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Clocks, Watches/Colonial Grandmother (?) clock


QUESTION: Colonial clock model 1724, movement 132, dial DC. I inherited this clock.  It runs fine and chimed fine until I set the hands to the correct time.  Now it won't chime.  My research shows that the position of the weights may be key.  I can't tell which is heavier, and there are no markings - except:  on the bottom of one it looks like two small parallel lines are either pressed or engraved into the brass - almost like the number "11".  I don't know if these markings mean something or if they're just incidental (or accidental!) How can I tell what position the weights should be in?  Once that's done, is there a way to get this to chime again?

ANSWER: Teresa, there could be issues other than weights, if you don't know the the recent operating history of the clock.  There is very little cross reference information on out of business manufacturer's numbers.  To know the exact weight of each one I would need to know the information, numbers, etc, found on the back plate of the movement.  However, generally the heaviest weight hangs on the right side (as you face the clock).  This is for running the chime which requires more power.  If it is a grandmother movement, the left and weights usually weigh around 5 pounds and the right weight would weigh over around 6 pounds.  There are a few movements that have weights of the same value, and some where the time weight is the same as the chime weight if a heavier pendulum is used.  Household scales are sometimes inaccurate on low readings, so you can stand on a scale and hold each weight one at a time and observe the difference.  If this doesn't correct the problem, get back with me and we can look at a few more things.

John Newman
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama


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

QUESTION: I was able to use a portable mail scale.  The weights are: 4lb 13.3 oz (this is the one with the markings on the bottom), 4lb 1.6 oz, and 4lb 0.1 oz.  Facing the clock, I put the weights back on their chains with the heaviest on my right and the lightest on my left.  As soon as I put the heaviest weight on, the clock chimed. After the other weights were on, I restarted the pendulum.  It hasn't chimed since. I'm open to any other suggestions!

Is there a case access panel behind the movement?  If so, can you remove it and give me the information found on the back plate of the movement?  Also, would it be possible for you to send me a clear photo of the back of the movement?  My shop email address is below.  On most clocks the chime and strike are self synchronizing and they should start right up.  It could be that the chime hammers are hung up or the movement needs servicing, which would include cleaning, inspecting for worn parts or adjustments, and lubricating.  If you look in the back and see one of the chime hammers back out of alignment with the others at the rest position.  You might want to gently lift all the hammers back a little, and that might unlock the jam.  I'm just throwing a couple of ideas out, but see what you can send me and we'll go from there.

John Newman
The Village Clocksmith
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

Note concerning questions not related to Allexperts:  Because of my commitment to answering Allexperts questions within a prescribed time limit and the large backlog of clock work at my shop, I regret that I cannot answer personal email questions on a timely basis, other than Allexperts follow up questions.  I will try to answer these emails as soon as I can. Thank you for your patience.  

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John Newman


As much as I would like to offer values of clocks, I am not a certified appraiser and will not venture into giving an unresearched guess. There is very little published information on what I consider to be the value of "modern production clocks". 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. It helps if you can send any information on the clock movement which is usually found on the back plate of the movement. I have been a clockmaker for about 35 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.


One of my greatest accomplishments was traveling to China to assist a clock factory in building clocks to the standards which we required. 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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