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Clocks, Watches/Ridgeway grandfather clock.


Hi.  I recently was gifted a Ridgeway Grandfather clock. (serial #217 736)  It was purchased new in 1980.  The side weights are stuck in the up position and will not descend.  The center weight comes down and the clock keeps time.  The chimes do not chime at all either on the quarter hour or the full hour.  Please Help!!  Thank you kindly, Lorilyn Tarr

Lorilyn, the weights are what power the functions, time chime and strike.  As you face the clock, the center weight is for the time, the right weight is for the chime (plays the melodies on the quarters) and the left weight is for the strike (counts out the hour).  What is happening is that the chime is not working and the strike depends on the chime completing the hour melody for it to start.  Since the chime and strike are not working, their weights do not come down.  Some reasons that the chime doesn't work is that a chime selection lever (usually outside the number 3 on the dial) is on silent.  

Another cause is that the weights are hung incorrectly.  The heaviest weight should be on the right (chime) side.  If it is not, switch weights.  I would need to know the model of the movement to tell you how much the weights should weigh.  But that is not important right now, of they are original.  A general rule is that if one weight is heavier than the other two equal ones, it should go on the right.  If one weight is lighter than the other two equal ones, it should go on the left.  If they are all different, heavy on the right, middle in the center and light on the left.

If the clock was moved and the movement has chime hammer transporting devices, they could still be in place.  Look in the back or sides of the clock and see if the chime hammers are free to move.  While looking at this, check to see if any of the hammers are out of alignment
at rest.  It could be that the chime got stuck in the middle of a melody.  If that is the case, turn the minute hand until you hear a faint click when it gets to the 12.  There is a gear on the back left of the clock movement.  Gently lift all the hammers and try rocking the gear back and forth slightly to see if that unjams it.

The last cause I can readily think of is that if the clock hasn't been serviced in the last 7 to 10 years, the lubricants could be old and gummy and/or there could be worn parts.  The chime mechanism is usually the first function to fail under these conditions.  If this is the case, it would probably need to be looked at by an experienced clockmaker.  That's about all I can think of.  Good luck and let me know what you find out or if you have any more questions.

John Newman
The Village Clocksmith
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

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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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