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Clocks, Watches/perivale mantel clock


QUESTION: Hi Mr Newman
I found a Perivale Mantel Clock in a junk shop. It has 3 winding key holes, it sounds like a Westminster Gong with chimes. First question is where would I be able to buy a Key to wind it up and how to find out what size of key it uses the shafts that the key fits onto look square shape. It has a pendulum, length adjustable with a screw at the bottom of it fast and slow indicated either side of brass weight. I hope you can decipher this description OK as I know nothing about clocks. I love the sound of the chimes and gong and would love to get it to work.
         Kind Regards
         Danny Kearney
         Glasgow Scotland UK

ANSWER: Hi, Danny.  It's always good to find a clock such as yours at a "junk shop"!  I had a Perivale mantel clock in my shop but sold it a couple of months ago.  I believe that most of the Perivale mantel clocks use the same key, but there are sometimes differences.  If the key is too small it will not fit on and if it is too large it will possibly slip when winding and cause damage to the clock and also personal injury. It is best to have a clockmaker fit the key to insure it is the correct size.  If there are no clockmakers in your area, is it possible that you or someone can measure across the flat parts of the winding arbors (the square shafts)?  It would have to be accurate to around .1 mm or .01".  One of the problems is that the key sizes do vary between manufacturers and the sizes are not always accurate.  Just as an example some references the American and most German sizes are as such:  #5 is 3.4 mm, #6 is 3.6 mm, #7 is 3.8 mm and #8 is 4.0 mm and #9 is 4.2 mm.  Disregard Swiss sizes.  I don't know of a lot of suppliers in the U.K., but one company is Meadows and Passmore.  Google them and they have an Online catalog with winding keys listed.  If you have any doubt as far as the exact key size, you could order what you think is the correct one and then one size above an one size below.  They might allow a return for the incorrect ones, but they are rather inexpensive and postage might offset the return.

As you face the clock the winding arbor on the left is for the strike, the center is for the time and the one on the right is for the chime.  It is an 8-day clock, so you wind it once a week.  Wind until you feel an abrupt resistance.  Unless you really force it you normally cannot overwind a clock.  One precaution and that is to hold the key firmly and don't try to wind too fast, lest you let it slip.

The regulating nut at the bob is to regulate the timing of the clock.  Tightening it moves the bob up and increases the timing.  Loosening it decreases it and slows the clock.

I hope this helps a little.  Understanding your venture into owning a clock, if you have any more questions about it or keeping it running, be sure to get back with me.  Good luck and I hope you enjoy it.

John Newman
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

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

Thank you for your fast and excellent response, I don't wish to become a nuisance to you. I was fortunate to locate another key from another junk shop would you believe. Its an excellent tight fit and I wound up the running spring (centre one)however the clock will run only for approx 30 seconds when I disturb the pendulum. I ensured the clock was sitting on a level surface as I though this might well be an issue if it was not. but sadly it did not help.What would be your thoughts on what the problem might be. May I congratulate you on providing a superb free service, excellent in this and age of avarice.
         Kind Regards
         Danny Kearney
         Glasgow UK

Danny, thanks for the kind comments.  I am going to copy you on the complete section of "Clock Not Running" that I have written.  Check particularly the part concerning the clock being "in beat".  It can be out of beat with the clock being level:



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.


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.


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.

John Newman
The Village Clocksmith

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John Newman


As I am not a certified appraiser I do not give values of clocks over the Internet. There is very little published information on what I consider to be the value of "modern production clocks". However, considerations are what the clock originally sold for, the condition of the case and movement, and particularly the area in which you live, the demand and the economy. ALSO, WATCHES ARE NOT MY FIELD. However, I can advise the clock owner on proper maintenance of a clock to keep it running, small corrections and adjustments and how to move a clock without damaging it. I can also advise on obtaining parts for clocks. As clock case model label numbers are difficult to relate to the movements, it is helpful if you can give me the information usually found on the movements themselves. Modern clock movements usually have the information on the back plate of the movement. I have been a clockmaker for about 40 years and was plant engineer in the mid 90's and later operations and engineering consultant at Emperor Clock Company in Fairhope, Alabama. I now have my own clock shop in Prattville, Alabama.


One of my greatest accomplishments was traveling to China to assist a clock factory in building clocks to the standards which we required at Emperor. With the proper specifications and quality control, some beautiful clock cases were built. The factory people from the wood carvers to the plant manager were very congenial, friendly and I left a lot of wonderful friends when I returned from my trips.

NAWCC (National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors) 30 years Prattville, Alabama Chamber of Commerce

Horological Times, a publication of the American Watch and Clockmakers Instute. Collaberated column author, with Photos and ideas for clock movement conversion article.

Associate of Science Mechanical Engineering Technology Emperor Introductory Clock Repair (Eventually taught a portion of the class after becoming employee)

Awards and Honors
Small Business of the Quarter (Prattville, Alabama) Leadership Class of 2009 (Autauga County, Alabama)

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