mechanisms slow down and then fail altogether. At this point the clock needs to be serviced. This includes cleaning, inspecting, oiling and adjusting. In the inspection, the movement is checked for adjustments, broken or worn parts. If there are any broken or worn parts, we go to the third level. If all parts are okay, a good clock oil and grease is used. In most cases the movement should be removed from the case to have access to all the lubrication points. Clock lubricants can be bought from clock suppliers. Using lubricants for other applications can cause problems, as some lubricants are not compatible with others. This even applies to different clock oils. After lubricating, the operation is checked for final adjustments. I recommend maintenance be performed every 7 to 10 years.
THE THIRD LEVEL IS REPAIR.
This requires that the movement be broken down and all parts inspected and repaired or replaced, and then reassembled lubricated, adjusted and tested. I do not recommend this except by an experienced clockmaker.
THE VILLAGE CLOCKSMITH
Due to the number of Allexperts questions and
the workload I have at my clock shop, I regret
that I cannot answer personal email questions
on a timely basis other than Allexperts follow ups.