You are here:

Clocks, Watches/Hamilton wall clock puzzle

Advertisement


Question
I have a late production Hamilton wall clock, one of the last they produced before they stopped production completely in the late 1980s.  It's run perfectly for over 20 years, but I had to move it.  During the fairly-short move it wasn't jarred.  In its new location, it'll tick away perfectly... without the pendulum.  With the pendulum hanging, it'll tick for maybe a minute and stop. No obvious damage to anything, and the pendulum isn't making contact with anything inside the case.  Any suggestions?

Answer
Scott, the movement in your clock was probably manufactured by Hermle with the Hamilton name put on it.  If it is a Hermle, the name and information would be on the back plate of the clock movement in the lower right hand corner.  The numbers are usually found on the line after the name and would be something like 141-040 25cm.  What has probably happened is that the escapement possibly slipped during the move.  If the pendulum was left on, the part known as the "crutch" probably slipped.  This can also cause the suspension spring to crimp or break, stopping the clock.  Also it can slip when installing the pendulum.  Hang the clock on the wall so it is plumb.  Start the pendulum.  It should be "in beat".  This means that the "tick tock" is even, like tick....tock....tick....tock.  If it goes tick.. tock......tick..tock, it is out of beat and will stop.

To understand how to correct this, the crutch is the vertical lever or arm that comes out of the top center of the clock.  It has a horizontal foot at the bottom that looks like a sewing machine foot.  The part called the hanger goes through the slot in the foot and the pendulum hangs from the hanger. Make sure the hanger is attached to the small suspension spring attached to the horizontal post at the top of the movement.  Remove the pendulum and GENTLY move the crutch from left to right.  You will feel it stop on the right and left sides.  If the travel from left to right is not even, it will be out of beat.  The crutch can be adjusted by slipping it slightly past the stopping point on one side or the other to give it equal travel on both sides.  Put the clock on the wall plumb and start the pendulum. If everything else is in order, it should run.  If it is out of beat a little, the bottom of the clock can be moved to the right or left a little to bring it back in beat.  I always make a small mark on the wall at bottom of the side of the clock so if the clock is bumped, it can be put back on the mark.  One further note is that once you learn how to set the beat from the back, most clocks can be set in beat from the front, holding the pendulum bob steady and moving the upper portion of the pendulum to the left or right.  All of this is a delicate adjustment, but once you get the "feel" of it is really easy to do.

Sometimes clocks stop because of old gummy lubricants or worn parts.  I recommend that clocks be serviced every 7 to 10 years for a good checkout.  If you have any further questions, get back with me.


John Newman
THE VILLAGE CLOCKSMITH
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

Clocks, Watches

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


John Newman

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

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

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

Education/Credentials
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)

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.